Judge Or Judge Not?
Either approach can be correct, depending on the situation and circumstances. There is a time to judge and a time not to. A large number of professing Christians misuse, misunderstand, and abuse this spiritual concept. The following is the key scripture concerning this doctrine:
7 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.
Many naïve people have made this scripture passage universal, and apply it to everything, and to many things for which it was not ever intended. For instance, one can easily observe that the passage is not “one size fits all,” by reading the very next verse! Matthew 7:6 reads as follows:
Viewing the King James Version. Click to switch to 1611 King James Version of Matthew 7:6.
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
In order to follow the directives of this verse, I must make a judgment on what a swine or a dog is. Obviously dogs and swine are immoral and ungodly people who detest the Lord and His holy attributes.
Well, what does this passage mean? We judge people when we make value judgments on them and “play God,” as if we know what is best for them. Examples are legion and the following are a small cross section of them: You should be a missionary. A preacher should not be driving that kind of a car. He is well off financially and should tithe more. She spends too much time pursuing leisure. He is too hard on his children. She is unemployed because she really does not want to work. He is too introverted to be a pastor. There is no end to these kinds of broad brush statements and conclusions that we make about people. I thought a Lincoln Continental was not a car that a preacher should be driving. Of course, I had a pastor in mind as I thought on this. I learned later on, however, that the one who owned such a vehicle received it as a gift for his ministry. The car was not a “god” to the minister nor a status symbol, for he often used it in order to drive people around. Ouch! I had erroneous conclusions and motives in mind, and have been mistaken time and time again. If I do not learn from my blunders, then the Bible reminds me that the Lord will judge me in accordance with how I judge others.
When do we judge? When is it Biblical. Believers are actually admonished by the Lord to judge each other (I Corinthians 6:1-11), but WE are not really judging in these instances, God and His Word are the standard of judgment. If you see your pastor exiting a tavern in a drunken state, should you look the other way so as not to judge? No way! Any Christian should never allow themselves to be in a drunken state, and a bishop (pastor) is forbidden to imbibe in any alcoholic beverages whatsoever (I Timothy 3:3). If a believer is living in sexual sin, be it adultery, fornication or sodomy, he/she is to be disciplined in the order of Matthew 18. Likewise, one given to slanderous language or a talebearer is to be confronted as well.
The overall premier truth here is to leave value judgments to the Lord, and to allow the Word of God to judge the body of Christ within the Christian Church. We are to know God’s Word and His truth and apply it to one another. This way, God is doing the judging, not you and me.
In Christ, Pastor Steve