Downloadable file here: Are you a judge
Are You a Judge?
By Ps Lucas Stoltz.
Credit to Lewis Smedes’ article “Who Are We to Judge?” taken from ChristianityToday, 1 October 2001; and Ken Ham, Jeremy Ham, and David Chakranarayan’s “Does the Bible Tell Christians to Judge Not?” Taken from AnswersinGenesis, 26 April 2013; and “Should Christians judge each other? You betcha!” & “What does the Bible mean that we are not to judge others?”
Lately I’ve been having dreams of people freaking out with the statement, “stop judging me!” and it is probably because I challenge those who firmly believe Christians shouldn’t judge. Yet, I find it so sad that many are liberal or post-modern minded when defending their presupposed views.
Can you as a Christian, judge others? Absolutely. So much for keeping the answer till the end. But how about I defend my answer with Scripture, keeping the context of every passage and reference. Not using them to prove my agenda, but rather reiterating what Scripture so strongly teaches.
I ask you, as you read this, bear with me and exercise self-control as I study this issue. As Scripture exhorts, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil 4:8, ESV).
In Matthew 7:1, Jesus said “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Many people interpret this verse to mean “You don’t have the right to tell me I’m wrong.” Immediately after Jesus says, “Do not judge,” He says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs” (Matthew 7:6). Which calls for a sense of discernment in all our dealings. Later on, Jesus says, “Watch out for false prophets… By their fruit you will recognize them” (vv. 15-16). How are we to discern who are the “dogs” and “pigs” and “false prophets” unless we have the ability to make a judgment call on their doctrines and deeds? Jesus is giving us permission to tell right from wrong.
The Bible clearly teaches that truth is objective, eternal, and inseparable from God’s character. Anything that contradicts the truth is a lie, but to call something a “lie” is passing judgment. Think about it, to call adultery or murder a sin is passing judgment but it’s also to agree with God. When Jesus said not to judge others, He did not mean that no one can identify sin for what it is, based on God’s definition of sin.
As Christians, we are called to judge righteously, and judging between right and wrong is something we do every day! It should be a part of our very thinking. But it is God’s Word that makes the judgment on morality and truth, not our own opinions or theories.
According to Paul (1 Corinthians 2:15-16) true followers of Jesus are of the same mind. When you have the mind of Christ you have spiritual discernment, the ability to judge between right and wrong. Christians have the authority to judge people’s words and actions, and you should!
In John 7:24, Jesus gives a direct command to judge: “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” Which informs us of a right and wrong way of judging. Here are wrong ways of judging:
Superficial judgment – judging someone based on their appearances is sinful (John 7:24). Like King Solomon puts it, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13).
Hypocritical judgment – the command in Matthew 7:1 is followed by a warning against hypocrisy (Matthew 7:3–5). When we point out the sin of others while we ourselves commit the same sin, we condemn ourselves (Romans 2:1).
Unforgiving judgment – Jesus warned, “In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2). Our response should rather be “gentle toward everyone” (Titus 3:2).
Self-righteous judgment – we are called to humility, as James writes “God opposes the proud” (James 4:6). Take the Pharisee and the Tax collector for example. The Pharisee was confident in his own righteousness and then he sinfully judged the Tax collector, God sees his heart and then refused to forgive the Pharisee’s sin (Luke 18:9–14).
Untrue judgment – this is when we bear false witness, which is condemned in Scripture. Proverbs 19:5, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape.” Titus 3:2, “…speak evil of no one…”
Too often, Christians are accused of “judging” when they speak against sin. John the Baptist suffered the wrath of Herodias when he rebuked her of adultery with Herod (Mark 6:18–19), and she eventually silenced John through death, but she could not silence the truth.
We, believers, are warned against judging others unfairly or unrighteously, but Jesus praises “biblical judgment.” We are to gently confront stumbling believers in Christ (Galatians 6:1), speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Because, what’s the purpose of judging error in a biblical manner? To Glorify Christ! See, the church is to be built on the foundation of Christ and the authority of His Word (Ephesians 2:20). This means we should examine our lives regularly and we are to lovingly challenge Christians who are in sin. This means, you’ll need to be bold for Christ, but you’ll also have to be humble, loving, and kind.
Ultimately, Jesus will judge all our hearts and the Gospel is our only hope for the sin we commit and for deliverance. “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others” (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22). Repent of your sinful judgements and judge rightly, according to the standard of God’s Word, and when you yourself don’t meet that standard – take out the log in your own eye! There is one Lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy, you are not Him! Instead, worship Him.