(Image courtesy of http://www.lifenews.com.)

One of the most common phrases among young people today is, "don't judge".  This short phrase is packed with intended meaning and it stems from the humanistic belief of relative truth.

When someone uses the phrase "don't judge" they really mean "I am questioning my own behavior, so don't say anything bad about me that might make me feel guilty".  At the most basic level, that is essentially what people mean when they throw this phrase around.  They intend to sidestep any idea of morality and absolute truth about a certain issue in order to avoid feelings of remorse or guilt or even uneasiness.  This is why relative truth is so appealing to human nature: it makes us the decider of good and evil so that we only feel guilt or shame if we choose to feel guilt or shame.

To help better understand the futility of this way of thinking, let me give an illustration.

Let's say you go to your friend's house to visit.  The outside of the house is unkempt.  The bushes are overgrown, the window shades are sagging, the paint is peeling off the siding, and in some places there is no siding at all.  Inside, the sight is far worse: the carpet is discolored and powerful odors seep from under the dining room rug.  The house is dimly lit and paint is peeling off the interior walls as well.

Now, what might your reaction be to this house?  For most people, your response would be something along these lines: "You're house is a mess."  While this comment would be gutsy to say in person, would it be false?  Given the information you have, of course it would not be false.  Even if you didn't have the guts to say, "You're house is a mess," undoubtedly your body language and facial expressions would send the same message.  This is because the truth is the truth; facts are facts.

On the other hand, your response to the owner of the house could also have been something along the following: "You are a horrible person with no responsibility.  You are a dirty slob."  This kind of comment would do more than send you out of the house in a flash, it would also seriously damage the relationship between you and your friend.  Why is that?  It is because such as a statement as this has crossed the line of truth and fact into judgement.

"Judge" is defined by the dictionary as "(to) form an opinion or conclusion about (something)".  You have judged your friend's character by saying mean and hurtful things to them about their house.  You have formed an opinion and concluded that because their house was so poorly taken care of, they must have a character flaw.  But that, however, may not be the case.

Perhaps your friend just purchased the property as a foreclosure the day before and hasn't had time to renovate it yet.  Or perhaps your friend was in the hospital for a few months due to a serious illness and did not have time to keep the house clean and presentable.  Would we then consider the person to have a character flaw?  Of course not.  We would be foolish to make such a judgement without knowing the circumstances.  However, to be clear, it would still not change the fact that their house is a mess.

Take another couple of statements that follow the same illustration:
"You're lifestyle is immoral."  This may well be a fact.
"You're a filthy, no-good, rotten person."  This is entering the realm of judgement.
As a Christian, we most definitely have the right and the responsibility to speak the truth in love; that is, not out of hatred or anger or bitterness, but out of compassion and kindness, knowing that it is God's creation we speak to and that it is His kindness that is meant to lead us to repentance.

Too often, the phrase "don't judge" is used to defend one's immoral behavior.  This, however, does not change the fact that what they are doing is wrong.  We must be aware of the humanistic belief of relativism and how it has infected every single captive of sin.  But we must be more aware of God's love and holiness, so that we uphold what is right even in the face of probable persecution when confronting those still under the umbrella of secular humanism.

My friends, let us speak the truth as it should be spoken - with love and compassion on those who sin because that is all they know how to do.  And let us restrain the fleshly urge to unleash our opinions and conclusions about our neighbor and our enemy, for it is God who will have the last word.  And let us also remember from where we have come, how we have also been slaves to sin, gratifying our fleshly desires; until, that is, when the light of Heaven broke our chains and set us free in order that we may follow Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our glorious faith!  Praise be to God!

"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ..." (Ephesians 4:15).