Judge not Lest ye be Judged….

Posted: March 7, 2007 in Bible Study, Biblical Topics, Christ, Christianity, Religion, Spiritual Struggle

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” Romans 2:1

We are all familiar with displays of hypocrisy. Today we have the blatant hypocrisy of John Edwards clearly in sight.  Today Edwards passed judgment on Americans’ charitable nature. When asked, “What parts of American Life do you think would most outrage Jesus?” Edwards replied:

Our selfishness. Our resort to war when it’s not necessary. I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs. I think he would be appalled, actually. [1] [emphasis added]

Mr. Edwards thinks that all of us have a selfishness that not only disappoints but appalls Jesus? Does he think God didn’t notice his recent acquisition in Chapel Hill of a 29,000 (yes, that’s twenty-nine THOUSAND) square foot home sitting on a 102 acre lot. Here is a description of his new six MILLION dollar home:

Knight approved the building plans that showed the Edwards home totaling 28,200 square feet of connected space. The main house is 10,400 square feet and has two garages. The recreation building, a red, barn-like building containing 15,600 square feet, is connected to the house by a closed-in and roofed structure of varying widths and elevations that totals 2,200 square feet.

The main house is all on one level except for a 600-square-foot bedroom and bath area above the guest garage.

The recreation building contains a basketball court, a squash court, two stages, a bedroom, kitchen, bathrooms, swimming pool, a four-story tower, and a room designated “John’s Lounge.” [2]

How does he rationalize this?

“I came from a very different place,” he said. “And I have been lucky enough to — to have everything you could ever have in this country. And I feel a responsibility to help people help themselves. It’s for you and the American people to judge whether they think that’s real and authentic. I believe it is, but that’s not my judgment to make.” [3]

His actions are justified based on his past poverty and his “luck.” However, it doesn’t appear he gives the same benefit of the doubt to other Americans who he thinks are so selfish as to actually offend God.

This is what we as Christians mean when we warn ourselves (and others) not to judge. You end up looking like John Edwards, an apparent hypocrite. Edwards seems to feel comfortable looking down his nose at the rest of us from his 29,000 square foot, 103 acre property. However, he sits as an example of hypocritical judgment for all to see a top a “four-story tower.”

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Comments
  1. Fang says:

    Are you talking about the Presidential candidate or they guy who thinks he talks to dead people?

  2. I am talking about the Presidential candidate John Edwards. A man who opened his campaign from New Orleans and always talks about the “two Americas.” He likes to campaign in one while living VERY high on the hog in the other.

    And yes, as he is a Christian, is seems odd that he words his comments “I think that Jesus would be…”
    It makes it seem he talks to dead people, not a risen savior. He should have said, “I think Jesus is…” if he wanted the statement to be consistent with his faith.

  3. Neil says:

    What hypocrisy! Maybe he should run with Al Gore.

    Perhaps the MSM should dig into the details of how he got so rich. I don’t think Jesus was glorified with that behavior.

    His comments had something to offend everyone. Edwards ignores that Bible-believing Christians do a lot for the poor already, and they do it with their own money. For the rest, Edwards evoked the name of Jesus and those people probably don’t care what He says.

  4. Annie says:

    Thanks for your comment on my latest post!

    As far as John Edwards goes… I think all liberal politicians are hypocrites when it comes to saying how much they love the poor and then living like American royalty.

    I have to wonder, though, if he has a point…

  5. There is a point to be made, but he isn’t the one to be making it. There is always room for more charity in our lives.

  6. Fang says:

    I just heard an interview with him last week. He sounds a bit false. He kept talking about all the good things HE does and HE organises. It just didn’t sound genuine to me. It was as if he was only doing it to put it on his resume to become President.

    Anyway. I live in Australia so I don’t know him as much as you guys.

  7. Fang, if I told you he made his money as a trial lawyer (personal injury) what would you say?

  8. timbob says:

    I’m always amazed at folks who try to talk like average citizens and then blatently indulge in that which they claim to detest. If I were running for political office, (which I am not nor do I ever have plans to) the last thing that I would want to do is give my opponents fodder for campaign commercials. Just like Al Gore the environmentalist who has an insane electric bill each month. It’s as though they place themselves in a different realm of being. I’m equally amazed by folks who go on voting either D or R while disregarding the attributes of the person they’re voting for. Nonetheless, nothing is hidden that shall not be manifest. Great post
    Have a blessed day in Christ:

    timbob

  9. Wow, very interesting post. I did not know this about him. When he announced his campaign in the middle of the ruins of a house in New Orleans, with his sleeves rolled up, looking like he’s there to help…did anybody really see him as just a common average joe? Didn’t everyone see through that charade?

  10. cumby says:

    I suspect that all of us, believers and unbelievers, Edwards and myself, will bow in hushed silence when our time comes to stand before the Lord.

