Shalt Thou Not Judge?

The logical extension of ‘do not judge’ as applied by many people would necessarily be a total lack of laws, otherwise known as anarchy. 

The job of government is to protect its people – the whole from enemies outside and individuals when necessary from each other. The well-being of the community is partially dependent upon the faithfulness of the government to perform its responsibilities. 

Each time a law is made, the related action is being judged. Making murder or theft a crime is to judge the murder or theft, and judge one who commits them as guilty of crime. 

Some will argue that some crimes hurt only the perpetrator or no one at all, calling them ‘victimless’ crimes. This is false; there are no ‘victimless crimes’. In the rare event that the only person directly harmed by an action has become a hazard or undue burden on his community, the community has become the victim. When any cost to anyone else results from a person’s actions, he to whom the cost is calculated has become the victim of the other’s choices. 

Substance abuse is an example of a crime some believe hurts only the person committing it. Substance abusers cause themselves an altered consciousness with varying effects including impaired reason and judgement, suppressed inhibitions, unfounded paranoias, rages, delusions and hallucinations, depression, derangement, and impaired motor function and communication. Substance abusers regularly become thieves to pay for their addiction, hurting family, friends, and strangers. Substance abusers regularly fail to fulfill their responsibilities in the home, at work or school, and in the community, often become chronic liars, and develop multiple physical and mental health problems requiring on-going treatment which is paid for by the community, and frequently rendering them unfit for work, and incapable of healthy participation in society. 

While removing legal restrictions on chemical abuse might reduce problems related to organized crime, it would also eliminate one barrier to the more cautious who might be tempted to ‘try’, such as a peer-pressured youth wavering between conformity and resistance. It also communicates acceptance of the behaviour by society in general, and the false assurance that the behaviour lacks any risk to the individual or society worth controlling. 

If we applied the ‘do not judge’ principle to substance abuse, intoxicants would be more easily and affordably available, with no societal or penal restrictions to discourage their use. Most people realize that is not an acceptable option. They recognize the responsibility of those with the power to prohibit those activities which are detrimental to the members of a community. 

God has judged human activity based upon His character, His purpose for His creation, and His knowledge of what is best for mankind. His communicated judgements were recorded for our reference so we are able to know what is right and wrong without our having to decide for ourselves. It is not we who judge, but God who has judged, and we are subject to His judgement in all things. 

The church’s responsibility is to tell the truth, which must include the truth about sin. God has condemned sin in the world and because of sin, men stand condemned before God. We do no favours by refusing to proclaim that judgement, or by pretending to be unqualified to determine whether something is right or wrong. In fact, we are unloving toward our neighbour when we leave him condemned before God by our preference to avoid making waves, and we are unfaithful to God Himself, by considering His judgment as being inadequate or somehow unkind or unfair to the world. 

We are called to proclaim Christ to the world – that He came with grace and mercy to call sinful men to repentance, and faith towards God, bearing the penalty of our sins upon Himself on the cross that we can be reconciled to the Father and receive eternal life with Him. It is sin which necessitates this grace. And it is sin that requires the proclamation. He has judged, and we must speak.