A persistent problem for new Christians is judging others. We look at someone, either their appearance or behavior, and develop snap judgments—often negative—from years of doing so out of habit as a non-Christian. At the same time, shouldn’t we judge others around us to understand what is going on in the world to keep ourselves safe? How can we discern between sinful judgment and righteous judgment?

A concept you hear among the Orthodox is discernment, the ability to pick out the divine signal from the fleshly and demonic noise. One of the differences between us and the saints is that the latter know when a thought comes from God and when it doesn’t. I, on the other hand, have to be skeptical of all thoughts, seek spiritual guidance before listening to them, and generally proceed very slowly before acting on a thought that may influence the direction of my faith. The reason is that I don’t have discernment, and even thoughts that may appear holy on the service (e.g. ‘Do 1000 prostrations!’ ‘Pray 4 hours a day!’) may be a trick by Satan to cause a spiritual setback and eventual fatal despair. We must then apply discernment to our judgments, a great challenge.

My shortcut, which is an aspiration and not something that I’ve mastered, is that if judging others leads to sin, it’s not of God, and if judging others leads to virtue, it could be of God. I aim to replace judgment with judgment calls. Let’s try a few hypothetical examples…

1. I go to the café with a book and purchase a cup of tea. In walks in a woman who is wearing a bra for a top and minuscule shorts. Immediately the words “harlot” and “slut” come to mind, and I wonder how she could possibly dress in an immodest way, and then I consider how immodest I have been in my own life. This is sinful judgment, and something that I must later confess.

2. My friend arranges a blind date with a “devout Christian woman.” We meet at a café. She arrives in yoga pants wearing thick makeup. I can see her commodious cleavage. She approaches me and says, “Roosh I’m so glad to meet you!” Due to her scandalous attire, I determine she is not suitable to be my wife. I am polite to her for thirty minutes and then leave the date by saying I have to venerate all my icons. I pray for her. This is a judgment call. I used my knowledge and experience with secular women to make a determination that this particular woman is not suitable to be my wife to avoid being yoked to a lukewarm or lapsed Christian.

3. I visit a friend in a rough area of town in the middle of the day. There I noticed a large group of black males smoking marijuana and listening to loud music. Immediately the words “lazy” and “criminals” come to mind and I ponder at length about why black people have such difficulty being productive members of society, and how my current behavior is nowhere near as bad as theirs. Then I realize that I have performed worse evils than all of those men combined. I pray for the men and later confess this act of judgment.

4. I’m a single father who works part-time and cannot homeschool my young boy. I decide to enroll him in a private school. I visit the first potential school. During lunch, I noticed a group of black boys bullying a white kid, demanding he give them their lunch money. The white boy is crying and looking to the supervising teacher on duty, who muttered something about white privilege before turning away. I decide not to enroll my white-passing son at the school, and instead pick a school where I do not notice racial strife. Here I made a judgment call for my boy to avoid needless suffering when he should be getting an education.

If a judgment doesn’t have an end goal of serving God, protecting your family, increasing your faith, or helping others with the faith, it is likely done out of pride to make yourself feel superior to others. You are the Pharisee looking at the publican exclaiming, “Thank God I’m not like that person!” If I’m feeling prideful or content with myself from the use of judgment, I know I’ve gone too far. On the other hand, if I’m using judgment to further my faith or the faith of others, chances are my judgment is not sinful, though I continually check my decisions with church elders. Unfortunately there are many cases in the middle, and you will inevitably slip and judge out of pride, but that’s why we have the sacrament of confession, which wipes your sin clean. When in doubt, I confess it.

The simple heuristic I’ve shared above is what I’m using as a neophyte Orthodox Christian who spent his secular life mastering the judgments of others upon first glance in order to achieve a material reward (and was proud for doing so). It has been a challenge for me to uproot this habit, and I struggle with it daily. If I were to meet you in person, the temptation to make a snap judgment of you based on my life experience is incredibly strong, but unless you are someone I must decide to do business with (and therefore trust), or you are a woman I must evaluate for marriage, I will fight the urge with all my will and God’s help, because the only judgment I should be concerned about is that which I will receive from God on the Final Day.

Read Next: The Orthodoxy Of Early Christian Writings

Loading new replies...

Nice article. Thanks for sharing, Roosh.
Maybe we should develop "Christian pants" too haha...

Reply Like

Very important aspect often overlooked.
Great article.

Reply Like

The vengeance belongs to God; what power do I have as a man to place undue importance on my judgements?

That would be an attempted usurpation of God’s power-man’s ego outgrowing his head in a futile exercise.

I monitor myself for these thoughts, and when I deal with them, I remind myself that if someone is doing me wrong or mistreating others, the only thing I can do pray that God takes His vengeance-but I pray without malice, but the desire for wrongs to be righted and people to change their ways for the better.

A secular, Godless person would dwell and pontificate about worldly matters small and tall, petty or irrelevant, with vigor and self-righteousness that would make an epileptic cringe, thinking their haranguing somehow justifies them.

Your differentiation of righteous judgment is also valid, God knows when the time to fight is, and He tells the faithful so, those who believe will know when those times are.

Reply Like

click to expand...

I'm ashamed to say that the foolishness of certain behaviours described in this article hits too close to home for me sometimes. And it is for this reason that these necessary reminders are always good to be brought to the fore, to highlight needed self-examination & continual refinement.

Reply 1 Like

Originally posted on RooshV.com

3. I visit a friend in a rough area of town in the middle of the day. There I noticed a large group of black males smoking marijuana and listening to loud music. Immediately the words “lazy” and “criminals” come to mind and I ponder at length about why black people have such difficulty being productive members of society, and how my current behavior is nowhere near as bad as theirs. Then I realize that I have performed worse evils than all of those men combined. I pray for the men and later confess this act of judgment.

