Judge Not?

'Judge not!' The cry is heard whenever one person dares to criticize another, particularly where moral principles are concerned. Do we really despise judgment so much? Do we despise the judgment that is handed down, by the court, on the serial killer or the child molester? Should the justice system let everyone off because we think that people should not judge?

Judge not! But we all do it, all of the time. We evaluate others freely and that based on our own preferences! Why don't we simply admit that what we are saying is 'judge me not', or, 'judge what I practice not', or 'judge what I think is right not?' Why don't we admit that what we are saying is 'I want to avoid anything or anyone that might inflict guilt upon my conscience?' It is not that we despise judgment or that we think that the judgment of others might be wrong. It is that we fear being discovered as wrong!

The truly odd thing in all of this is that those who demand an absence of judgment are using the words of Christ, and the Bible, to support their position. Matthew 7:1, judge not that you be not judged. They do not see, or do not want to see, that Matthew 7:1 is only the first verse in a passage that contains 29 verses, 6 of which have specific reference to the topic at hand.

Read it all; “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 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? 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? 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. Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”

Did we see it clearly or are we so locked into being ignoratnt that we don't want to see it? No? Jesus would have us know that any judgment that is of an hypocritical, self righteous nature will lead us to be condemned by God. That's all. One who can hypocritically see the tiny fault in their neighbor, while overlooking the great fault in themselves, one who can self-righteously say to another, let me fix your life, while continuing in a shattered life, such is an hypocrite, a pretender, an evil person. Their judgment is unjust and self-condemning.

This passage does not preclude any and all judgment, as is immediately evidenced in the passage. Read it carefully please; '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.' If we would paraphrase this we might say, you must repent and believe the gospel before you can preach to others, but you may preach to others if you repent and believe. Once you turn from your sin and believe God's word regarding sin then you will see clearly to help another repent and believe. This requires a certain amount of evaluation of others in their sins, in other words, it requires judgment.

That is not all. Jesus says 'Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.' Those who would have us believe that they despise judgment me do not see that we cannot avoid giving what is holy to dogs and casting your pearls before swine if we have no way to judge that a person is unworthy? This passage is not referring to pigs and poodles but to those who are notoriously vile and sinful and who demonstrate persistent contempt for God and His word. How do we know them? By their fruit. How do we know bad fruit? We look at it and we evaluate it according to the standards of fruit. This is nothing more than judgment.

The long and the short of it is this; those who are in Christ can declare that a spade is a spade, but not by their own, subjective standards. If we are to employ scripture, and if we truly care about judgment, we need to take the time to open a Bible to such passages as John 7:24. In that verse the same Jesus who said 'judge not' admonishes His people to judge, not by appearances but with 'right' or 'righteous' judgment.

The simple fact is this, there is a right judgment upon sinners, it is God's and it is universally binding. He gives His people His word and commands them to follow it. He says to His people judge not hypocritically but judge right judgment, judge by my holy and just standards. He grants His people the authority to speak His word clearly and powerfully. If the one who is in Christ non-hypocritically calls a sin a sin, or a sinner a sinner, and that judgment is in agreement with God's absolute word, he, or she, is judging rightly even if society refuses to acknowledge it. Those who will not repent of their sin will discover, on the day that they appear before the judgment seat of Christ, which all people will most certainly do, that the Biblically endorsed judgments of their Christian neighbors is fully approved by God. They will also find that the penalty which the Christian has declared against their unrepentant sin is strictly enforced by the divine hand. That's right, God will personally back the just judgment His people declare and those who are rightly judged will pay the price of their obstinance forever, in Hell!

Judge not? What we need to do is stop mouthing tired, useless, foolish phrases and repent and believe the gospel. Christ died on the cross and was raised from the dead that sinners might be forgiven and justified in God's sight. The judgment of God, in scripture, is there to convict people of their sins that they might repent and believe on Christ as Lord and Savior.