7 Reasons Why You Should (And Shouldn’t) Be More Judgmental

ImageThe last twenty years have brought us a tide of sentiment into our world that recites the mantra, “Don’t judge me.” Along with that core statement come many iterations of the same: “Tolerate,” “I can’t tolerate intolerance.” “Who are you to judge?” “Don’t be hatin.” We usually precede these words with a lot of emotion, passion, and well…judgment.

The fact is, we cannot live without judging. In fact, the people with the best judgment live the best and often the longest lives, while those with poor judgment often remove themselves from the food chain. The question then is: “How best to judge?” While the scope of this blog cannot answer this entire question, I want to share some observations gathered along my travels and perhaps, help you gain some insights into better judging.

Why Judge?
1. There is an external reality. Reality matters.  We live in a world of reality outside of us that we didn’t create. Without a grasp of true reality you can only make decisions based on what you think is true. If what you think is true is really false, then you tend to make decisions that harm you.

2. Not all things are the same. Fruity-Pebbles is not the same as oatmeal. Judgment differentiates. It stands upon the first law of logic that states: A is not non-A. This may seem elementary, however, people often ignore this law by saying things like, “All religions lead to heaven,” or “You have your way, I have mine, it will all work out in the end.” Ummm, no.

3. Truth is exclusive. People use the word, “narrow-minded,” as an insult. However, truth is narrow and exclusive. This doesn’t work in real-life. “I clocked you going 65 in a 25.”  “Uh sir, aren’t you being a bit narrow minded?”  or “You failed the test.” “Mr. Jones, I was giving you my interpretation of the questions, who are you to judge?” Try these just for fun.

4. There’s a difference between truth claims and preference claims. Bumper sticker, “Don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” Sounds logical. But hidden in the phrase is the assumption that moral issues are equal to preference issues. Try this, “Don’t like slavery? Don’t own one.” Hmmm. “Don’t like murder? Don’t kill anyone.” Moral truth claims stand above us. Morality is given to us through the character and nature of God. It is not our jurisdiction. It is above our pay grade. God has given us free-will, yet this is a limited sovereignty. He is the ultimate Sovereign. We can choose between vanilla and chocolate, but we cannot choose our own morality.

How to Judge?
We cannot live without judging, yet a misuse of this ability can lead to broken relationships and pain, which is bad. Jesus pointed out that judging wrongly is wrong. So how do we judge rightly?

1. We live in a world of ideas and people. Reality shows us that there exists equality with regards to people, and elitism with regards to ideas. We get onto thin ice when our judgments rank the value of people rather than the value of their ideas. God has placed in all of humanity inherent value. If we, in our judging, devalue another person, we have judged wrongly. We run into all kinds of problems when people put their value and identity in wrong ideas then when the idea is denounced, it’s taken personally.

2. We can judge wrongly when pointing out a speck, with a log in our eye. When we make a moral pronouncement, it comes best through people who have moral authority. Jesus’ often quoted “don’t judge” passage is really a denouncement of hypocrisy, not of making judgments. However, a lack of moral authority in the pronouncer doesn’t negate the morality of the pronouncement. Just because a thief denounces your stealing doesn’t make stealing right. It just makes the thief disingenuous. Mother Teresa denounced abortion during a prayer breakfast in front of President and Mrs. Clinton, when asked about it, President Clinton remarked, “It’s hard to argue against a life so well lived.”

3. Align your judgments with the sacred. Some things are sacred. Anything expressly and exclusively given by God or owed exclusively to God, is sacred. We cannot prefer in this arena. Things like life. Life is given by God and owed to God. Our sexuality is sacred – given and designed by God. It is biologically purposeful, powerful to create the immortal, bond families, and pleasurable. We should judge ideas and actions that de-sacrilize, life, worship, marriage, and sexuality.

As we live in this world of ideas and people, may we learn to love deeply and judge rightly. As the prophet said, “He has shown you, O man, what is good;  And what does the Lord require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Fighting the “Man Creep”

ImageIn working to help marriages stay healthy and men to become better men, and also having 46 years experience actually being a man, I want to speak to a long-standing trend that must be addressed and fought – I call it “Man Creep.”

“Man Creep” is the phenomenon where men commonly pursue a girl passionately and lovingly, and then after marriage, they get romantically lazy and vision-less. They settle into a blob on the couch, become intimately familiar with the remote control, sports-pages, game-consoles, or worse, the bodies of exploited and pretending females that happen to be someone else’s daughters, mothers, and wives. We start well, but over time, we “creep” into lethargy. The passion and vision that attracted our wives to us has vanished like a sandcastle in the tide.

God programmed men to hunt. We love the thrill of the chase. But we also have a tendency – rooted in our selfish nature — to stop the hunt when we’ve bagged our quarry. This tendency must be fought within a marriage. Here are three practices that help fight “Man Creep.”