4. I’m a single father who works part-time and cannot homeschool my young boy. I decide to enroll him in a private school. I visit the first potential school. During lunch, I noticed a group of black boys bullying a white kid, demanding he give them their lunch money. The white boy is crying and looking to the supervising teacher on duty, who muttered something about white privilege before turning away. I decide not to enroll my white-passing son at the school, and instead pick a school where I do not notice racial strife. Here I made a judgment call for my boy to avoid needless suffering when he should be getting an education.

Read Next: The Orthodoxy Of Early Christian Writings
Permalink

Oh I got a good one.

Father of a family is looking to buy a house. He asks his realtor if she’ll keep him out of the “bad” neighborhoods (with a wink). She says she can’t because that’s considered “steering.” Father takes the work up on himself. He drives to the local public school of a prospective house at the end of the school day and watches what comes out. All he sees are the eyes and the teeth. He crosses that house of his list.

Sinful or righteous?

Reply 1 Like

click to expand...

TURN your attention upon yourself and beware of judging the deeds of other men, for in judging others a man labors vainly, often makes mistakes, and easily sins; whereas, in judging and taking stock of himself he does something that is always profitable.
We frequently judge that things are as we wish them to be, for through personal feeling true perspective is easily lost.

If God were the sole object of our desire, we should not be disturbed so easily by opposition to our opinions. But often something lurks within or happens from without to draw us along with it.

Many, unawares, seek themselves in the things they do. They seem even to enjoy peace of mind when things happen according to their wish and liking, but if otherwise than they desire, they are soon disturbed and saddened. Differences of feeling and opinion often divide friends and acquaintances, even those who are religious and devout.

An old habit is hard to break, and no one is willing to be led farther than he can see.

If you rely more upon your intelligence or industry than upon the virtue of submission to Jesus Christ, you will hardly, and in any case slowly, become an enlightened man. God wants us to be completely subject to Him and, through ardent love, to rise above all human wisdom.

—(Thomas à Kempis, THE IMITATION OF CHRIST, Book I, chapter 14: Avoiding Rash Judgment.)


UNTIL God ordains otherwise, a man ought to bear patiently whatever he cannot correct in himself and in others. Consider it better thus -- perhaps to try your patience and to test you, for without such patience and trial your merits are of little account. Nevertheless, under such difficulties you should pray that God will consent to help you bear them calmly.
If, after being admonished once or twice, a person does not amend, do not argue with him but commit the whole matter to God that His will and honor may be furthered in all His servants, for God knows well how to turn evil to good. Try to bear patiently with the defects and infirmities of others, whatever they may be, because you also have many a fault which others must endure.

If you cannot make yourself what you would wish to be, how can you bend others to your will? We want them to be perfect, yet we do not correct our own faults. We wish them to be severely corrected, yet we will not correct ourselves. Their great liberty displeases us, yet we would not be denied what we ask. We would have them bound by laws, yet we will allow ourselves to be restrained in nothing. Hence, it is clear how seldom we think of others as we do of ourselves.

If all were perfect, what should we have to suffer from others for God's sake? But God has so ordained, that we may learn to bear with one another's burdens, for there is no man without fault, no man without burden, no man sufficient to himself nor wise enough. Hence we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise, for the measure of every man's virtue is best revealed in time of adversity -- adversity that does not weaken a man but rather shows what he is.

—(Thomas à Kempis, THE IMITATION OF CHRIST, Book I, chapter 16: Bearing with the Faults of Others.)

Reply Like

click to expand...

An individual’s behaviour is a choice. Behaviours can be eliminated from the set of characteristics that make up his or her personality. Thankfully, because if not, none of us would be given the opportunity to be on the path of salvation through Christ.

At the same time, shouldn’t we judge others around us to understand what is going on in the world to keep ourselves safe?

The proper conduct parents are to teach their children rangers from manners to morality (standards). When in public there are times (or opportunities) when a child is in contact (through observation) with the depravity of others’ behaviours.

It is my responsibility, as a Christian parent to uphold a set of Christian standards, and discreetly (between myself and the child) rebuke improper behaviours. But the most important lesson is to explain (with reason) and to remind we are all weak in our flesh and this is why we all need Christ. Then we say a quick have mercy prayer.

I want my child to be able to evaluate a behaviour ( by Christian standards), to internally rebuke improper behaviours, and to have the sincerity to ask, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.”

We live in difficult times were most individuals (including some Christians) are not only unable to explain why sinful behaviours are wrong, but also many would not even agree that these behaviours are wrong.

It would be assumed dedicated Christians (not lukewarm Christians) use the Bible to inculcate proper standards while parenting.

Reply Like

click to expand...

The white boy is crying and looking to the supervising teacher on duty, who muttered something about white privilege before turning away.

There is no way you were not laughing while typing this. I definitely enjoyed the subtle comedy in this one. Good post, Roosh.

Reply 1 Like

Now I don't see myself as having an argument with anything that Roosh has written but rather would like to add to the conversation. There are frequently good hearted God loving souls that will say something to the effect that "You shouldn't do X" or "X type of music is displeasing to God".

The response by the targets of these statements is nearly always something to the effect of "You have no right to judge me." And yet they fail to see the irony of the fact that they have just judged those who have warned them of their sin.

The problem is that the book of Ezekiel tells us we must warn our brother if he goes off the rails. If we see him go off the rails and we say nothing then God will hold us accountable. It is our job to warn our sinning brother and let God take care of the consequences.

So if someone accuses you of being judgemental upon warning them of sin you can just laugh in their face and thank them for judging you to be judgemental

Reply 1 Like

click to expand...