Lucia's Blog: TO JUDGE OR NOT TO JUDGE?
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

TO JUDGE OR NOT TO JUDGE?

“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 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? 4 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? 5 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.  6 “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.”
Matthew 7:1-6



Still half-drunk and still staggering down the street, a filthy excuse of a man sees a primly dressed grandmother looking at him and shaking her head. He says what most sinners have learned to say, “Judge not that ye be not judged!” The aging long-haired hippy still toking his weed says, “Don’t judge me, man!” What aberrant behavior has not been shielded from examination by Jesus’ words? Yet how can we have mercy on the alcoholic and help him while he hides himself in denial? “I don’t have a problem! I’m just fine. Mind your own business!”  What did Jesus really mean by "judging"?

Jesus seems to be giving the sinner an excuse to continue in sin. At the same time, He seems to be rebuking the caring Christian who attempts to enlighten the sinner about his immoral or sinful behavior. The stubborn worldly person often defends himself against the Gospel exhorter by saying that all Christians are hypocrites or that he is not so big a sinner as many of them are. You and I know that Jesus called on all men to repent. He called on His disciples to also relay that message to a world full of sinners. That is called evangelism. Tell them the good news that there is pardon and new life for those who will turn away from their sins. With this in mind, what did Jesus mean by saying, “Judge not…”?  Are we, Christians, not supposed to judge one another?  

Matthew 7:1-6 is one of the most well known, misquoted, and abused Scriptures in the Bible. So, is it right to teach that we Christians should never make any judgment about others? Is that what Jesus implied? Does He want us to keep silent and do nothing and make no judgments when others are doing wrong and walking in rebellion? Must we not rebuke sin? Is it wrong to correct sin? When any follower of Jesus corrects someone and rebukes sin in their life, they quickly get angry and lose self-control. But the Bible commands that we warn others about sin.

So the question is:  How does one judge righteous judgment rather than godless judgment? Should we judge at all?  YES, but we must use good judgment or discernment as taught in Scripture, taking into consideration what the Word of God, the Bible, has to say on all matters. This, of course, requires us to study what Matthew 7:1-5 says in context.

As Christians, we must exercise righteous judgment within the local congregation.  All mature Christians must discern or judge both good and evil. We must discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not.


 I.   HOW TO JUDGE:  (Matthew 7:1-6)
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 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? 4 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? 5 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.  6 “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.” 

Jesus, the meek and lowly, rebuked sin and commanded His disciples to rebuke it as well. We see this clearly throughout the New Testament when they condemned sin with Jesus’ approval. Many think that one cannot rebuke or correct sin unless he has never sinned. But is that correct? No! Why? Because Jesus Himself commanded His disciples to rebuke sin even though they had committed sin, which they had repented of. We have many Scriptures that teach us to judge all things. Obviously, we don’t need to have a sinless life to rebuke sin, for if we fail to do it, we will have sinned because we disobeyed those passages that command us to do it! We must understand that the Bible does not prohibit judging sin but even demands that we do so. Take, for instance, John 7:24.

 "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."


Jesus says that we must judge not according to appearance but with righteous judgment. Clearly, not all judging is wrong. We are commanded to judge with righteous judgment. So let us not violate Jesus' command.

  • “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1
Let us not take this verse out of context.  Isn’t it something how many people use this Scripture when they know so few other Scriptures, but this one they use when a child of God must correct their sinful behavior!  Their favorite response is, “The Bible says to not judge me.” “How dare you question me or suggest that I am wrong?!”  Thus they use Matthew 7:1 as a weapon to teach that zero judgment must be made about others.  But, really, is this what Jesus taught? Did Jesus teach that we must leave one another alone without making any judgments about sin in our lives? What do you think?  Jesus never intended for His words to be misinterpreted. So why not study the Scriptures and discern what they are teaching us about judging others?  Christians are commanded to judge all things (1 Corinthians 2:15).  The following are some Scriptures that speak about judging.
  1. "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside" (1 Corinthians 5:12–13).
  2. "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8).
  3. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).
  4. "But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned"  (Galatians 2:11).
  5. "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother" (Matthew 18:15).
  6. "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment" (John 7:24).
  7. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15–16).
  8. "Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him" (Luke 17:3).
  9. "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them" (Ephesians 5:11).
  10. "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths" (2 Tim. 2-4).
  11. "He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.  10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth"  (Titus 1:9-14).
  12. My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).
  13. "As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear" (1 Tim. 5:20).
  14. "And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all" (1 Thess. 5:14).
  15. "As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him" (Titus 3:10).
  16. "Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you" (Titus 2:15).
  17. "But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned" (Gal. 2:11).
  18. "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted" (Gal. 6:1).
  19. "Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue" (Prov. 28:23).
  20. "Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,”  will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, 25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,  and a good blessing will come upon them" (Prov. 24:24-25).