  11. I, for one, know I have nothing I can plead on my behalf before God. I stand guilty of violating the law often and consistently. However, I am glad I can plead the work of Christ and his atoning blood.

  12. Dan says:

    Great blog I look forward to following along this line.

  13. isaacme says:

    As Jesus would say, take the plank out of your own eye before you attept to take the speck from your brother’s eye.

  14. Fang says:

    I would believe it!

  15. doc says:

    “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” Romans 2:1

    It seems like you have judged Edwards as being a hypocrite.

    Aren’t you, therefore, a hypocrite as well, especially in light of the verse you have posted?

  16. “It seems like you have judged Edwards as being a hypocrite.

    Aren’t you, therefore, a hypocrite as well, especially in light of the verse you have posted?”

    I have judged him as a hypocrite because he is such.

    How am I a hypocrite as well? Do I lead a life of luxury? As a graduate student married to a school teacher I can assure you such is not the case. Yet I give freely of what I have to several charities AND don’t condemn the average American for a lack of giving (while wasting money on sheer extravagance).

    They key to this verse is the last few words

    “because you who pass judgment do the same things”

  17. doc says:

    You may not be a hypocrite, but aren’t you engaging in ‘gossip’? Aren’t you talking about a man behind his back?

    I will not defend Edwards, but I will support his right to live abundantly, and I will support his right to helps others in whatever manner he may be led.

    What I would suggest, and much as Jesus did with the Scribes and Pharisees, is to confront him face to face before passing judgement, this being what we are told to do via such Scripture as Matthew 18:15

    Otherwise, I would hold my tongue and stop being like the Pharisee in Luke 18:12, while looking for other ways to get your message across.

    You are doing a good thing here, but I’d just hate to see you turn into what you despise the most.

    doc 😉

  18. “confront him face to face before passing judgment”

    That is awful convenient for him then, since he lives a life (on a 102 acres) well secluded from everyday folks like you and me. His extravagant lifestyle affords him a certain seclusion that would render him near unaccountable.

    Plus, I would point out that you seem to be citing Matthew 18:15 out of context. The discussion involves two people in a relationship that allows face-to-face contact. I am sure you would not hold it as a rule that those who criticize President Bush should first speak to him one on one, would you?

    You cite the parable of the tax collector without mentioning it’s central themes- repentance and mercy. The pharisee wasn’t in the wrong because he gave or his fasting, it was because he thought he was righteous in the eyes of God. The tax collector saw his faults and recognized his need for God’s mercy.

    I have never claimed that I was without sin or that I could achieve salvation based on my own works. I was merely pointing out Edwards hypocrisy- a crime we in the church are often charged with (so it would do us good to take note of it within our own ranks)- in light of his public statements. If you feel hamstrung from acknowledging the hypocrisy in his statement, I do not share in the same disability. I recognize we all share faults (hypocrisy among them), but it does us no good when we stand afraid to address them when they come so plainly into view.

    A brief aside. If he becomes president I will have an excellent story, since once I did confront him face to face about his character. It was a long time ago when he was just a freshman Senator (he might have been campaigning at the time). He didn’t find my comments very pleasant, but those in my company enjoyed the exchange. That was surprising, since it wasn’t a friendly audience (I was a Libertarian among Democrats).

  19. doc says:

    Well if you cannot confront him face to face then perhaps sending him a letter outlining his hypocricy, one that includes a lot of voter signatures, might get his attention.

    Still, to gossip about anyone is not a good thing, although we can talk about certain ideas and concepts without resorting to ad hominem logic.

    That said, I might further suggest stepping back a bit and ask yourself what’s so bad about a rich man doing what he can to help others?

    Do you feel he should sell everything and give it to the poor?

    If he does that, then what will he have left to keep on giving?

    And would you be willing to do the same exact thing that you require of him?

  20. “Do you feel he should sell everything and give it to the poor?”

    Certainly not. But read over the size and layout of his house one more time. While he has every right to own as much stuff as he wants in this nation, he certainly can’t own that kind of house and claim that “our focus on our own selfish short-term needs” appalls Christ- unless he is speaking of his own. But as he just bought the house last year somehow I doubt that.

    While the line between a modest lifestyle and one of extravagance is not always clear or easy to define- his new home is certainly well past that line.

    Although I certainly will send that letter.

  21. This does however bring up a topic I will be posting on at some point in the future.

    My wife and I are presently looking for a large tract of land in order to build a modest (1300-1500) square foot home. We have wanted, for the longest time, to raise goats and alpacas. We want to try to live as close to a self-reliant life as possible when it comes to food and energy needs (we are keeping our eyes on very green friendly materials and design).

    We also want to run a dog rescue on the property. But we would like to make that rescue a program where at-risk teens come and work with the dogs in order to build their own confidence and sense of responsibility.

