Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Judge Not?

My friend Jim recently did an editorial on what the Bible says about judging, which reminded me that I had been wanting to post on this subject, for some time. At his urging, I am doing so now.

"Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matthew 7:1). We've all heard and read this scripture. In fact, the world has drilled it into our heads so much, that many of us are beginning to apply it to every situation. It's the Biblical justification for political correctness and the mantra of "live and let live."

But it's a lie, my friends. The world of sinners is using this quote by Jesus, taken out of context, to disarm true Christians and prevent them from pointing out sin. Here, I will attempt to put the verse in context and provide you with several other verses, with which you can build a defense shield, against the fiery arrows of the enemy.

First, read Matthew 7:1-5, to see what Jesus' point was. It becomes apparent that He was talking to hypocrites (v. 5), who point out people's flaws that they themselves also suffer from. It's like one alcoholic telling another to stop drinking. What's Jesus' solution? "First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." So He's saying, "don't judge, until your own judgement is cleared of the same sin."

This sets up His next statement, in v 6, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine...." So, he has us purify our hearts, so that we may be able to tell the deaf ears from the ready hearts.

In vs 15-16, Jesus warns us about false prophets, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits." So clearly, we are to judge who is a false prophet, and He even tells us how: by their words and deeds.

But what does it mean to judge? In the Bible, this word has two connotations. The first is discernment, telling good deeds from evil deeds. Even without studying God's Word, most people can do this, to a certain level. Any rational being will tell you that stealing and murder are wrong. Even if we're trapped by sin, we usually know that we are doing wrong, for our conscience pricks us. But to tell it to another person, who knows that we are trapped in the same sin is hypocritical and would have little effect on that person.

The second meaning is that of condemning someone for their evil actions, as in a court of law. Obviously, only God will ever have the power to actually sentence someone to an eternity in Hell. However, we have the right to tell a sinner, "Jesus says that if you do not repent, you will die in Hell" (Luke 13:3,5).

So can we really judge? Are there other scriptures that support us (provided we have searched our hearts and found them free of clouding of sin)? You bet!

Proverbs 26, for example, has plenty to say about how we should deal with fools. But how can we tell if someone's a fool, unless we judge them a fool?

"But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin" (Micah 3:8). This is one of my favorite verses, which assures us that the Holy Spirit gives us the power and authority to point out other people's sins. Obviously, this should be in a loving attitude, in an effort to steer them back to the Light.

Paul also has a lot to say about hypocritical judging, in Romans 2.

And perhaps one of the clearest encouragements to judge others in righteousness, is found in Lev. 19:15: "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour."

The picture above was copied from a similar article on judging, from the Word Incarnate blog.


Andrew Clarke said...

This is helpful. You're right, too. Not judging does not mean taking the venal approach that everyone and everything is okay. We have to judge behaviour and actions to govern ourselves and to instruct our children, too. As you say, some deceivers try to disarm and bully Christians with the misuse of this teaching. The key to it may be judging and condemning the sin, rather than the sinner. You mention Paul, who speaks sharply to various churches in his epistles. That is, he passes critical comment on their behaviour, for their own good and to give proper glory to the Saviour, who saved us from the consequences of our sin and warns us not to repeat it. He said to the woman caught in adultery, 'go and sin no more.'
It's good to hear from you again. Blessings.

Tamela's Place said...

Thankyou for this post!

I tell you what it's a battle trying to get people (even those who consider themselves Christian) to understand Judging when it comes to God's Word. This idea of not judging is filtrating even the churches in a great way. In my last post i also wrote about a huge lie that is going full force and it disguises itself in love. And anyone who believes it's lie is partaker in its evils. I titled it: "Are you being deceived?"

I hope more people come and read your post. This is a truth that needs to be brought back as a reminder to those who don't have the proper understanding when it comes to judging.

Tamela :)

nitewrit said...


I've been kicking around this subject in my head for a post myself. Looks likeyou beat me to it.

"Any rational being will tell you that stealing and murder are wrong." This use to be pretty self-evident, but if you listen to or read the media anymore it isn't accepted as clear cut by the world at large. This is partly due to how we have backed down on firm stands against wrongs. That "judge not, that ye be not judged" has become a distorted way for the world to justify just about anything and tell others to mind their own business.


Wifey said...

This is a topic I have been tempted to talk about numerous times on forums. I sure get tired of people saying we shouldn't judge, when it's so clear that we need to in the Bible.

jeleasure said...

One week old....

jeleasure said...

Hey, what happened to my comment?

I commented before on this and said thanks for picking up the topic from this perspective.

Anyway, thanks for discussing why people miss-use this command.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

"Obviously, this should be in a loving attitude, in an effort to steer them back to the Light."

How true! The problem, sometimes (many times?), is that people are judgmental rather than loving people in their judgment. That group of in-breds out in Kansas is a great example of a hateful and judgmental attitude while rightly decrying the sin of homosexuality.

Our judgment should be Christ-like. He loved sinners in and through their rebellion against God and righteousness. And by the power of the Spirit in us, we can (and should) do the same.

Nice reminder, Greg, that we shouldn't simply look away from the sin of others.


Dr. Russell Norman Murray said...

'Our judgment should be Christ-like. He loved sinners in and through their rebellion against God and righteousness. And by the power of the Spirit in us, we can (and should) do the same. Nice reminder, Greg, that we shouldn't simply look away from the sin of others.'

Agreed, GGM. Also even as we are saved we should look at ourselves honestly and seek the Lord's purification in greater measure.

Blessings, Greg.

Jeff said...

Good article. I've been told before that I am judging when I say that homosexuality is a sin; but really, I am just agreeing with what the Bible says.

In fact, the Bible says we Christians will judge angels.

On the other hand, when someone condemns someone else in a condescending manner and reprimands them for something they assume the other person has done, I think that is 'judging' in the manner that the Bible says not to judge. In other words, if you hear gossip about a person, and hear that the person supposedly did a certain thing, and you go to that person in a condescending, judgmental attitude and start reprimanding them, before even talking to them or questioning them about it first, and just assume that they really did what you heard they did (without hearing them out first; especially if it is a false assumption), then I think you are judging them in a way that the Bible says not to.