1. Cultivate your love of God and your vision for God. This must come first before all else. You must find yourself as a son toward your Heavenly Father before you find yourself as a husband, boyfriend, employee, or anything else. Your primary identity is that of God’s adopted child. (If you haven’t turned away from sin and placed your life in God’s hands, you will always be chasing this true identity with counterfeits.) When your love for God flourishes, you keep a clear vision of where you fit into His redemption plan. When you have a clear and compelling vision, the couch loses its appeal. And you want to take people along your journey to that heavenly city. When you lead your home in this way, things don’t get old.

2. See the complexities of the women in your life as a challenge, not a burden. When I talk to young men about the specter of spending the rest of your life with one woman they seem to think that will be boring. I gently lean close and tell them that the woman on your wedding day may be the same person ten years later, but I guarantee, she is not the same WOMAN. Her passions, turn-ons/offs, ideas, moods, wardrobe, pursuits, and many more things will change during her lifetime. If you spend your energy continually pursuing this moving target (then add to the mix winning your daughter’s heart), you will not have time, energy, or money to entertain the thought of another.

3. Own the responsibility to blossom your wife. When a woman trusts herself to you, she places herself in a vulnerable position. If you allow her to plant herself into the soil of your heart then you must accept the responsibility to help her become all that God made her to be.  If you lead her well, she will blossom into the most beautiful thing you could imagine. If you don’t, she may very well shrivel and die inside. Women have two questions continually rolling around in their head: 1) am I worthy to be loved? and 2) will I be ok? If, by your words and actions, you reassure her that she is lovely and she is safe, she will have the confidence to blossom under the sovereign care of God and the delegated authority of your leadership. If, however, you create uncertainty in her mind regarding her beauty and/or security through pornography, harshness, aloofness, indifference to her presence, financial carelessness, and a controlling/jealous attitude, she will shrivel and grow hardened or numb.  A good measure of a man’s leadership is the blossoming of his wife. You cannot control everything about her, but you can cultivate healthy soil for her heart to grow.

Keep in mind that females aren’t trophies to win and place on a shelf. When one places her trust in you as a daughter or a wife, you have not won them but have earned the opportunity of knowing them. If you fight the tendency toward “Man Creep”, your home will be filled with bright, glorious, and sweet-smelling treasures.

(By the way, there is such a thing as “female creep,” I’ll let my wife write about that.)

Givem’ Heaven!


We Can Never Be Royal?


Last week teenage sensation Lorde (aka Ella Yelich-O’Connor) and her song “Royals” won song of the year. While I’m not a rabid follower of the culture’s music scene for I find it disconnected from reality, I found Royals an intriguing mix of haunting harmonies, materialistic backlash, and generational resignation. Hidden beneath the fantastically produced song, I found a message that saddened me.

The song positively eschews the elitist culture of old money and the hedonistic culture of the contemporary music scene. But the chorus, so catchy in its melody, hints at something greater that Ella misses as she stares it in the face.

And we’ll never be royals (royals)
It don’t run in our blood
That kind of lux just ain’t for us
We crave a different kind of buzz
Let me be your ruler (ruler), you can call me Queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule (I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule…)
Let me live that fantasy

On one hand, she resigns that by virtue of her birth place and socio-economic class, she will never be looked upon as “upper class.” (Ironic for a singer that made the Forbes 30 under 30 list). A generation of kids weaned on MTV cribs and photo-shopped mid-drifts revel in the fact that they will never achieve the status of their dreams. It has a sour grapes feel, “I want that, I will never get that, so who cares, that stuff is lame anyway.” They see their heroes on the stage and one day hope they will be found worthy to be a part of something great, but it won’t happen so why pine for it?

The second half of the chorus though belies something that pokes its head out of the rest of the song as though it’s trying to hide but wants to be seen, “Let me be your ruler, you can call me Queen Bee, and baby I’ll rule, let me live that fantasy.” It speaks to an inner drive to rule, to be in charge. What Ella doesn’t understand, is that we were born to be royal. We were put on earth to rule. God created us to live as vice-regents. The fallen state of this world obscures this heritage and our sinful nature actually desires the muck of peasantry. And yet even in our sin, it was God’s good pleasure to send the King of Kings to take our death penalty so he could adopt all who turn away from sin and confess Christ into His family – the family of the King of Kings – a royal family.

So Ella, we can all be royals. God calls us to be a part of the band, not just a stage prop for a moment that gets left behind when the tour bus leaves. God calls us all to be partakers of His glory. Not spectators in a glory we could never hope to obtain. Out of His love, He beckons us onto the stage, not for a moment, but forever.

Let me be your ruler…

Part of a royal heritage is a responsibility to rule. Our King commissions us to take His wisdom, truth, and love into every corner of this world. I find too many Christians – those adopted into His royal family – adopt a passive and pleasure-seeking philosophy of life. Instead of passionately taking their place of rulership, they look to “professional Christians” to manifest the Kingdom. They sit in the stands of the arena and give the thumbs up or down.

The world has a lot of ugly in it. Ella’s song points to some of it. God adopts us and commissions us into the fray.

One day there will be a final coronation of the King of Kings. We don’t want to show up with a clean, unused sword. Take the powerful message of adoption into every corner of this wonderful, but fallen world. Yes, we can all be royals. Perhaps you can be the one to tell Lorde she truly WAS made for royalty.