“Judge Not…

…lest ye be judged.” This Biblical admonition is similar to the universal Christian condemnation of gossip. Both can be confusing. If there’s a Christmas parade downtown next Tuesday, should I not tell my neighbor? Would that be gossip? If Betty has been hospitalized with pneumonia, should I not tell our mutual friend Kathryn? If I don’t gossip, my neighbor will miss the parade. I know he’d like to go if he knew about it, but I will not spread gossip. I also know Kathryn would visit Betty and say prayers for her recovery if she knew about Betty’s illness, but I will not gossip about Betty’s health. Silly? Of course.

A child comes to my classroom with bruises and abrasions frequently. I suspect he’s being physically abused at home, but I push the thought from my mind. I do not want to be judgmental.

A friend has to endure the abominable and sometimes even disgusting behavior of her boss. Occasionally, she needs to blow off steam about it. Does her rant mean she’s guilty of criticizing? Is criticizing a sin? Is criticism judgmental?

An obese woman in the supermarket wears a tank top many sizes too small with no underwear. My opinion is that she looks dreadfully bad. Is that a sin? Is an opinion judgmental? What about a good opinion?

If all this sounds ridiculous, what about discernment? Isn’t that judgmental? What about analysis? That’s also judgment.

Our English language is rich in vocabulary. We have the largest vocabulary in the world. It’s one of the reasons English has produced more of the world’s great literature than any other language. Why we don’t use common sense in choosing vocabulary mystifies me. It’s not as though the words analyze, discern, opinion, inform are difficult or uncommon. It’s also not as though God means for us to be stupid. “Be ye innocent as doves” is followed by “and wise as serpents.”

More crimes against common sense: Joyce is going to marry her Pekingese and she’s invited me to the wedding. Of course I’ll go. Who are we to judge love? After all, God is love. I hope they’ll be very happy together. And Mabel says she feels like a man. I have trouble remembering to call her “he” but I’ll manage it…because whatever we feel is true…isn’t it?