Football referee

Just Another Question: Judge Not?

Hey, everyone! Permit me to introduce myself. My byline name is Jaq (pronounced Jaq), and I will be writing periodic sports articles under the title "Just Asking Questions." I will be asking questions about sports topics that interest me. That's what happens when they give me a byline.

Hey, everyone!  Permit me to introduce myself.  My byline name is Jaq (pronounced Jaq), and I will be writing periodic sports articles under the title “Just Asking Questions.”  I will be asking questions about sports topics that interest me.  That’s what happens when they give me a byline.

That having been said, on with the show!

Judge not, huh?!?

We are going to be talking about judging this time, and boy are humans a judging bunch, yes?

We have entire groups of people whose job it is to judge controversies.  We call them, interestingly enough, judges.  (Humans are clever like that.)  Whether they judge a criminal matter, decide the constitutionality of laws, determine unemployment benefits, or whatever, they draw a paycheck for.  .  . judging.

And, frankly, we would not have a sports world to speak of without judges.  We call them all sorts of names:  umpires, referees, linesmen, officials, and many, many more (not all of them printable).

Some sports, like figure skating (which the world cares about once every four years) and gymnastics (pretty much the same) are entirely judged.  Sure, they have rules which are supposed to bring some semblance of regularity to the process, but winners and losers are entirely determined by what scores are assigned by the people judging the events.

Some sports, like boxing, MMA, and wrestling, have their winners produced by judging unless someone beats someone senseless, chokes them nearly unconscious, nearly breaks off a body part, or affixes them to a mat.  (Yes, I kid.  Mostly.)

Some sports are a bit of a weird hybrid of judging and objective criteria, like ski jumping (flying on fiberglass, with style!).

And even those sports in which a scoreboard determines the outcome are judged in some fashion.  Ever heard of the “judgment call” determining a game (Jim Boeheim has)?  How about the “umpire has a tiny strike zone today” commentary?  And what is it with “pass interference,” anyway?

And don’t get me started about flopping in soccer.  Don’t.

So, with all these (and much, much more) evidences that humans really don’t have a problem with judging (especially the ones drawing a paycheck doing it):

What’s wrong with judging?

You readers being an intelligent bunch (or else you wouldn’t be reading this column) know where I am going next.  So, as the kids say, I’m going to go there.

I’m sure you have all experienced a time when a discussion about some social hot topic comes around, you or someone else makes a statement about an issue of morality of some kind, and (like clockwork) the response comes immediately flying back:

“Hey, Christian, stop judging!”

And they trot out the part of Matthew 7 that they like:  “Judge not, that ye not be judged. (Matthew 7:1)”   And, smug in their assurance that they have ended another argument with a walk-off home run, they trundle off on their merry way.

Forget that they just judged the speaker as unworthy to speak.  No, don’t talk about that glaring hypocrisy.

If we dig deeper, though, we might learn a little bit more about “judging” that lets us know that maybe there is a bit more to consider than quoting a few words out of context.

Humans do not complain about being judgmental or about judging, if they AGREE WITH THE COMMENT MADE OR THE RESULT OF THE JUDGMENT.

Who has ever appealed from a court case that they completely won, arguing that the judge was wrong, and they should have lost?

Who has ever screamed at a television set when a pass interference call goes the way of their favorite team that could have gone either way (or worse, incorrectly went their team’s way)?

Would Jim Boeheim have exploded off the bench (and got thrown out on two technical fouls assessed by referee Tony Greene) on February 22, 2014 (Duke vs. Syracuse at Duke) if C. J. Fair had been given the benefit of a blocking call and not a charge with 10.4 seconds left?  Would he have charged the court for a no-call?

Would the Canadian press have cared about the ice dancing judging if Canadians Virtue and Moir had won over the Americans Davis and White in Sochi last month?  (Forget for the moment the graceless public comments made by the Canadian pair about their joint coach with the Americans, made AFTER the medals were awarded.)

Would the “boxing world” have been in an uproar if they had agreed with  C. J. Ross when she judged the Mayweather/Alverez bout on September 14, 2013 as a draw (following on the heels of her controversial ballot in favor of Timothy Bradley, Jr. over Manny Pacquiao in June of 2012)?

And, for that matter, would you or others like you be told not to judge by someone arguing with you on the internet if they agreed with your take on whatever issue you are discussing?

So, let’s posit, first of all, that it isn’t usually in good faith that people tell you not to judge when you stand up for some tenet of the Christian faith on the internet, regardless of the context or issue discussed.  What they really mean is, “I don’t agree with you, and you have no right to say what you are saying.  So be quiet.”

But, then, what about the claim itself?  What does Jesus have to say about the concept of speaking the truth to someone about God’s will on a specific topic of social interest (internet or otherwise)?  Does he mean that you may never negatively speak about sinful or unwise conduct, lest you be judging?

That’s not what Jesus Himself says or does elsewhere.  He Himself uses the words “hypocrites,” “serpents,” “blind guides,” “fools,” “generation of vipers” in Matthew 23 alone (!) to refer to those acting immorally and teaching foolishly.

He called Peter “Satan” (Matthew 16:23) when Peter prattled on foolishly about Jesus’ revelation that He would be put to death.

And Jesus also said, “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. (Luke 17:3)”   He did not say not to judge the sinning brother; it was an affirmative command to rebuke one who sins against you.

And, He also said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:24)”   It is not that judging is wrong, but wrong judging is wrong.  Righteous judging is still in fashion in the creator’s universe.

What’s the point, then?

In this world there will be those who, through error or bad faith, wish to shut you up about that which is righteous and true.  Kindly, but firmly, go about your business of spreading the truth, always in love (Ephesians 4:15), but spread that truth.

Let no one shut you up with hypocritical, misinformed, selectively edited pseudo-Scriptural arguments.  Remember, it is not that you are wrong to speak, but they think that what you are speaking is wrong, and they wish to shut you up.  You may, indeed must, follow the example of Christ and speak the truth, for their good, and the good of those who read or listen.

Until next time, everyone, this is Jaq.  I’m just asking questions.

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