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!

JUDGE NOT PART 3

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.

In my last blog post in this series we saw that there are times when it isn’t wrong for us to judge one another. This said, the prohibition against judging in Matthew 7:1 tells us that there are times when it is indeed wrong for us to judge others. Let’s look at one of these times when judging is inappropriate and is an act of disobedience to God.

IT’S WRONG FOR US TO JUDGE UNRIGHTEOUSLY OR UNFAIRLY

Jesus commanded us in John 7:24, Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Jesus plainly tells us here that THE PROHIBITION AGAINST JUDGING IS NOT A PROHIBITION AGAINST JUDGING PERIOD, BUT A PROHIBITION AGAINST JUDGING A PERSON OUTWARDLY.

Now the word appearance  means what you can see outwardly, what you see with your eyes, what’s visible and seen to the naked eye. When you look at a person based on their stature or body size, their skin color, their clothes, their looks, their tats and piercings, their facial expressions or body language; when you make conclusions about them based on what you see or observe about them, you’re making a judgment, you’re passing judgment based on appearance, and this is the kind of judgment that God forbids.

What does it mean to judge outwardly or by appearance? It means that you’re judging by the facts and evidence that you have; you’re judging what you’ve seen or what others told you they saw. Your judgment is based strictly and entirely on what you heard and saw or on what the eyewitnesses told you they heard and saw.

But the thing that Jesus wants so desperately to warn us about is APPEARANCES CAN BE MISLEADING AND DECEIVING. THEY CAN FOOL YOU. The facts or the evidence, the hard cold proof, are true. They’re real. The gun in the guy’s hand, the sister walking out of the bar, the pastor seen with a hooker on Hooker Street; are all real. They’re true. BUT THE CONCLUSIONS THAT YOU DRAW BASED ON WHAT YOU SAW CAN BE MISLEADING. YOUR THINKING OR JUDGMENT BASED ON WHAT YOU HEARD CAN BE FALSE AND WRONG.

  • The guy with the gun in his hand picked it up after the real murderer ran past him and dropped it. And he dropped it just so that the innocent bystander will pick it up and people will think he was the murderer.
  • The sister who walked out of the bar went in there to call her husband and tell him the car broke down. The choice of using the bar’s telephone to make the call can be questioned. But if it was the closest business to the car, if it was the “safest” place for her to be in and not as dangerous as on the street, then that was her call. But the fact is, yes, she was in the bar. But your conclusion and accusation that she’s a drinker, she’s been drinking, she’s a drunk, is plainly wrong. What you saw was true. What you thought or decided wasn’t. The facts are true. The judgments or interpretations of the fact are what can be wrong.
  • The same thing can be said about the pastor with the hooker. In our day and age, yes, it’s possible that the pastor was playing spiritual hooky with the hooker. But, it’s just as possible he was witnessing to her. He wasn’t out looking for sex: he was looking for lost sheep. So before you pass judgment on what you saw, you’ve got to get the facts straight and get the whole truth.

WHEN YOU’RE JUDGING BY APPEARANCES YOU’RE JUDGING WITHOUT HAVING ALL THE FACTS. You’re not hearing both sides of the story. You’re not giving the accused or the defendant the chance to speak for herself; you’re judging the brother and condemning him without giving him an opportunity to explain or defend himself.

THERE’S A REASON OR EXPLANATION FOR EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS, FOR EVERYTHING A PERSON DOES. You saw what happened; you saw what she did; you heard what she said. And what you saw and heard was real and true. But what you don’t know is why she did that or said that. There are other factors, reasons, or motivations involved that you don’t know about and these are the details, facts, or necessary pieces of information that you need in order to judge righteous judgment.

APPEARANCES CAN FOOL YOU. THEY CAN LOOK RIGHT, UNMISTAKABLE, AND TRUE TO YOU. THE FACTS MAY BE TRUE, BUT IT’S YOUR CONCLUSIONS OR JUDGMENTS THAT MAY NOT BEJudgment based on appearances is bound to be wrong and that’s why God doesn’t want you to judge like that. If you’re going to judge, then judge righteously or not at all.

How do you judge righteously? TO JUDGE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE ALL THE FACTS, NOT JUST SOME OF THE FACTS. We often make the mistake of thinking we have all the facts. We hear one side of the story and we think we know it all, we have it all. But a part of the story is just that—a part. It’s never the whole story. Unless you talk to the actual person involved, you don’t have all the facts. And NOT HAVING ALL THE FACTS IS WHAT DISQUALIFIES YOU FROM JUDGING. IT’S WHAT PREVENTS YOU FROM JUDGING RIGHTEOUSLY. And this is the kind of judgment that God forbids.

Coming up in my next blog post in this series, a second kind of judging that God doesn’t want us to do. It’s a real eye-opener. So if you want to see clearly, drop on by and let the Master Ophthalmologist fix you right up.