Here are some reflections to consider regarding judging. Would be interesting to hear some thoughts before I give mine…
Many believers have heard they are never to judge another person, which is usually based on Matthew 7:1. Included in this admonition are Jesus’ words, “Ye who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7). When believers are quoted the Scripture it is usually a power play by the one quoting it to silence the hearer, and usually the believer does not have a comeback. This study is designed to delve a little further into the issue of judging. First the Scripture that will be examined… with a few highlights for meditation purposes.
Mt 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see 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,’ when there is the log 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.
Lk 12:57 And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison.
Jn 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
Jn 8:15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.
Before going further, it is essential that the term/word “judge” be examined. The reason is that words don’t just have meanings… more importantly they have USAGES. It is how a word is USED that applies a definition to it. For example…
Take the word “bank.” If I asked you to define it you would reply, “Use it in a sentence.” Then I could say any of the following: “You can BANK on me,” or “The plane made a sharp BANK turn,” or “We sat on the river BANK,” or “Let me cash this check at the BANK.” Same word… same spelling… four different USAGES.
Likewise it is most important to understand how the word we translate “judge” or “judgement” is used. With that being the case, read the previous Biblical texts and consider if the meaning is more clearly defined or not depending on how it is used IN CONTEXT (Especially Mt 7:1-5).
Now, here are a few more texts to consider…
Ro 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who do such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
Ro 14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Ro 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
1 Cor 2:15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Cor 4:3 With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
1 Cor 5:12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
Ja 4:11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
After taking ALL these texts into consideration, what conclusion do we come to? We are to judge… at times? We are NEVER to judge? We are to judge rightly? Some things we are to judge and others we aren’t… and what is the difference?
THOSE questions are the ones I’m asking us to work through…