To Judge or Not to Judge?
Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
One of the most quoted and abused verses in the Bible is “Judge not.” When we are in disagreement with someone, or someone is in disagreement with us, this verse is quickly and defensively hurled out. It is often used as an attempt to excuse someone’s wrong behavior and/or lifestyle.
I always find it humorous when a Christian is called hateful ugly names all the while being told that we "shouldn't be judgmental."
Now before I go on, I do understand there are instances in which Christians are judgmental in the wrong way. I have seen this numerous times and to my shame been guilty of this also. We should not judge wrongly. We should not “assume” but we should get the facts. Even then, we may be best to keep our mouths closed!
There are instances in the Bible where we are told not to judge but there are also instances where the Bible speaks of judging in a positive sense.
The Definition of judgement or judgmental does not have a single definition. There are two main meanings which are defined as followed:
1. Of, relating to, or involving judgment. To consider a matter carefully and factually before drawing a conclusion.
2. A conclusion characterized by a tendency to judge harshly and unfairly, often without knowledge of some or all of the facts and/or circumstances.
When Jesus said in Matthew 7 that we are not to judge, He is not talking about the first definition, "using judgement." He is talking about critical, unjust, unfair judgement: judging without knowing the circumstance and situation. The second definition of judgement is wrong. We should stop it, right now!
The first definition is dealing with utilizing good judgement. It has the idea if discernment and in some cases “common sense.” The Bible list some verses in a positive context concerning this type of judgement:
The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. (Psalm 37:30)
1 Corinthians 1:10 says to ". . . be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." Why would Paul make such a statement if judging is wrong?
In I Corinthians 2:15 Paul says, "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man." Judging, as by way of the first definition given above, is not a sin. Judging is actually a characteristic of being a spiritually minded.
The people of our day are accurately described in Isaiah 59:8: "The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace." People have refused to judge, so there is no peace. A life lived in contrary to the Bible and the Godly principles contained within does not bring peace. People have refused to use discernment.
Some say that it is only up to God to judge. If you really had a grasp and any inkling of an understanding of that fact, you would change your actions and attitude pretty quick. Who cares what I think; the fact that God is THE Judge and that you will stand in front of Him one day should shake you and wake you!
As a Pastor I am only attempting to shine light on the scriptures. It is not my message. It is the Lord’s word. The Bible is not man’s guidelines, it is God’s. Often times though, the messenger is “shot” while the real problem is the person simply does not like the “message.” Then we say "don't judge me!"
Who we should judge more than anyone:
There is one person we should constantly and consistently judge: ourselves. We need to assess our walk with God. This is why Jesus said to remove the “beam” from our eye before we concern ourselves with the “mote” (speck) in our brother’s eye. Notice also when we read Matthew 7 in context, Jesus never said to not deal with the “mote” in our brother’s eye. He said to take care of our “beam” first. To do otherwise is hypocritical.
Do we sometimes wrongly judge? You bet. Without a doubt.
Should we use correct, Godly, scripturally sound judgement and discernment? Certainly.
If you truly believe that we should never judge anyone under any circumstance, let me paint some extreme pictures:
If someone breaks into your house, do not attempt to protect yourself or your family. He may not murder you. He may just be hungry. Even if he has a gun, it could be fake or just a pellet gun. Do not judge.
If a clown comes out of the woods and ask to see your child, send him on into the woods with the clown. Who are you to judge?
If someone comes into your church automatically wanting to work with children and they are extra “touchy” with the young people, go ahead and let them teach Children’s church. Do not judge.
If you are walking alone down a street and someone is so close behind you that you hear them breathing, do not judge. Maybe they just like your perfume or cologne? Do not judge.
These are very extreme examples I know. However, I am trying to get you to realize we do judge, and we should in some cases.
There is a time and a place to use judgement and discernment.