I was stunned. I was silenced. I was saddened. Had my mother really just said to me, “Do not judge or you will be judged likewise?” It felt like a cruel blow. This dialogue occurred years before I disclosed to my parents my knowledge of having been sexually abused by dad in childhood. It followed a holiday visit where dad targeted me with his rage. As a result, I told my parents that dad’s anger issues and his use of pornography had adversely affected me as a child. I voiced concern over my own children being exposed to these things via exposure to my dad. While I had hoped for remorse and repentance, instead I was met with defensiveness and excuses. Mom told me not to judge – that nobody is perfect. She also said, “You have watched worse movies!” My mind began to scan. Was this true? Which movie? I considered arguing the point but realized that it wouldn’t make any difference. She had purposely turned the tables on me. How could a mother do that? Note to self: Never expect a sane response from an insane family system.
Matthew 7: 1-2 (NIV)
Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
The term “judging” really gets a rise out of people. Maybe especially among Christians. Many use these verses in the gospel of Matthew as a shield to guard against having to hear the truth. Unbelievably, there are many instances where someone who identifies as a believer is found to be an abuser, but the person who is the whistle-blower is made out to be the one in the wrong for exposing someone’s criminal behavior. Why would a community of Christians turn things around so that a truth-teller becomes the sinful party because they dared to judge another? Meanwhile, the acts of the abuser are swept under the rug. This happens time and again and I am grateful to people like Boz Tchividjian who report it. His work exposes childhood sexual abuse and often the resulting cover-up of the abuse by those within a Christian organization who hold power. Boz, a grandson of Billy Graham, is the Executive Director of G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment).
My anger towards God was fleeting. I knew in my heart that mom had used the ‘do not judge’ verse out of context but it still hurt. I found some comfort in Elisabeth Elliot’s words. In her book, On ASKING GOD WHY, she wrote, ” …To make any sense at all of his (Jesus’) teachings requires, among other things, the God-given faculty of judgment, which includes discrimination. The current popular notion that judging others is in itself a sin leads to such inappropriate maxims as “I’m ok, and you’re ok.” It encourages a conspiracy of moral indifference…”
Matthew 18:15-16 (NIV)
If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
What if the “brother” who sinned against you is your parent? What if you confront them but they deny or make excuses? What if you tell but no one believes? What then?
God believes. He knows. God is the ultimate judge.
The Last Battle Blog aims to provide meaningful tools and information about the issue of sexual violation. We offer a way to express yourself, as you engage in your own personal awareness and share your strengths with others. Our goal is to cover a variety of topics, stories, ideas, and to create a blog that is beneficial and honoring to those who read it. Last Battle’s contributing authors help make this happen.