“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Mattthew 7:1)
This is a favorite passage of Scripture used by unbelievers and carnal children of God alike to justify sins and rebuke anyone they feel is being intolerant. Why it is even used by folks who seldom, if ever, pick up the Bible to study it. Yet, does this verse end all judgement? For understanding Scripture we have to know what is being said, and to do that we have to look at the context and also compare scripture with other scripture. In other words, we can't just divorce this text from the context and use it to slap someone who disagrees with you. Notice for instance the rest of the chapter:
“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. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:6-15)
Note well, in this same sermon, in fact, Jesus said, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine”; and, “beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing” Obedience to such commandments obviously requires one to make a judgment as to whether certain unbelievers should be regarded as “dogs” or “swine,” to whom it would be counterproductive to try to speak of spiritual matters, or whether certain professing Christian leaders are actually false prophets who should be repudiated.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-17)
Indeed how can we know the tree unless we make a judement call. If I go out back of my house and look at the apple tree this summer as it bears fruit this summer and I call it for what it is, then someone can't say to me “thats being judgmental.” But really I am, based on the fruit.
Going then, back to our text and the warning itself, Jesus is not telling us not to judge at all, but rather warning against superficial self righteous judgement.
“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48)
”And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20:12)
The Word of God will be used in the final judgment, so we should use it to judge correctly.
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)
If judgment is made upon any other basis, other than the Word of God, it is a violation of Matt. 7: 1. Webster's Dictionary says that a judge is "one who declares the law. " The faithful Christian must discern or judge on the basis of God's inspired law, the Bible.
A fornicator is described in I Cor. 5:1-13. Paul "judged" (v.3) the man even though he was absent, and he told the Church at Corinth that they were to "judge" (v. 12) those that were within. All of this judgment was according to the Word of God.
SOME THINGS TO REMEMBER:
Our standard is God's word! All feelings, traditions, opinions, emotions, commentaries, sermons, church business, etc must submit to the authority of God's Word! Right and wrong should always be determined by God's word.
“Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:3-4)
Some things God's Word is silent on and are matters of Christian liberty. It is wrong to judge on these matters!
“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (I Corinthians 2:15)
Judging is not a sin; judging is a characteristic of being a spiritual person! Satan has been lying to us, hoping that we will NOT judge, because he knows that the right kind of judgment PLEASES God and betters our lives and Christian service.
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)
We should pray for good judgment ability. We cannot do it alone! We need the Lord’s help!
“These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.” (Proverbs 24:23)
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.
“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.” (Jeremiah 5:1)
We must not judge another when you do not have all the relevant facts. A true judge is one who seeks the truth. If you must judge, be sure and get all the facts. Far too often we are quick to pass judgement. In this “information age” we need to be sure that all the information we have is correct. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and whatever other social media may be out there doesn’t always have the full story.
“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:2)
We must judge mercifully. If we are swift and harsh in judging others, then God will see to it that we receive the same from others. Has God not been very merciful to us, even though we deserved it not? Likewise, we should exercise mercy toward others.
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