Small j & Big J: Judgement & Judgementalism

Many times  we hear the phrase  ” don’t touch the Lord’s anointed”

it comes from Psalms 105 v 7-15

He is the Lord our God;
His judgments govern the whole earth.
He remembers His covenant forever,
the promise He ordained
for a thousand generations—
the covenant He made with Abraham,
swore to Isaac,
10 and confirmed to Jacob as a decree
and to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
11 “I will give the land of Canaan to you
as your inherited portion.”

12 When they were few in number,
very few indeed,
and temporary residents in Canaan,
13 wandering from nation to nation
and from one kingdom to another,
14 He allowed no one to oppress them;
He rebuked kings on their behalf:
15 “Do not touch My anointed ones,
or harm My prophets.”    (hscb)

in context of what the scripture is clearly saying here it is God himself who is the Judge  & the people of God the anointed ones..  in the New covenant – this of course includes all of us who have accepted Jesus as a sacrifice for our sin…  we too are the “anointed ones”   see v 14 – God is saying there is a rebuke to Kings & other oppressors..  we conclude then that “authority”  has no given distinction over & above “anointing” ; in other words  whether we are a leader or not,  we are all equal under   Jesus…  therefore when we hear this phrase being used – we need to check the context & see whether it is being used from one who has authority over us…  to pull rank of compliance & control….& used as bullying tactics   A leader  is no more ANOINTED than anyone else in the Kingdom of God…

Futhermore ,- when it comes to Judging & judgement & judgementalism – we have got ourselves in a pickle over these terms..

Big J judging  is all about   judging another & being critical about their, behaviour, attitudes, choices & motivations…  JUDGEMENTALISM

small j  judging  is about discerning & weighing up –  making a choice for ourselves about a situation & sometimes learning from the mistakes  & successes of others – judging.   this is necessary  for us as humans to decide between right & wrong & how much influence for good or bad ends others can hold over us…  we hope in a very natural sense we can help our young children develop this skill for example so that they may not hook up with “the wrong crowd”  who get them into all sorts of trouble including illegal activities…  it is the inner knowing for one self where to draw a line & the confidence to do that. Of course as Christians we must surrender & extend that  to be in line with all that the bible teaches too.

so lets look at this biblically,

luke 6: v35 -38

But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  (hcsb)

this type of judging  is big J judging….   can we see that it is not constructive, it doesn’t bring life –  it brings criticism, oppression & hurt..  it doesnt build up a person or encourage them by any means..  it is a dead end.. which is why it is so deadly…   Remember that Jesus came to smash oppression & bring freedom – therefore  we can play no part in the continuation of the things he came to bind up..   As God is the Judge, he himself decides to be gracious to the ungrateful & evil… if we set ourselves up as “Judge”  we play the Devil’s game of setting ourselves up as God…

James 4 v 11 says

Don’t criticize one another, brothers. He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.  (hcsb)

small j judging is different…

paul makes the following appeal in Romans 16   v 17 -18

 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (ESV)

& in 1 Corinthians 5 v 11 -13 he writes:

 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”  (ESV)

now clearly we can see that in order to follow this instruction – there has to be some decision making about a person who is  inside the church  & considered a believer  as to whether their behaviour & actions warrant this….  some small j   weighing up & discerning has to go on here to get this right…  THIS TYPE OF JUDGING IS OK –  it is biblically endorsed.. for those who are

  •  teaching contrary doctrines  ( those that are extra to or not in the scriptures – & presenting them as thought they are)
  • using flattery  for their own advantage ( buttering people up)
  •  sexually immoral   ( any sexual conduct outside of their marriage)
  •  greedy      –  money makers or ambition for them self  seekers
  • idolaters – who put people (or ritual or extra biblical teachings) in a high regard to the point of worshipping them
  • revilers –  a person who talks harshly  (especially about others)
  • drunkards  (or addicts of any description)
  • swindlers  – the con artist  always after your money  one way or another…

& why because a person who calls them self a Christian – who behaves in these ways, & will not turn in repentance having been corrected by those who are Godly – corrupts the Body…  such a person brings in “sin to the camp”  where there should be holiness  so it needs to be addressed  for the sake of building & encouraging & bringing life & freedom  to the rest of the body..   if ignored it runs rampant eventually & the end result is that the body is so corrupted it becomes the false church…

what we cant do any longer is confuse the two ‘J’ s    for fear of  being operative in Big J   – the church at large has ignored small j  & from my observation it is causing huge huge problems

time to be  clear about these issues in our own minds  & im not saying Im an expert  – I’ve just simply thrown my thoughts into the pot & given some biblical perspective around it. I  would  love to hear what you think  on this subject – lets discuss & grapple with it  for our encouragement & building each other up..



