As Christians we must always speak the truth in justice but treat one another with mercy.
In today’s climate, many tell others not to judge. Often what they mean is “leave me alone” or, “leave him/her alone.” Sometimes people use it as a reason to not speak, after all, “who am I to judge.” For too many it is an excuse. What they really mean is that “I am so glad I don’t have to say anything.” Used in these ways, it is a way to let everyone stay comfortable. It is also used in political and social contexts to intimidate people. It is all too common that telling someone to “not judge” is accusing them of a thoughtcrime.
Is that what Christ meant when he said not to judge?
In the same chapter of the Bible (Mt 7), we are told:
“Stop judging, that you may not be judged.”
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.This is the law and the prophets.”
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.”
“By their fruits you will know them.”
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven”
So, we have to know if someone is a dog or a swine (pretty harsh names for a Jew to call someone in Jesus’s day). We have to figure if someone is a false prophet, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And we know that not everyone is going to make it to Heaven. That seems kind of harsh in light of today’s PC duckspeak.
How can we know someone is a dog or a swine? We are told that we will know people by their fruits. Hey wait a minute, isn’t that judging? This is much different than “Can’t we all just get along.” Jesus was cautioning against hypocricy, i.e., judging without knowledge or without recognizing our own faults.
Recently a fellow Catholic who seems to have bought into the duckspeak interpretation of “do not judge,” brought up John 8 (this is about the woman caught in adultery) and not casting stones. To which I reminded her that Jesus also told her to “go and sin no more”. The passage here is not about accepting sin, it is about mercy and repentance. They wanted to kill her, and instead, Jesus provided time and space for her to repent. Mercy is about patience, repentance, and reconciliation, not pretending a sin is not a sin. It turned out that this person had rejected certain politically incorrect elements of Christian morality. The truth was too uncomfortable, because too many people had disregarded it. The implications of which are staggering. After all, what does it mean if one ignores the truth and chooses sin? It should make us uncomfortable, and we must resist the easy relief of turning our head, or worse, denying the truth.
Can you imagine doing nothing if your child was stealing, or doing drugs, or being violent. The very thought of letting things go is a violation of not only the truth, but of love. What gets hard is when a child is obstinate in their sin, here is where patience and long suffering is required. This does not mean accepting sin as not being sinful, but it requires patience, speaking the truth, and a call to repentance, and probably some discipline.
This is the model of love, not of condemning and stoning someone. The saccharine false philosophy of accepting everything as fine is nearly as bad as condemning and stoning as it replaces love with falsehood. Have no doubt that following the path of truth and mercy is a tough. It is guaranteed to lead to a loss in popularity among those enamored with the current state of the world. Being a Christian is not easy, and right now because the truth is out of season; but holding to it, witnessing to it, and living it is what we must do (2Tim4). That is our call as Christians fathers, to speak the truth and act with mercy and love.