“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…”
Matthew 7.1-2 (NIV translation)
This verse is part of the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus that is often misquoted because people tend to quote “Do not judge” and then leave out the rest of it.
This week, the media once again focus on Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco quarterback who was a huge star under Jim Harbaugh but whose stardom had dimmed starting last season. During the pre-season, he had sat during the national anthem. He continues to sit at the season opener and will probably sit as long as we keep watching him.
I’m not going to deal with whether I agree with his form of protest in this blog. I at least agree with him that we do have a racial problem in this country that seems to be only obvious for people color (whether brown, black, red or yellow) that isn’t always obvious to some white people. I’m not here to talk about that either. I’ve already dealt with that issue in a different post regarding the Christian context. I’ll only deal with one objection that people often brought up: hypocrisy. The argument usually goes something like this (or in similar logic): Colin K makes millions; it’s hypocrisy for him to just talk about this issue because he hardly knows anything about being oppressed.
The argument redefines hypocrisy in that hypocrisy, in the biblical sense, doesn’t mean ignorance. It doesn’t mean that just because a person has less knowledge about poverty or oppression, he can’t speak on it. Hypocrisy in the biblical sense literally means “to play act” in the Greek language in which the Bible was written. In other words, being hypocritical means to merely talk about someone else without action that matches the righteousness of the criticism. In other words, if I’m morally upright, then I can talk about morality. If I build a good marriage, I can speak on marriage and so on.
So, Colin Kaepernick has already explained in numerous occasions on what he’s concerned about. I don’t need to rehash the issues. Whatever you think of Colin Kaepernick, he isn’t a hypocrite. Quite often, people frame their criticism on hypocrisy against those who only chase issues but do nothing about them. Usually, the argument goes something like this. Why doesn’t the black community policed itself? Why doesn’t a critic do something positive about the black community problem instead of talking about it? Herein lies the problem. Colin Kaepernick is doing something about that.
Besides using his influence to raise money for children’s charity, he now vows to donate almost 1/10 of his salary to causes that will rectify the present concern. Now, people are getting petty and start to question what causes he’s donating to. The big plus from this however is that the San Francisco Forty Niners will also donate the same amount to causes that work towards racial issues. So, Colin Kaepernick isn’t a hypocrite. He’s doing this not only as a cost to his own business sponsorship but also to his own pocketbook.
So, before anyone wants to point finger at hypocrisy, I only have one thing to ask. Have you donated 1/10 of what you make to a cause you believe in? If not, Colin Kaepernick, in one fell swoop, just made hypocrites of a whole lot of his critics. Whatever we label Colin Kaepernick, we can’t call him a hypocrites.
I don’t think most critics exercise the same stringent criteria on themselves as on Colin Kaepernick. Jesus was right. 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…
PS. In case you wonder, we do donate more than 1/10 of our household income to causes we believe in, both here and abroad. I don’t make millions like Colin Kaepernick, but I’m trying to do my part.