Of all the phrases to emerge out of Christianity over the last hundred years, “don’t judge me” is possibly the worst. It ranks right up there with other phrases like “everything happens for a reason,” and “cleanliness is next to Godliness,” neither of which have any basis in the Bible or reality.
I get it, though. We live in a very “me-first” society, where everything is about me, myself, and whatever I want. Because of that, don’t you dare tell me what I’m doing “wrong,” because let’s be honest, your definition and my definition probably don’t line up. And kill the stare while you’re at it, because it doesn’t phase me.
And yet it remains popular, for all the wrong reasons. It’s a defense mechanism, used because someone stepped on your toes and said something you didn’t like.
I hate to break it to you, but sometimes we need that.
Sometimes we need to be told the truth about our souls in a way that makes us uncomfortable, and leaves us angry at ourselves instead of the messenger. Otherwise, we’re no better than the Pharisees (John 8:40-45; Galatians 4:16).
So why is “don’t judge me” the worst possible thing you could ever say? Here’s a couple reasons:
“Don’t Judge Me” is a Misuse of Matthew 7:1
If there is any verse that demonstrates the need for context, it’s this one. For centuries, people have plucked verse 1 out of the context of Matthew 7, and acted as if the rest of that chapter simply didn’t exist! I came across a sad-but-true example of how some people see Matthew 7, and it’s scarily accurate:
If you were to take off the hastily drawn scribble, what you are left with is verse two, which if you’ve never read before, goes like this: “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and [a]by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” The “for” there in the beginning of the verse connects this verse with the previous one, and qualifies Jesus’ statement. We are not to judge hypocritically, by condemning others for a so-called “minor” infraction, when we’ve a sin the size of Texas blocking our vision. We can’t see clear enough to help, and we need to be taking care of ourselves anyways.
“Don’t Judge Me” is UnBiblical
I’m not entirely sure where the notion of judging-being-wrong came from, but you won’t find it in Scripture. You certainly can’t use Matthew 7:1-2 as your basis, because the context speaks otherwise. Furthermore, John 7:24 encourages us to judge, albeit with “righteous judgment.”
But what is “righteous judgment?”
Once again, given the context, it speaks directly to looking deeper than simply how things appear – a mistake made by the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7. Can you imagine how different the history of Israel would have been if the people had made their selection for king based on physical appearances?
Righteous judgment is looking into the very heart of an individual and taking it in conjunction with what you see, while taking a whole view of the man (or woman) as opposed to the superficial qualities. Snap judgments that rely on a surface view only have a tendency to be wrong; Jesus commands us to judge others by considering more than what we see with our eyes.
“Don’t Judge Me” Hinders Evangelism
At its core, evangelism is pronouncing judgment: we are claiming to the individual and to the world that it is in sin and in need of God’s forgiveness. Unfortunately, many people hear the word “sin” and immediately retaliate: “when did I sin? What did I do wrong?” (John 9:35-41).
Saying “Don’t judge me” shuts down the evangelistic process before it even begins. It’s a statement to the evangelizer that you are comfortable with where you’re at, and you don’t need anyone else to tell you otherwise.
It’s also a statement that you don’t need God.
Everyone has sinned. Everyone (Romans 3:23). And saying that you don’t want to be judged is to put a wall up against the grace of God; God cannot (or will not) enter into a place where He is not welcome. Behold, He stands at the door and knocks, but He won’t barge His way into your life (Revelation 3:20)
“Don’t Judge Me” is Dangerous
All of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). When that time comes, our stay on this earth will be over and we will be judged based on what we did in this body. If we have been obedient to Him, life and joy awaits us. If not, then eternal condemnation is our eternal destiny.
As we approach something so final, wouldn’t it make sense to be as prepared as possible? Why would we stand before God with anything less than full assurance as to our eternal home?
When we say “don’t judge me,” all we’re really doing is ignoring the advice of those who may know us better than ourselves. David had committed a gross sin with Bathsheba (1 Samuel 11), but it wasn’t until Nathan came along that he admitted the crime (1 Samuel 12). Simon the sorcerer made a simple request, and was rightly condemned by Peter for it (Acts 8:9-24). Eventually, so was Peter (Galatians 2:11-21)
What would have happened if those men ignored the advice of the ones who approached them in a spirit of love? What will happen to you if you scream “don’t judge me” every time a brother comes to you with a voice of correction?
Again, no one’s perfect, and the time will come when we will need someone to help us.
The only question is: will we let them?