I would like to leave a note here that this article is not to say go judge and condemn frivolously for no reason. This article is to make the point that judgement and intolerance are not always bad. In addition to this this was originally a standalone article that seemed to fit well on the general theme of confrontation and so I used it as a starting point for the Christian Confrontation series.
Judgement and Intolerance
“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
-Proverbs 31:9 (ESV)
Within the American culture judgement is a word that is not so pleasantly received. Judgement as the culture seems to define it is always bad, negative, harmful emotionally and other unpleasant things. Yet in the verse above it says “judge righteously.” Not only does command us to judge but it also says there is a righteous form of judgement. Judgement itself is amoral. Let’s take a look at some of the Webster 1828 definition of judge.
To compare facts or ideas, and perceive their agreement or disagreement, and thus to distinguish truth from falsehood.
To discern; to distinguish; to consider accurately for the purpose of forming an opinion or conclusion.
To doom to punishment; to punish.
Looking at these definitions we can already see that judgement is not a bad thing. Number one when making decisions we have to make judgements because we judge that one path is better than another or even both are equal. When we compliment someone we judge that whatever it is we compliment is good. Next is the discernment. I have never stuck my hand on an active chainsaw yet I can discern that it would be a stupid thing to do. The last is punishment. Just imagine how bad of a world it would be if literally no one ever got punished for doing bad things no matter the severity. Point made.
Jesus Saves but Jesus also Judges
“The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
John 2:13-16 (ESV)
Here is a passage that is rarely acknowledged anymore. Jesus was so angry that he took the time to make a whip to drive the money-changers out. He flipped their tables over and poured out the money as well. Why? It was an act of righteous judgement. He was angry that they had defiled the temple by making it a market. As such he judged their unrighteous actions.
Before I continue to the next point Jesus also says in John 8:15-16, “You judge according to the flesh but I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgement is true for it not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.” –John 8:15-16 (ESV) This passage was not saying that Jesus does not judge but that he does not judge people themselves. He does judge their actions, as he did in the case of the money-changers but he did not judge the person themselves.
The other thing I wanted to make clear is that we are not supposed to condemn the world aside for the sake of the Gospel where we tell them they are in sin(as is everyone but Chirst) so they see the need for a savior. We are first supposed to bring them to Christ so they don’t have to endure the coming judgement of God. More on this in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13. Even within the Church there are certain things to be considered such as awareness of their unrighteousness, frequency of the sin and if they are already working to remove the sinful habit from their life.
Tying into judgement is intolerance. Yet another word that the American culture isn’t overly fond of for much of the same reasoning the American culture despises judgement. Intolerance according to the Webster 1828 edition is defined as…
INTOL’ERANT, adjective [Latin in and tolero, to endure.]
- Not enduring; not able to endure.
The powers of the human body being limited and intolerant of excesses.
- Not enduring difference of opinion or worship; refusing to tolerate others in the enjoyment of their opinions, rights and worship.
INTOL’ERANT, noun One who does not favor toleration.
“And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
–Mark 11:15-17 (ESV)
This event wasn’t just recorded once to fade into obscurity. Three of the four gospels have this event recorded. The writers were compelled to write about this moment by the Holy Spirit. Why? Because it shows that there will be things we aren’t supposed to tolerate. Jesus was furious about the money-changers, if we believe Christ is perfect then we have to believe his motive and actions were justified. He judged the money-changers actions as unrighteous and was intolerant of them.
Final Note: The Hypocrisy
In America if you believe certain things people will call you judgmental. This is hypocritical since in order for them to come to that conclusion they have to judge you as judgmental. Further than that they have to judge that judgement is bad. So when someone says you’re being judgmental they themselves are being twice as judgmental. If someone says you’re being intolerant. They have made an action of intolerance to what you believe. Further than that they also have to be intolerant of intolerance. Therefore if someone calls you intolerant they themselves are being twice as intolerant. Judge with right judgement.