Clearly, the Scriptures are clear enough about making judgments. In fact, Jesus commands us to judge in Matthew 7:1-6 to determine whether or not a Christian has a speck in his eye.  He in no way implies that we may never make any judgment.  If we want to please the Lord, we must rightly divide the Scriptures to determine just what exactly Jesus does not want us to do.  Why not we read the rest of the paragraph to draw the proper inference or interpretation of this command? 


II.  THE REASON NOT TO JUDGE:  (Matthew 7:2-4)
"For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 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? 4 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?"

When Jesus taught to not judge others because “with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you,” He was not speaking about making right and godly judgments.  Why?  Simply because He was talking about making human, unrighteous, and unreasonable judgments. Jesus’ command was to help us make sound and fair judgments about others.  Since God judges us justly and mercifully, we must do the same with others.  Jesus commands that we judge others justly and mercifully.

Now in verses 3-4,
"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? 4 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?"

We begin to see how Jesus is dealing with the problem of judging. Jesus uses the example of someone who eagerly wants to see and point out everyone else’s faults but is unable to see his own. Jesus is trying to make us see and understand that the person who is unable to see his own faults and shortcomings will not be able to judge others fairly. How about that!  How easy it is to judge others but refuse to judge or examine ourselves by the same measurement!  How easy it is to judge others but refuse to judge ourselves by the same standard! Jesus’ illustration is a hyperbole. When we can see the speck (a splinter of wood or chaff) in the eye of another person, but we are examining their lives in such detail that we fail to see the log (a large beam of wood) in our own eye, Jesus wants us to know that is outrageous! How convenient it is to notice the splinter in the other person’s eye but not be aware of the log protruding from our own eye! What hypocrisy!

How can it be easier to see the speck in someone else’s eye than to see a beam such as is used in building the roof of a house or to bar the door against the dangers of the night?  We have eagle eyes when it comes to the faults of our neighbors, and miss not the slightest detail. Why do we do that? 

Let’s consider how this happens.  How do we manage to miss the glaring faults that honest people all around us can easily see? The reason is that we fail to examine ourselves and take a good look at ourselves in the mirror of Jesus Christ. We are so focused on looking at the faults, flaws, failures, problems, and issues of others that we fail to see our own enormous failures and the glaring shortcomings in our own lives.  How awful that must be!  This is self-righteousnessHow awful it is to condemn others but justify ourselves when we do the same things or worse!  How terrible it is to pass judgment on someone else for doing the same thing that we are doing, but when it is we who are doing it, we justify ourselves!  ”That is altogether different.”  How easy it is for us to find an excuse for our actions, claiming that it is okay for us and not for others!  How easy it is to demand that others do what we are not willing to apply to ourselves!   How easy it is to judge others without any understanding or compassion whatsoever!  But James gave us a warning about failing to see ourselves for who we really are.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like” (James 1:22–24).

Why is it so difficult for many to look in the mirror to see themselves for who they really are and what they have done? This is self-righteousness and arrogance. How sad and awful it is when we do look into the spiritual mirror and still cannot see ourselves for who we really are! How sad it is to judge others but refuse or fail to examine and judge ourselves!  Let this sink deeply into our hearts! 

We must examine ourselves and pay attention to the enormous failures, flaws, and shortcomings in our own lives! The log in the eye dramatizes an attitude of heart that is self-righteousness in full bloom! Why? Because we find it easier to condemn others while we justify ourselves for doing the same thing. Have you ever done that? Have you ever passed judgment on another person, when you are justifying yourself while doing the same thing? How easy it is to pass judgment or condemn others when we’re unwilling to apply the same measure of judgment to ourselves! We must not condemn others while practicing similar sins. How can we help another get the mote out of his eye when we have a big beam in our own eye? 

In James 1:22-24, we have a severe warning about this attitude of the heart. So we must look at ourselves in the mirror, the perfect law of liberty, and honestly examine ourselves for what we have done in our lives, for if we fail to do so, we are self-righteous and arrogant. How sad it is to fail to see ourselves for who we really are in God’s spiritual mirror! Why not judge ourselves first so that we can judge others? God is provoked and angry by hypocrites who earnestly condemn everyone’s sins but fail to see their own (Romans 2:1-3, 17-24)!  Thus, this is the kind of judging that the Lord condemns in Matthew 7:1-5. Jesus calls us hypocrites when we judge others unfairly, and hold others to a different standard than we do ourselves.

  • So What Is The Solution?   (Matthew 7:5)
"5 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."

When we judge others but refuse or fail to examine and judge ourselves, Jesus calls us hypocrites. When we hold others to a different standard than we would hold ourselves to, we are hypocrites. So what is the solution to this shameful behavior?

  1. To first start looking at ourselves, examining our own actions carefully before we look at others to judge them. 
  2. We must first examine our own hearts to see our own sins and failings before we dare to judge and confront others with their failure and shortcomings.  
  3. Thus we must first judge our lives with the same judgment we judge others.  

