Nobody wants to be called judgmental! Nobody! So, I’ve been wondering just what does it really mean to be judgmental? We’ve all heard the scriptural teaching that it is wrong to point out the speck in your brother’s eye, when you have a log in your own. Jesus rebukes the accuser saying in Matt.7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” So it seems that hypocrisy in judging others is the point of this rebuke.
Since I’m sticking my toe into the waters of theological territory here, I’d like to point out the distinction between correction and judgment as I see it . I’m no expert, so it’s just my opinion— for whatever that’s worth! Speaking out against wrong doesn’t seem to be the problem here. After all Jesus and the Apostles were bold and rebuked sin and condemned evil where they saw it. No lukewarm, wishy washy approach, thank heavens! So, correction is NOT judgment. I’m wondering, do you agree?
So, why am I writing about this? Friends in the blogging community recently brought to my attention that Nike has re-signed Michael Vick, football quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, after his felony conviction for illegal dog fighting. Many people who love animals are protesting this for good reason. So I posted to my personal Facebook page that I did not support Nike re-signing Vick. Just a simple statement. The next morning I discovered that a FB friend who lives in Philadelphia said that “people are far better than the worst thing they ever did in their lives.” There is truth in that statement, but I interpreted that as a rebuke for being ---yeah—judgmental.
I found some really horrific photos you would be glad I did not put here!
In all fairness, I thought perhaps I had been a little hasty in judging Vick. So I decided to do a little research on Michael Vick. I knew that dog fighting was inhumane, but I was shocked to learn that the crimes involved drowning, hanging, electrocution, using a dog as a jump rope and smashing it’s head into the pavement until it was dead. Some dogs who survived hanging, were then drowned in 5 gallon buckets. Cruel torture of under performing dogs. I couldn’t bear to read anymore of the gruesome details, but did note that Vick has a history of drug use, fraudulent misappropriation of funds, and other bad behavior. After the first raid by investigators, Vick wasn’t too concerned about it. “I’m thinking, I can get myself out of this situation. Money will get me out of this situation”. Sorry, but I have no problem labeling him as a thug and all round bad guy. How many times have we all heard that the most dangerous people in our society are those who mistreat and torture animals. My greatest hope would be that he would be genuinely sorry, but have to admit that I am skeptical. Am I judging him wrongly?
“C” and I discussed this last week. She asked, “So did it make you feel bad to be criticized?” “Yeah, it did sting a bit,” I confessed. “ But I do think I was right.” Pressing on I asked, “So, what do you think about Vick—do you think Nike was in the right in re-signing him?” “Well, there are some things in life that just disqualify you”, she replied.
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?” Matthew: 7:16
What do YOU think? Vick lost huge financially, but now after paying his debt to society with a prison sentence, he will be paid millions to represent Nike to a public of young people looking for a hero. Has Michael Vick disqualified himself as a hero?