    This dream is probably about 5-10 years away- if it is even God’s will for us. We shall see.

  22. Sherpa says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    Sorry, I’m calling you out on ad hominem here. Its a ad hominem tu quoque

  23. “Sorry, I’m calling you out on ad hominem here. Its a ad hominem tu quoque”

    Since you brought it up, I assume you are well aware what a ad hominem tu quoque logical fallacy is- right?

    Wikipedia sums up that logical flaw in the following manner:

    “A makes criticism P.
    A is also guilty of P.
    Therefore, P is dismissed.”
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque)

    However, such would only be the case if I claimed his statement that we are too selfish was untrue. However, I never made such a claim. [As a matter of fact, I wrote in the comment section “There is a point to be made, but he isn’t the one to be making it. There is always room for more charity in our lives.”]. The post was about his hypocrisy- not his claims regarding Americans.

    Therefore, you are missing the crucial third step to claim I committed that particular error in my logic. My argument flowed like this:

    A makes criticism P.
    A is also guilty of P.
    Therefore, A is a hypocrite.

    That is why I disagree.

    Thanks for the comment though. 🙂

  24. Sherpa says:

    Sorry, you did make an ad hominem. You’re definition is weak.

    The reason its an ad hominem is because you calling Edwards a hypocrite has nothing to do with the point he’s making. It doesn’t negate the facts that he’s presentation or the presenation. You’re just saying that because he doesn’t live up to what he’s saying we should dismiss what he says. Thats a logical fallacy.

  25. Sherpa says:

    Anyway, I’m sure you won’t admit that you’re wrong because you seem to have a chip on your shoulder about “being right or wrong”–but that’s okay. All I was doing was pointing out a logical fallacy.

  26. “You’re just saying that because he doesn’t live up to what he’s saying we should dismiss what he says. Thats a logical fallacy.”

    Where did you see such a claim in my post? Where did I say we should dismiss what he says?

    The post is centered on discussing hypocrisy and judgment- not whether or not Americans are too selfish (see the title, the body, and the conclusion). Once again, I would also refer you to the comment section, where I clearly stated “There is a point to be made.”

    You claim my definition of a ad hominem tu quoque logical fallacy is weak. However, I think my original response clearly shows that my argument in this post does not meet the criteria required by the definition provided (on the website you cited). I would gladly change my position if you could point to where I said we should dismiss his claims.

    Of course you are free to think that pointing out hypocrisy in someone’s statements always equates to a logical fallacy- but you would be wrong.

    For example, let’s say I argue with my friend about smoking. The argument goes like this:

    Me: Smoking is bad for your lungs and it will kill you.

    Friend: But you smoke, you can’t be right.

    In this instance there is a logical flaw since the persons contradictory behavior leads to an erroneous conclusion- that smoking is not harmful.

    But if my friend had replied, you are a hypocrite- without judging the validity of whether smoking was harmful- does he commit a logical fallacy? Certainly not. He is making a character judgment, not an argument for or against smoking and its consequences.

    Once again, thanks for posting. 🙂

  27. I have already stated I would gladly change my position if you could point out where I stated his claims should be dismissed.

    The subject is hypocrisy. The discussion revolves around making judgment of others that we ourselves fail to live up to (…you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things). I didn’t devote any time to whether or not his central claim was correct or incorrect. I only wanted to show how we looked when we made these kind of judgments while living a contradictory lifestyle.

    I offer you again the opportunity to point out where I claimed that his position was wrong due to his hypocrisy. If I were to follow your thinking on this how might I ever write about hypocrisy again?

    It is important to identify hypocrisy where you see it (it is an important character judgment), but it shouldn’t influence us to dismiss someone’s view based on that hypocrisy.

    EXAMPLE: Newt’s recent revelation that during the Clinton impeachment he was having an affair. Not a smooth move Newt. Does it reflect upon the validity of those impeachment proceedings? No. Does it reflect upon his character? Yes.

  28. Sherpa says:

    For example, let’s say I argue with my friend about smoking. The argument goes like this:

    Me: Smoking is bad for your lungs and it will kill you.

    Friend: But you smoke, you can’t be right.

    That’s a logical fallacy. That’s a classic example of an ad hominem.

    Here’s another one: Al Gore has been campaiging against global warming/climate change. He has a huge ecological footprint. However, he’s been called a hypocrite and that he shouldn’t be listened to because of his huge house which uses a lot of electricity is irrelevant to the facts of global warming. They are two separate issues.

    As far as Edwards goes–he says I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs.
    Just because he bought a large house doesn’t mean that the point he made isn’t valid. Its not relative.

  29. Sherpa says:

    As far as dismissing his point/ you don’t outright say it–you’re right. However, I could argue that you’re implying it and would probably have a decent case. As far as “character” judgement goes, that’s a pretty subjective subject.

