Judge not! Meaning what?

Let’s dig a little deeper to find out the life principles of this verse.

How can I live without judging?  I judge the quality of food, the reliability of a vehicle, the safety of a neighbourhood at night.  You respond - - don’t be silly – (Matthew 5:1) means people.  Does that mean I’m not to judge/discern right and wrong?  When our government flagrantly flouts God’s commands in Holy Scripture that I am sinfully judging if I declare such laws to be wrong?  If an elderly lady living alone is murdered during a home invasion, must I be careful not to judge the criminal?  If a toddler’s raped by a wicked pervert, should I peacefully withhold any judgmental opinions?  Of course, that would cancel out any sympathy for the dear old lady’s death and crucify any compassion for the trauma and injury to the precious child.  Is this where our foolish misunderstanding is taking us - - to tolerate everything – to accept anything – and to STAND FOR NOTHING???

I heard something that gave me a vivid illustration of the encouragement of evil by the misinterpretation of JUDGE NOT.  A university professor was teaching a class on Hitler’s holocaust when a Jewish girl got up and said – “who are we to judge them”.  I was dumbfounded and judged this unknown young woman for the insanity of her lack of judgment.  This non-judgmental attitude seems to be spreading even among Christians.  Why do Christians in almost any situation, quickly and rarely say – JUDGE NOT – thereby putting an end to any conversation or desire to find out what God meant?  Why do Christians quote just the first 2 words of Matthew 7:1 without any reference to the following verses?  I am told in vs.6 not to give what is holy to dogs and not to cast pearls before swine.  How could I obey that without judging who are dogs and swine?  Is God giving us a double contradictory message?  Let’s dig a little deeper to find out the life principles of these verses.

Is there a quality of judging that is always sinfully wrong and at certain times a quality of judging that is right and necessary?

I am told in Matthew 5 that I will be judged in the same way and degree in which I judge.  That assumes that there will be times that I will judge.  Where should my judgment begin?  Read the next few verses.  WITH MYSELF.  Sin in my own life - - just to name a few possibilities – a critical spirit, self-righteousness, prayerlessness, neglect of God’s Word – self-indulgence and etc.  These will blind me to my own sin and deceive me with the flattering notion that I am a superior person.  It can also build a microscope for me so I can skillfully scrutinize everything that, in my opinion is seen in other people.  Quite a responsibility I have taken on, don’t you think?

Just pretend that I say to you - - - do you know what he did?  If he’s a Christian he sure doesn’t act like it.  I would never do that.  WHAT IS THAT AWFUL SMELL?  The angels are holding their noses!  It’s the nauseating stench of my devilish pride.  Remember this - - God does not judge us for our actions but also for the possibilities He sees within us, of which we can be self-righteously and blissfully unaware.

Picture another scene.  I’m in a Bible Study and in this particular group it just happens that I have more Bible knowledge than any of them.  Will I ask the Holy spirit to enable me to share the wonder of Scripture in love and humility or will I preen as I try to impress them with my knowledge making them feel inferior as I judge them so to be?  The angels are holding their noses again.

Let’s change the picture.  Jesus knew (John 12:6) that Judas was a thief and that (John 6:64) he would betray Him.  How come (John 13:29) the disciples didn’t know?  Because Jesus never told them.  Is that significant for us?  Definitely!  Never gossip about another believer’s sin and unless you have a trusted prayer-partner, never tell anyone.  Your immediate responsibility is to pray and to let God lead you if He wants you to do more.  If a brother be overtaken in a fault (Galatians 6:1) you who are spiritual restore such a one – not judge – not criticize – restore.  I suggest you read (Romans 2:1-6) as I did.  As I meditate on the Scripture, I see a dangerous landmine, that judging can be a close relative of pride.  Let’s remember that nobody except God knows everything about anybody.  We can foolishly judge on the basis of ignorance.  Just because another Christian has different ideas (Romans 14:5-6) it doesn’t mean that he is wrong or that you are wrong.  It’s always the motive that counts with the Lord.

Now let’s look at a couple of cases where an element of judging is necessary.  Paul admonishes the church (1 Corinthians 5:1-5 ) because they are tolerating fornication among them, even a man having sex with his step-mother.  Even though he is not there, Paul says he has already judged the situation.  But we can’t stop there – we must go quickly to his follow-up instructions. (2 Corinthians 2:6-8) forgive, comfort, support him.  The goal is always loving restoration – never to tear down but always to build up and support by prayer, encouragement and meeting needs.

I find another example when Paul listed the qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13) for persons selected for positions on the church staff.  As they prayed and interviewed the prospects, wouldn’t they have to judge who had or didn’t have the required qualifications?  Yes, but not to condemn anyone but to protect the Body of Christ.

From all this I see more clearly than ever the danger of sin in myself as I pray that loving concern will always replace a critical spirit. It is vital to encourage one another in the family of God.  The Holy Spirit commands us through John (1 John 2:10) to love one another and reminds us again (1 Peter 4:8) to love our brother with the quality of love that forgives and covers a multitude of sins.

Just hours before His anguish in those dark hours in Gethsemane, before the agony at Calvary, Jesus said (John 15:12) this is my commandment that you love one another AS I HAVE LOVED YOU!  How did Jesus treat the sinful?  Why is it so important to love one another?  Because it’s part of our witness to Jesus (John 13:34-35) by this everyone will know that you are My disciples.

Can you see how careful we must be in our judgment calls?  If we are led after much prayer to confront a sinning fellow Christian, it must be with love to restore him and the goal to see God glorified in that person’s life.

I need to remember the priceless value of each and every Christian because of the staggering cost that was paid for their redemption.  Billions of years ago, God the Father gave each individual believer as a love gift (John 17:11, John 17:24; John 6:37) to Jesus, before Jesus existed.

About 1000 years B.C., David wrote (Psalms 110:1) the Lord said unto my Lord.  Jesus used this as a riddle (Matthew 22:42-46) when talking to the religious leaders who thought they knew everything.  Jesus asked them - - if David calls Him Lord how can He be His son?  They couldn`t answer but how privileged we are to have a personal relationship with King David`s Lord, the Son of God Who began the first century A.D. as Baby in Bethlehem - - David`s Lord became David`s Son and our Saviour.  As we exult in God`s Presence and His Word, as we love, trust and obey Him, we will be guided to make judgments wisely with no wounding.  Our desire will be that every believer we know will realize our rich inheritance in Christ Jesus.

Why will I be judged exactly as I judge?  How do I judge – quick – critical – harsh – wounding – or prayerfully concerned.  Every hypocrisy or whatever sin I see in others, God sees the possibility of those very same sins in my heart.  According to how I judge others, I myself set the terms of the ways, attitudes and degree for how I myself will be judged.

Makes you think, doesn`t it?

Jesus does not ask all of us to die for Him but He does ask us (Matthew 16:24-25, John 12:25) to lay down our lives for Him.

SERIOUS WARNING - - Of course we must judge, avoid and condemn all preaching of another gospel or a perverted gospel (Galatians 1:7-9) such teachers and preachers are already under a curse.  Let us always and steadfastly stand for TRUTH.


Maybe to get my head straight I should substitute the word analyze for the word judge.  I need to analyze everything in the light of scripture and then make my judgment accordingly but never leave out love.

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