Just as inevitably, the "theology" of the post will be backed up with the scripture that in our day and age may now be more well known than good ole' John 3:16. "Judge not that you be not judged." "SEE! SEE! screams the brother, sister or friend, "The book says you are not to judge." My question is, is it actually true that The Bible tells us that we are not to judge anything or anybody? The answer may come as a shock.
Before we dive into that though, let's take a quick look at this whole judge not business. Matthew 7:1 says:
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
Well, there it is preacher!! I told you the Bible says not to judge me! O.K. hold on just a minute. Let's take a look at what this verse is really saying shall we?
In order to spare you all of the theological mumbo jumbo, let me just say that the word translated in our Bibles as judge is a word that means to condemn someone. Essentially, it means to say to someone I have determined that you are worthy of condemnation to Hell and I, myself am pronouncing that judgment on you. A little word of advice to those who would feel they have this kind of power. YOU ARE NOT GOD! You have NO authority to condemn someone to Hell or to condemn someone because you deem them worthy of condemnation. Now wait a minute, you may be saying, "aren't you saying exactly what I'm saying. You are not to judge me. There it is, cut and dry!"
Keep holding on, let's continue on for a moment.
Matthew 7:1 also tells us that we are not to judge others that we would not be judged. It goes on to say, "The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. So, what does this mean? It means that we are, first and foremost, not to judge another person for something that we ourselves are not taking care of in our own life. If I am a thief, Jesus says, it is not cool to run around condemning other thieves while I've got the same sin in my own life. Jesus teaches that we are to worry, first, about the sin that is going on in our own lives before we worry about what is going on in someone Else's life, or as Jesus also put it, get the log out of your own eye before you worry about the speck in your brothers eye. However, here is the question, are we NEVER supposed to say something about the speck in our brother's eye?
You may be surprised to learn that in the very SAME CHAPTER where Jesus says, "Judge not," he then tells those present about some of the things that they are supposed to judge. Jesus warns his disciples and all who are there that they are to identify and judge the teaching of false prophets
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Did I mention this is the SAME CHAPTER, SAME CONVERSATION as the "Judge not" verse. Jesus says "Judge not" and then turns around and tells them to judge false teachers. Is this the only place where we are exhorted to judge others? Take a look at these scriptures:
Judge Disputes between Believers:
1 Corinthians 6:1-8(NKJV)
6 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 4 If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! 7 Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? 8 No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Judging and addressing sin in the church:
1 Corinthians 5:9-13(NKJV)
9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. 12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
Judging the doctrine of teachers :
Matt. 7:15–20(We already read)
1 Corinthians 14:29(NKJV)
29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
1 John 4:1(NKJV)
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Here is the one that may really tweak some in and out of the church world today. We are supposed to judge whether someone is a believer in Christ or not.
Judging whether others are believers or not:
2 Corinthians 6:14-18(NLT)
14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. 18 And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Do I not have to make judgments about certain things for these verses to be applied in my life? or yours? Let's continue.
Judging qualifications for leadership:
1 Timothy 3:1-13(NKJV)
3 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Judging the unruly:
Judging the unruly:
1 Thessalonians 5:14(NKJV)
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.
I could go on but I will stop right here. As you can see, the blanket statement that we are not to judge anyone or anything is completely antithetical to what scripture really says. We are to judge. We aren't to judge anyone to condemnation because we are not qualified for that job. Only one is and his name is Jesus. However, we are to judge many things, not in order to condemn, but to warn and to challenge. Whatever anyone thinks about the validity of the words of The Bible one thing is true. Every word will last forever! Every word will prove true. It is up to us as believers to warn, to challenge, to encourage believers and to also proclaim the truth of the gospel to those who do not believe.
The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) We do not speak truth and we are not being honest when we tell others it is not our job to judge. In fact, we could very well be causing eternal damage to their lives.
Last point for today. Just because we are told to make judgments about things does not mean that we are not to love. Love and judgment must go hand in hand or only harm can come of it. Any judgments, rebukes, words of correction must come from a place of absolute love. It must be the love of God in us that compels us not to be silent when we see something that is going to lead someone to the eternal judgment that will come from Christ. God's love for every individual is without end and our love for them should be the same. It must be our love for others that compels us to speak when we see danger ahead.
Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of every man's sin. What a disservice if we don't tell others they need that forgiveness. We must make judgments! However, that judgment must be for the purpose of reconciliation with God not for the condemnation of the soul.
Don't be silenced by the voice of those who would say "Don't judge me," but instead with the love of God, speak The Word of God and let The Spirit of God do the rest.
Be Blessed, Tom