To Judge Or Not To Judge


Scripture tells us, “Judge not that you be not judged” Matthew 7:1). The context in Matthew tells us that we will be judged by the same judgment with which we judge. We are to take the plank out of our own eye before we try to take the speck out of our neighbor’s. This passage in its context was spen to those who self-righteously sat in judgment of others. That context must be remembered so that we do not fall into false interpretation.

This is a favorite passage of those who not knowing the context, or having forgot it, suggest that we should not sit in judgment of another’s action or teaching.

We are not to judge hearts or motives. That is God’s work. And we certainly are not to sit in judgment of anyone with an air of superiority. But we are to make judgments!

We are to judge actions, not by our personal standards, but by the standard of Scripture. If God’s Word calls an action sin, then it is sin. The application of God’s Word to an action is not our judgment but God’s. If we care about the individual, and even society itself, we will lo first after ourselves in this regard, but also be honest to alert the neighbor to and turn him away from a sinful action. If an action is immoral or in any other way contrary to God’s will, we have one of three choices. We can ignore it and thus tacitly approve it. We can approve it. Or we can judge it! Our Lord expects us to do the last. No matter how respectable, how decent, how godly in appearance, Jesus judged the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. He exposed them. In the parable of the unjust steward (Matthew 16) judgment was passed on the one who would not forgive as generously as He had been forgiven. At the same time Jesus spe kindly to those sinners who repented of their sin. He readily forgave them.

The Christian will judge His own actions as well as others by the standard of God’s Word. He will repent of his sins, and seek to lead his neighbor to repentance. He died for them!

Paul says to the Corinthians “Judge ye what I say” ( 10:15). We are to judge that which is taught. Again, this judgment is not to be by the standard of our own subjective opinion, but upon the basis of the Word of God. For one who believes the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) means what it says. Anything contrary to what the Bible says is wrong. We should expect people to judge our teaching, and we have to judge the teaching of others. Jesus own teaching, “Beware of false teachers ” (Matthew 7:15), calls for such judgment of what is being taught.

Lacking the exercise of judgment according to the Word of God would mean that any activity of sinful man is acceptable and any teaching is acceptable. There then would be no order and no truth among us!

Phariseeism, hypocrisy, and an attitude of “anything is acceptable,” are equally sin. (That is a judgment).

Let us learn to be very gentle with those who have sinned in their weakness; let us seek to restore such in a spirit of meekness, as we would want them to do unto us. Let us oppose earnestly all that is contrary to God’s Word in teaching or in life.

Let us be thankful for the sure and certain Word of God from which we are able to distinguish between right and wrong, between truth and error. Above all let us rejoice in Christ who to our sins upon Himself and bore them on the cross of shame, and for His resurrection from the dead whereby we are reconciled unto the Father. It is our judgment based upon the Word and promise of God that He is indeed gracious.