3 thoughts on “Small j & Big J: Judgement & Judgementalism

  1. Judging immorality is judgemental or bullying...

    this was placed as a search term to the blog earlier today…. so as Im not sure if this is a statement or a question.. I’d like to work through it… If the person who placed it could send me a PM as I discern there is a whole situational premise behind these words – whereby you may have been in the firing line of this kind of “judging”

    Ok so judging Immorality — lets say this is sexual sin – ( but it could be other things) behaviour & attitudes… if the person doing this is inside the church & proclaiming to live a christian life in relationship with Christ – – this is small j judging – we have rightly discerned – (even if it has come to our actual knowledge) that the person is living in & embracing sin in their life…. simply we have lined up their behaviour alongside the requirements laid out in the 1 Corinthians 5 passage & found that the person is behaving in a contrary manner to that which Paul expects of the church… & yes it does need dealing with as we really cant have sin in the camp- be loved – but also be aware that deliberate sin crucifies Jesus all over again: read (Hebrews 6 v 1-6)

    now, for the same scenario – if the person is not in the church, does not claim to be born again.. this type of Judging of their behaviour & attitude towards their own immoral living…. is nothing to do with us … it is God’s responsibility through the Holy spirit to bring about an awareness of the saving grace of Jesus & a recognition of any sin in the persons life… He is the one to bring conviction & a response of repentance to this person… so for us to judge such a person is actually BIG J judging… if we confront them & make them accountable to us for it… ( however we can of course discern that this is not how we would personally choose to live for ourselves) so yes this type of judging is Judgemental…

    now… how should the christian be dealt with if found to be in the first scenario or similar – where known sin needs to be dealt with..?

    scripture tells us:

    Matthew 18 v 15 -17

    “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. ( ESV)

    so the steps are to confront the person & eventually make it known to the church. with the end result of a unrepentant heart – to be put out side of fellowship… a s the person has been made aware & is willfully continuing in sin & rebellion

    & Galatians 6 v 1-2
    Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (ESV)

    so we can see that the context is restoration through loving careful concern…

    BULLYING: lets get this straight that this is all about one person (one way or another) using strength or power to oppress & dominate another or others,, under a bully’s regime – the effect communicated to the victim is that their response in sorting out their behaviour or attitudes should change not out of a heart response to the holy spirit but from a place of fear in wanting to stay out of trouble…. with the bully

    If we witness a problem of sin being dealt with in the church by the use of bullying it is not GODLY… because the person administrating this discipline is not doing it in line with these above scriptures & is actually in sin themselves for behaving this way… this is very very serious if it is a leader – because the judgement God himself will lay on them will be double… & because as a leader this is a huge red flag that there is something very wrong in terms of their accountability…

    if you find yourself seeing this going on you do need to seek out some help & support: yes sin is sin & does need to be addressed within the church but not by & through sinful methods themselves – dressed up as “the anointing” “Godly leadership” – “prophetic insight” or whatever else..

    in my Bethelized church… I witnessed this occurring – so I have lived under this heavy weight first hand…

  2. Judging has been a dirty word for so long and used by leaders who rely on power to keep people silent. We need to distinguish the right sort from the wrong sort as you’ve done here. We do have a God-given voice. Luther judged and found the church of the day wanting. He subsequently did something about it. What will we do in our day?

  3. Thanks Zazzy – a vital distinction! Otherwise we can end up ANYWHERE…..for example, from…

    ‘My cousin was disciplined by his church for querying people making pig noises in the meeting. He brought some friends from work along to his church to hear the gospel, they were so shocked that they did not go back.’


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