Is Judging Biblical? The answe may surprise you.

Posted: May 14, 2014 in Thoughts on God
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judgeIn a day and age of tolerance, there is pressure to turn a blind eye to evil deeds. Greater still, there is a pull from society to not even call evil “evil” or good “good.” Some will even rebuke Christians who do point out evil on the grounds that the Bible says that we shouldn’t judge. We are told to stop judging people and to be more accepting. Society thus wants us to stop differentiating right from wrong and acceptable from unacceptable. They would have us remove all standards of discernment, and they refuse to recognize that Christ will judge them once and for all after they die. Judgment is a reality of the way the world has been designed. We cannot escape from it, and as Christians we have a calling to exercise righteous judgment.

Matthew 7:1 says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” Jesus here is not forbidding judgment of any kind. His point is to show that some people judge from a self-righteous, condemning, and hypocritical stance. They point out slivers in the eyes of others not because they care but because they get some cheap thrill from faultfinding as if it makes them feel better about themselves. Some are so self-righteous that they are even blind to their own hypocrisy, being unable to see the log in their own eyes. Jesus is condemning self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and an inability to judge ourselves rightly, which we must do (1 Corinthians 11:29). In no way does Matthew 7:1 forbid discernment. In fact, later in Matthew 7 Christ explains that we can discern true believers from false teachers based upon their fruit. Christ’s intention is not to forbid judgment that evaluates between right and wrong, moral and immoral. What Jesus is saying is not to usurp the place of God, Who alone can cast into hell (Luke 12:5).

God sees all, and He will judge sin righteously. Our job is to let God be God and to love and share the gospel with those whom we have discerned through righteous judgment to not be acting righteously. This is the point of John 7:24 which says, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Righteous judgment sees sin for what it is, and it is not afraid to point it out. But this judgment becomes unrighteous when it stems from “holier-than-thou” motives or when it seeks to condemn rather than to restore. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.”  Righteous judgment recognizes that some people are spiritual and some are not, being carnal and mired in sin. If someone who is spiritual finds a brother or sister in sin, they are to restore them in a spirit of gentleness. Clearly this requires discernment and an understanding of right and wrong. Yet it need not cross into unrighteous condemning judgment. A spirit of gentleness and being intentional about seeking restoration are essential to righteous judgment. When we see a fellow Christian sin, we need to confront the sin (after we have dealt with our own hearts) but humbly, graciously, and with an understanding that we are not above the potential to do the very same thing.

Unrighteous, self-righteous judgment is ugly and repulsive to a world desperately in need of Christ. If Christ judged as these folks judge, He would have never come to earth and died for us. But He loved us even while we were yet sinners and died for us (Romans 5:8). The mentality and focus of the Christian ought to be to save sinners and restore believers, not to judge and condemn, though we definitely need to exercise discernment. When Christianity deteriorates into keeping records of wrongs and looking over one another’s shoulders in suspicion and even with a hope of catching another in sin, we have fallen far from Christ’s call.

In a day and age where judgment has been itself condemned, we need to judge righteously. There is a shortage of discernment in a time that demands an abundance. For the sake of the lost, for our brothers and sisters struggling with sin, for our own spiritual well-being, and for the glory of Christ, let us judge righteously and love unconditionally.

If the Bible is clear about anything, it is clear about the importance of judging on a regular basis in order to properly serve and honor God. To ignore this fact is to ignore all of the Scripture just presented and also the rest of the Bible. God expects us to judge.

God’s Rules for Judging

Now I do not wish to imply that we should spend all of our time judging. Sometimes people judge when they have no business doing so. In John 7:24 Jesus tells us to judge RIGHTEOUS judgment. This can only be done by following the rules that God has established in His word. Here follow seven good rules from Scripture:

Judge Scripturally

Isaiah 8:20 says, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Our standard is God’s word, not our feelings, our traditions, or our opinions. Right and wrong should always be determined by God’s word.

Don’t Judge When God’s Word Is Silent

If God’s word is silent about a subject, then you may not have to judge at all. Don’t rush to judgment on an issue when the Bible says very little or is silent about it. Don’t make more of a matter than God makes of it. A good example of this is found in Colossians 2:16: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:” That is, these are not subjects of great importance today, so let’s not make these great issues of judgment.

Pray for Good Judgement Ability

When Solomon received his kingdom he asked God to “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (I Kings 3:9) James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” We should pray for good judgment ability.

Don’t Respect Persons

Proverbs 24:23 says, “These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.” Treat all parties fairly without favoring anyone, such as family members or friends. A truly fair judge is blind and deaf to any outer influence. (Isa. 42:1, 19-21)

Judge in Truth

Do not judge another when you do not have all the relevant facts. Jeremiah 5:1 says, “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.” A true judge is one who seeks the truth. If you must judge, be sure and get all the facts. A Japanese proverb says to “search seven times before you judge.”

Judge Mercifully

Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:2: “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” You’ll reap what you sow (Gal. 6:7-8). If you are swift and harsh in judging others, then God will see to it that you receive the same from others. Has God not been very merciful to you, even though you deserved it not? Likewise, you should exercise mercy toward others.

Don’t Forget to Judge Yourself

I Corinthians 11:30-31: “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” If you are a true Christian, then you belong to God. You are God’s child. If you refuse to judge and improve yourself as a child of God, then God will take it upon Himself to judge you. Many of the troubles that we face in life are nothing more than God’s way of judging us since we often neglect to judge ourselves.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if every Christian actually took time to judge themselves before judging anyone else? In Matthew 7:4-5, Jesus says, ” 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? 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.” A good judge will not fail to judge himself.

 

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