JUDGE NOT PART 7

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 for 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.

Let’s look at a fifth and final instance when judging is inappropriate and is an act of disobedience to God.

IT’S WRONG FOR US TO JUDGE CONDEMNINGLY

Jesus’ prohibition against judging means DO NOT JUDGE CONDEMNINGLY. A critical, judgmental person is a condemning person. He finds what’s wrong with people. He judges them. Then he condemns them. If it’s within his power, he punishes them. A CRITIC ISN’T INTERESTED IN LIFE, PARDON, FORGIVENESS, OR SECOND CHANCES. HE’S INTERESTED ONLY IN SEEING A PERSON PAY AND SUFFER FOR HIS WRONGS. He seeks to damn and exclude people from Heaven. He alienates people from God and the hope of Heaven and life by consigning them to a life and a future of punishment and damnation.

Look again at Luke 6:37, Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned. Brethren, it’s not our liberty, right, or prerogative to condemn. Look at James 4:12, There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? It’s not our place to condemn anyone. Or to damn them.

Romans 14:4 asks us an interesting question, Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. When we judge one another we’re judging another man’s servant. That man’s name is God. Our brothers and sisters belong to God. God is their Master. And WE’VE GOT NO GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO CONDEMN OUR BRETHREN BECAUSE THEY DON’T BELONG TO US. They belong to God and they answer to God, not us. God will deal with them. But, in the mean time, He’s dealing with us. And He’s saying, How dare you presume to act like Me and be the Judge when you’re no judge! Since when did I make you the judge?

When you read Romans 14 you’ll see that there was a conflict in the Roman church. There were two groups of Christians in the church. One group ate meat; the other was vegan. One group celebrated the holidays; the other didn’t. So you had two different groups with two very different, opposing, contradictory beliefs and lifestyles. And the one group would naturally think that the other group was wrong and going to Hell. That’s what the judging was all about. Each group was saying to the other, you’re wrong and you’re damned. You’re going to Hell because you don’t believe and practice what I believe and practice.

But look closely at the last part of Romans 14:4, Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. The person who’s wrong, the person who doesn’t believe and practice what we believe and practice, the person who a critic condemns and damns; look at what God does with this person. God holds him up and makes him stand! GOD, BRETHREN, KNOWS HOW TO DEAL WITH HIS PEOPLE AND MAKE THEM STAND!

The interesting thing about this is a critic’s solution to a problem is to get rid of the person who has the problem. You get rid of him by damning him, making him feel like dirt, making him think God doesn’t love him, forgive him, or want him. You get rid of him by alienating and ostracizing him.

But God doesn’t do this! INSTEAD OF GETTING RID OF THE PERSON WITH THE PROBLEM, GOD WORKS WITH THE PERSON AND GETS RID OF THE PROBLEM INSTEAD! How cool is that?

Look at verse 13, Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. We can spend our time judging, criticizing, and condemning one another. But God doesn’t want us to do this. He doesn’t want us spending our time knocking people down and trashing them. He doesn’t want us to make our brethren stumble or fall.

Yes, people are wrong. Every one of us are wrong at some time or another. We’ve all got our problems. But God isn’t damning or condemning us. He’ll do it as a last resort if we don’t get it right. But all the time that we’re wrong and missing it and messing up, God’s trying to bring us to repentance and help us get over our problems. He’s working with us because He wants to give us life and spend eternity with us.

And that’s what we got to do with one another. We can’t knock each other and throw one another down. We can’t condemn and damn each other. We’ve got to have the heart of God and reach out to one another and do what we can to help and lift each other up. We need to each one another the hope of change.

God, brethren, hasn’t given us the office and duty of judging as far as damning and condemning people is concerned. The ministry He’s given us is the exact opposite. Instead of knocking people down and driving them away from God, mercy, forgiveness, Heaven, and life; God wants us to bring them closer to God, mercy, forgiveness, Heaven, and life.

Look at 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (18)  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  (19)  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  (20)  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

The world was guilty and wrong. The world deserved to be damned. But Jesus came to give all of us the hope of forgiveness and life. He came to save, not to damn. THIS MUST BE OUR MISSION AND MINDSET.

AS LONG AS WE’RE CRITICS WE CAN’T BE SERVANTS AND MINISTERS TO PEOPLE. WE CAN’T HELP THEM. We can’t draw them to Christ. The exact opposite is true: critics drive people farther away from Christ. Condemnation crushes their spirit and gives them no hope of being loved, forgiven, and wanted by Christ.

Brethren, let’s leave judgment to the only Person who’s the Judge; the only Person who’s qualified to be the Judge. Get rid of the judgmental, critical mindset and tongue. Ask God to give you a heart of love for people. Ask Him to give you a different set of eyes so that you can look at people through eyes of love. He so much wants to do this for you! He’s waiting in the operating room. Won’t you come and let Him heal you and change you? You’ll be an entirely different person when love is in your heart! God bless you!

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