JUDGE NOT PART 1

INTRODUCTION

Jesus admonished us in Matthew 7:1, Judge not, that ye be not judged.  This is one of the most recited verses in all of Scripture. Yet it’s one of the most misunderstood, misapplied, and abused. The verse is most-commonly evoked in cases of sin, doctrinal error, or morality. And it is thus quoted to authoritatively and unequivocally declare that Christians have no right to judge others—including other Christians—who are involved in sin or error. It is perhaps a well-intentioned plea for Christians to just shut up, leave people alone, and let God do the judging.

I am not an advocate of judgmentalism. I detest that spirit and the aura of self-righteousness that goes with it when I see it manifest in Christians.

Christ prohibits us from judging other people and I believe we all need to give heed to our Lord and quit judging people. Let God do the judging and let us do the praying. We serve the cause of Christ best by befriending people and extending a helping hand instead of cutting them down and making them feel like dirt. The Word of God that we share in kindness and love, and the Spirit of Christ that we manifest with all meekness and gentleness, will minister conviction, life, and the hope of change. Judging them will not.

What I am against, however, is the thoughtless or flagrant use of Matthew 7:1 that produces a silence about sin where there ought to be none; and the use of our Lord’s prohibition to foster the accommodation, tolerance, and acceptance of sin among God’s people. Sin’s killing us. And our silence has resulted in a tragic and lamentable lowering of the righteous morality that Christ wants His followers to have.

What I’d like to do in these blog posts is provide balance to the prohibition by bringing out the whole counsel of Scripture.

NOT AN ABSOLUTE PROHIBITION

Jesus told us here in Matthew 7:1 not to judge others. His words are clear enough so that we’re not confused or misguided about what He means here. Don’t judge means don’t judge.

 But the fact of the matter is, CHRISTIANS CAN, WILL, AND ARE EVEN COMMANDED BY CHRIST, TO JUDGE!

Jesus commanded us in John 7:24, Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. This is the same Jesus telling us to judge righteous judgment who told us in Matthew 7:1 not to judge. He used the exact same word judge in both verses (Greek krinō), so we know He’s talking about the same thing. On the one hand He told us not to judge. Then on the other hand He told us to go ahead and judge, but judge righteously.

So is Jesus being contradictory here? It appears that way at first sight. But when you read the rest of Scripture and put the whole counsel of Scripture together I think you’ll see quite readily that Jesus isn’t being contradictory at all.

While Matthew 7:1 is very clear about Christians not judging other people, John 7:24 is equally very clear about Christians being able to judge people, albeit judge righteously.

So what we see here is THE PROHIBITION AGAINST JUDGING IS NOT AN ABSOLUTE PROHIBITION. JESUS DIDN’T MEAN THAT WE CAN’T EVER JUDGE. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN CHRISTIANS ARE SUPPOSED TO, EVEN COMMANDED TO, JUDGE. Which is to say, there are times when it’s not wrong for us to judge.

So when it is alright for us to judge? Coming up on my next blog post on JUDGE NOT PART 2, I look at the times or situations where our Lord allows and commands us to judge people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: