To Judge or Not to Judge

Many people like to quote Jesus, “Judge not!” (Matthew 7)

But what they are really saying is, “Don’t tell me that I’m wrong. I love my sin. Don’t touch my sin. Don’t try to take this away from me. I love it so much.”

They become like animals in their inordinate behavior and their love of it.

Yes, Jesus said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”. But is that meant to be applied in an absolute, and universal sense with no exceptions?

To answer this question we must ask a question: What did Jesus mean when He said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”?

To Greek words translated “judge” in this passage means to “to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose”. It denotes discernment between two or more choices.

Everyone judges every minute of their lives.

You look out the window, and say, “it’s raining”. That is a judging.

You walk down the street and avoid a pothole. That is judging.

You tell someone you like their hairdo. That is judging.

You avoid the walks when you walk. That is judging.

You call me Caucasian? You are judging me!

Yes, Jesus said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”. But what did He mean?

If we read the following verses from that passage it becomes clear that Jesus is talking to hypocrites who condemn people for doing what they do. Therefore, Jesus’ infamous “Judge not” teaching makes total sense.

In other words, if you are a murderer, don’t condemn other people for murder because you are judging yourself. The measure you use will be measured back to you.

But did Jesus mean that we should never judge people, in an absolute and universal sense?

In John 7, Jesus commanded us to judge with righteous judgement. In other words, Jesus said, judge right! He did not command us not to judge at all.

In fact, he commanded his disciples to beware of, and reject the teachings of false prophets. How can we do that if we never judge anyone as being a false prophet?

Likewise, Jesus rebuked His church for accepting the false teachings of the Nicolaitans. Jesus was upset that His church didn’t judge the Nicolaitans as being heretics.

How can the church reject the heresies of the Nicolaitans if everyone is afraid to judge them? You must judge them as being heretics in order to fulfil the wishes of our Lord.

We can draw a long list of rebukes from the first few chapters of Revelation. Jesus is obviously upset with His people who accept immorality and falsity into their lives.

How can we discern the immoral and false teachings if we do not judge?

In Romans 14 Paul tells us that we shouldn’t judge our Christian brothers for trivial matters such as being a vegetarian. But in that same chapter he commands us to judge the Christians brothers who do things that would cause others to stumble.

So then, what is the basis of the “judge not” movement?

Nothing but sin.

Jesus never said that we shouldn’t point out those who sin, or commit immorality, or teach falsely. In fact, He was angry that His church failed to do so.

In conclusion, Jesus gave us guidelines regarding judging:

  • Do not condemn others for doing the same things you are doing.
  • Judge correctly (righteously).

Nowhere did Jesus tell us not to judge. In fact, Jesus commanded us to judge.

Therefore, do not be afraid to judge. Rather, be afraid of Him who will get angry with you if you fail to judge correctly.

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