By doing this, we can properly understand the first two verses of this chapter.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”  

Do not judge with hypocritical judgment! 
  1. Do you appreciate fault finders when they come to you and bring every single flaw and mistake you make? 
  2. Do you like to be nitpicked for everything you do? Of course not! 
  3. So why not look at yourself first, for you don’t want others to do the same thing to you? 
  4. Why do you do it then? Do you want someone bringing up every mistake? 
  5. Do you want to be nitpicked for every shortcoming in your life? Of course not!  
  6. So why not first look at yourself if you don’t want others doing that to you.  
  7. Why do you enjoy doing that with others?  
  8. Why not first measure yourself by the same judgment with which you will measure others? 
  9. Why be so quick about making wrong, false, unfair, and unrighteous judgments about others?
  10. Why be so hypocritical, seeing and pointing out the sins of others but failing to see our own?  
  11. Why not follow the Master’s words and example of compassion and humility when judging the sins of others?  
Think about that! 


III.   MAKING PROPER JUDGMENTS:  (Matthew 7:6)
“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.” 

We might think that verse 6 does not fit Jesus’ teaching about hypocritical judgment.  We have already observed that Jesus was not talking about never making judgments about others. Jesus is pointing out that we must make proper, godly, and fair judgments or evaluations about others (Matthew 7:6).  Jesus is warning us about not wasting our time on those who do not show any interest in the Gospel or in His discipleship. You see, in the Law of Moses, pigs were counted as unclean, and dogs were wild and nasty savages. In Jesus’ illustration, the pigs and dogs want the scraps of food but do not want what is good.  We are called to recognize who the dogs and pigs are. It does not characterize a person but rather gives us an understanding of how others treat the Gospel Message.  It describes their spiritual condition. They will not receive and appreciate the Gospel Message.  They reject the Message, for they are antagonistic to it and refuse to respond to it.  They refuse to appreciate what they are receiving. In the Scriptures, we often see this kind of warning.
“Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words” (Proverbs 23:9).

The apostle Paul followed Jesus’ teaching in the field of evangelism.
 “The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:44-46).

When our efforts in teaching the Gospel Message are not bearing fruit at all, we must, at some point, make a judgment. There is a point when we must determine if we want to continue in our efforts of casting the pearls of the Gospel to those who will reject it and have none of it.  We have done all that we know to do! Thus, when men are filled with jealousy and insult the holy things of God, there is no use in continuing to plead with them to repent and calling their hearts to God.  Sadly, they are casting off that which is holy as foolishness and garbage.  How sad! 


CONCLUSION:

Let us keep in mind what Jesus said about judging with righteous judgment to maintain harmony and get along with one another. We must stop using godless judgment.   Let us not violate our Lord's command of Matthew 7:1-5; John 5:30 and John 7:24.  Let us not fail our Lord by ignoring His great counsel and neglecting His commands.

In Romans 14:10,
"Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God."  

We are reminded about judging our brother. Lest we forget, one day we are going to all stand before the Judge of ALL men, both great and small.
 "So then each of us will give an account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12).  

The Almighty is going to measure you and me, and we are going to give an account of everything that we have done before Him. He will judge us the way we have judged others! He is going to measure you and me by the standard by which we have measured others.
 "For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy.  Mercy triumphs over judgment"  (James 2:13). 

In the end, this is the judgment that really matters!

We must not be self-righteous, judging others inappropriately.  Before we judge, we must first judge using the same judgment that we would want others to apply to us.  We must not be hypocritical in our teaching or application of God’s Word to others. We must first allow God’s Word to penetrate and prick our own hearts before we abuse God’s Word, passing ungodly judgments on others.  So why not look at yourself first, for you don’t want others to do the same thing to you?  Why do you do it then? Let us pray to God that He may help us to measure ourselves by the same judgment by which we’re going to measure others. I assure you, it will help us be more fair and reasonable with others and not so quick to judge.

Of course, it does not mean that we are forbidden to make any spiritual judgments. We are commanded to make righteous judgments (John 7:24). We must not be naive about what we are doing. We must be aware that there are people who will reject and refuse to listen to the Gospel Message and sadly will not respond. No matter how well we present the Gospel Message, many will show contempt. And though we might correct and judge the way God commands that we do it, there will be some who will refuse to listen when we correct them and show contempt to God, like the unclean dogs and pigs. Thus we must shake the dust off our feet and save our treasures for those who will respond to the Gospel Message of repentance and salvation with a better attitude. Jesus wants us to correct our lives before we judge others, for we must always act out of love according to God’s Word to please Him and be saved (1 Cor. 13:1-3).

Let us start pointing the finger at ourselves first before we point out the failings of others.  Let us start attending to the weightier issues of our own.  Ultimately, both they and we will stand before the Judge of ALL, and He will make His final judgments.  Let us then purpose in our hearts to grant mercy, kindness, and long-suffering in our dealing with others.  Let us judge righteously and not be condemned for using godless judgment! 

May God help us to put these principles into practice that we may not be judged.

Luci

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