Thou Shalt Not Judge!

The Parable of the Mote and the Beam, by Domenico Fetti, courtesy of wikipedia.org

Common Claim:  “Hey!  Judge not!  You can’t tell me what’s right or wrong!  Jesus himself said ‘Judge not!'”

AnswerThe spiritually lost usually don’t know much of the bible but they do know those two words from Matthew 7!  Unfortunately, even some self-professing Christians aren’t aware of the full context they were used in.  So, before we go any further on the subject let’s re-visit Matthew 7:

1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (NAS)
Reading the entire passage its obvious it doesn’t say we’re not to judge.  It says if you’re going to judge someone’s bad behavior don’t be doing the same thing you’re pointing out on the sly!  That’s all the passage says.  In fact God’s word calls on us and encourages us to judge, to exercise what is commonly called discernment.  It’s a good thing too otherwise we’d let pedophiles baby sit our kids, and thieves take charge of our finances.  The bible is loaded with calls people to exercise righteous judgment and honesty.

Righteous Judging in the Holy Bible (NAS)

John 7:24: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

Leviticus 19:15: ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial * to the poor nor defer * to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.

Deuteronomy 1:16: “Then I charged your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your fellow countrymen, and judge righteously between a man and his fellow countryman, or the alien who is with him.  17 ‘You shall not show partiality * in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike.

Deuteronomy 16:18: “You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.   19 “You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial *, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. 20 “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

Luke 12:57:  “You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?  57 “And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?

John 7:51:  “Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?”

Zechariah 8:16:  ‘These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.   17 ‘Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,’ declares the LORD.”

You see we are to judge.  We make judgments every day.  You judged it worth your wile to read this post instead of doing something else (I hope you didn’t come away disappointed).  You decide what to wear every day you go to work or school.  From time to time you’ve decided to eat out instead of cooking at home.  We make judgments about what career to pursue, who to work for, where to shop, or whether to go into business on our own or with someone else, or where to buy a home,etc.  So we judge, we discern every day.

When it comes to judging/discerning others or other things or situations Christ wants us to judge righteously no matter if its the rich or the  poor, a black or white person, the young or the old, etc.    We may feel compassion for the disadvantaged but we’re to judge righteously even if it means ruling against them or making ourselves unpopular.  That’s what righteous judging is all about, making a righteous decision even when it hurts.  Besides, what more loving thing can one do that to honestly and respectfully point out a sin someone is committing that will send them to Hell?  So keep on judging (or if you want to call it discerning) but do it within the confines the bible calls for.  Do it righteously, not self-righteously.


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