Saturday, 15 September 2012

Part III: Do we dare judge?

I think that, for people who will one day judge angels, Christians need a lot more practice in carrying out judgments.

I don’t think the term ‘judge’ always has to be seen as a dirty word. The Bible encourages us – commands us, really – to judge ourselves. To do continuous self-assessments so that others don’t have to. It also encourages us to ‘judge’ (in my mind, meaning ‘assess’ or ‘appraise’) each other, when necessary, within the household of faith.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? (I Cor 5:12)

Those that profess Christianity are definitely held to a higher standard.

But judgment has a unique and important purpose: to make the one being assessed better. This should be the envisioned goal. Not to make ourselves feel better, or to carry out a vendetta, or to subconsciously protect some part of ourselves.

The problem with most judgments (when we pronounce them) is that they tend to be more about us and the instant gratification that can be derived from giving our opinion about the person being judged.

Do we dare judge?

I think things have been set up so that we have no choice but to judge sometimes, and these periodic judgments are essential. When done properly, it is the responsible thing to do – to judge ourselves with the goal of self-improvement, and to judge others with the goal of their improvement in mind, too. To do so properly, though, a full set of information is required – and that’s the tricky part.

I hate appraisals at work. They come around every year, this time of the year at my office. I hate appraising others and I hate being appraised even more. I hate being ‘judged.’ But it’s so necessary. I have to admit that the knowledge that I will be appraised helps me focus on what’s important and makes me work better. And the fact that the appraisal process is actually pretty fair (and that all the information necessary to finalize the appraisal is thoroughly utilized) always makes me determined to do better next year. Rather than break my spirit, it makes me expect more of myself, want more for myself.

I think that’s what ‘judgment’ should look like.

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