  30. “Here’s another one: Al Gore has been campaiging against global warming/climate change…

    I agree with you here.

    “As far as Edwards goes–he says I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs. Just because he bought a large house doesn’t mean that the point he made isn’t valid. Its not relative.”

    I would think that “large” is a bit of an understatement…lol. But yes, it doesn’t mean we aren’t giving or charitable enough. I have always said we could ALL afford to be more charitable. I try to set that example for my daughter, as she assists in much of the charitable work our family engages in- whether it is licking envelopes or prayer.

    My main concern is his presentation. First, he begins by claiming to be a Christian (actually this is outside context for his statement). Second, he references Christ in his condemnation. Now these kind of judgments are the kind of things that lead a lot of people outside the church to say, “Those hypocrites, he thinks I don’t give enough, but apparently it is okay if Jesus blesses you with a 6 million dollar mansion to live in luxury. I want nothing to do with this self-righteous hypocritical religion!”

    As Christians we should be wary of making judgments. Ensuring they are both biblically correct and that they do not conflict with our own present actions. Since, as Paul says, many of us were liars, hypocrites, and adulterers before we came to
    Christ, I must stress one further point.

    Let me use an example. A man who committed adultery on his wife 10 years ago (but who has repented, sought forgiveness, and no longer engages in that sin) counsels a young man to stop cheating on his wife. His counsel is consistent with his present actions and not hypocritical. However, if he is currently seeing two women on the side outside of his marriage, his counsel is hypocritical.

    Yet, his counsel, that adultery is wrong and immoral, is still correct. Yet, in the eyes of the world, he is diminishing others view of Christ and providing them reasons to avoid coming to Christ. This is the part of Edwards actions that bothers me.

  31. Sherpa says:

    Okay, so you’re biggest problem is that Edwards gives us a bad name. That’s fair. As far as your example goes–As Christians we should be wary of making judgments. Ensuring they are both biblically correct and that they do not conflict with our own present actions. Since, as Paul says, many of us were liars, hypocrites, and adulterers before we came to
    Christ, I must stress one further point.

    Let me use an example. A man who committed adultery on his wife 10 years ago (but who has repented, sought forgiveness, and no longer engages in that sin) counsels a young man to stop cheating on his wife. His counsel is consistent with his present actions and not hypocritical. However, if he is currently seeing two women on the side outside of his marriage, his counsel is hypocritical.

    Really, we don’t know what the man’s thoughts and actions are. Even if he’s committing adultery with two women but saying that-and giving Christ a bad name, the only one who can accurately judge him is Christ.

    What you are really saying is that our actions should bely our words. Yes it should, but we are all sinners. Faith without works is dead, and adultery is a serious, serious offense, but The Word of God (as far as its been translated correctly) is Perfect. Men are far from being perfect, yet we are who God has to get his word out.

    As far as Edwards being a hypocrite goes–and he was judging others–we can say, well what he’s saying is correct–he’s not perfect but the points he making are correct. However, judge not or lest ye be judged. Even if he’s being self-righteous, at the same time–we still have a responsibility to act christ-like towards him. However, if I were to take my words to heart, I wouldn’t judge you for what you say about him.

    Yet, his counsel, that adultery is wrong and immoral, is still correct. Yet, in the eyes of the world, he is diminishing others view of Christ and providing them reasons to avoid coming to Christ. This is the part of Edwards actions that bothers me.

    Honestly, when people are ready to come to Christ, they don’t use the actions of others as an excuse. 😉

  32. “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

    What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.” 1 Corinthians 11-13.

    We have a responsibility as believers to patrol our own. To call our brothers out when they transgress. I, admittedly, could have been more gentle, yet to claim that pointing out hypocrisy is a wrongful judgment is to leave the church (and believers) hamstrung when it comes to discerning between good and evil, right and wrong. Something we are repeatedly admonished to do.

  33. Sherpa says:

    We have a responsibility as believers to patrol our own. To call our brothers out when they transgress.

    We also have the responsibility to treat others like we would have them treat us. Sometimes we get a little too gung ho about calling people out and forget the mote/beam analogy.

    I, admittedly, could have been more gentle, yet to claim that pointing out hypocrisy is a wrongful judgment is to leave the church (and believers) hamstrung when it comes to discerning between good and evil, right and wrong.

    I didn’t say that pointing out hypocrisy is a wrongful judgement. My words were such that we need to be careful. Its easy to find hypocrisy as we are all imperfect. Its easier to point out hypocrisy then treat everyone with like christ would have us do. However, I didn’t go out and call it a wrongful judgement. There’s a thing called righteous judgement. As far as discerning good and evil goes–we have the holy ghost to help us to say something is an unrighteous judgement? Well, that’s between the person who is making the judgement and God. Righteous judgement is a tool however we can use to discern between good and evil.

    Something we are repeatedly admonished to do.

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