Reactions to Judging

In a response to this email question:
Are you saying that non-believers should be judged and condemned?
My good friend John Gilman answered with this insightful reply:
Jesus related differently to the subgroups of non-believers. The common folk he called sinners and in need of a doctor and a shepherd, and he called them to repent; but at the same time he relates to them as a friend, calling himself “a friend of sinners," and in spite of his calling them sinners, they like him. Abusive religious hypocrites got harsher treatment and he called them "sons of the devil." They didn't like him. M. Scott Peck calls such people "children of the lie." Jesus said the prostitutes would go into the Kingdom before them. That is, they would repent sooner.

So our judging of the non-believer is our position that they need to repent to enter the Kingdom, even while we value their friendship. There is also a judging of those whose behavior harms others that makes friendship difficult. I have a hard time relating to people who've abandoned their families and wont try to make it right. As long as Jack beats Jill, I have a problem with Jack.
These words might be difficult for some but not for me because I know John. He is one of the most loving people I know. In conversations over coffee he has lovingly asked me difficult questions, encouraged my heart with instruction and just cared about me.

The words judge, judging and judgment can all have very negative connotations. These words can cause us to run into hiding, get defensive and sometimes evoke an angry response. But as John says they can also cause genuine reflection and sometimes repentance even among the most religious of us :) I am reminded that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were of the group that Jesus called hypocrites ... these men seemed to respond differently to Jesus' rebuke ... their reaction didn't seem to be defensive but repentant ... a good reaction to the Lord's rebuke and judgment.


  1. I really like the way you and your friend explained this. Its so true that the "J" word has negative connotations, but if we follow Christ's example - it can be a positive.

    Really good post, KB!

  2. Hmmm.

    I agree with Barbara. You guys are really, really nice, and yet you tell the truth completely. Praise the Lord, and may I grow in His image like ya'll.


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