“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”Matthew 7:1-2
What is the place of judgment in the Christian life?
In today’s postmodern world, the word “judgment” has become demonized and viewed in a negative light. People don’t want any judgment for the lifestyle that they are living and some have even gone as far as to say that God Himself doesn’t judge anyone. Many people judge judgment as bad and judge other people as judgmental for judging them (all of this “judge-caption” is ironic isn’t it?). The funny thing is that no matter where you go or what you do, it is impossible to not judge. You judge people every day of your life. You label people friend, look at people’s mannerisms, tones, and expressions to tell what mood they’re in… and maybe you can even judge people from the little things such as the way that they park. Judgment is unavoidable. Everybody does it.
So if judgment as a whole is bad, then why not also what could be considered “good judgment?” When you tell your friend “Hey you look great today!” You’re judging them. The thing that people don’t want is not judgement, it’s offensive declarations. Offensive declarations are considered negative, because well… They offend. Though, these types of declarations are only truly offensive when someone is in the wrong. This is why God, the Bible, and Christians are disliked by many. Our message offends because it goes against everything that others know and believe about the world and themselves. The unsaved like to take Matthew 7:1-2 out of context and say that the Bible tells Christians not to judge, but that isn’t really true. Read the rest:
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)
This verse is not commanding us “not to judge” it’s actually telling us “how to judge.” You can’t judge someone when you’re doing the same sins as them. Imagine a judge who stole illegal music downloads, judging someone who does the same thing as guilty. What position is he in to administer judgment? Is that really justice? This Scripture can be applied to people who like to judge each other for living unjustly, when they themselves are living unjustly. [This Scripture can also be applied to Christians who judge others for doing certain things that they don’t agree with (whether it be eating meat or listening to certain types of music), because they are letting their legalism divide the body of Christ.] This is the epitome of hypocrisy and bad judgment.
In the eyes of God everyone is guilty of sin (and His holiness is unrivaled in all of existence) so imagine how it looks when to Him when one sinner tries to display righteousness over another. It’s the same as looking at a filthy rag and choosing one because it is less filthy than another… They’re both filthy? Both rags are in need of cleaning! In order to be able to judge in a condemning “holier than thou sense,” (not simply pointing out errors in actions) you have to be completely free of judgment and morally pure. Nobody, not even Christians justified by God’s grace through Jesus Christ are morally pure (perfect).
St. John said “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) This of course is not promoting moral degeneracy, however, this is reasoning for merciful judgment. So you cannot condemn anyone because you yourself are not perfect. Condemnation is God’s job and He will save whom He wills and condemn whom He wills. In order to rightly judge, you must understand this (unlike the Pharisees in Jesus’ original audience). This is what it means when Jesus says, “First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
This Scripture promotes an idea of judgment that is not geared towards condemnation, but towards salvation. Just as Christ said that “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17) we should do the same. In this sense, we reveal/convict, showing the need for a savior and thereby present the Gospel (a resolution for the conviction, and the message of salvation), similar to how we would use the Ten Commandments. We can (and should) also use our judgment to affirm and uplift, showing the good and godly qualities in an individual. Both of these judgments are good and when used together promote a healthy view of the human being as a intricately wonderful, but flawed creature (of course by nature due to the Fall in Genesis 3) in need of salvation from God’s condemnation. If we constantly have this idea/motive in judging (to reveal and to save) then we will truly see fruit in not just evangelism, but also in our normal relationships with each other in and outside of the church.
So how does one get free of God’s condemnation? The truth is that no human can be free of God’s judgment on their own. It is literally impossible for anybody to clear their self of guilt before God. So how is anyone going to be free from judgment? Jesus Christ came to take our (well deserved) judgment from God upon Himself for all of our sins so that we could be set free from God’s righteous judgment. Isaiah 53:10 says “But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.” He lived a life free of judgment, was crushed for our rebellion and our sins, and then He rose again, defeating death (the result of judgment) so that all who would repent of their sins and trust in Him would be free from death, and Hell. When someone is born-again, they are then given the ability to properly judge, as they align their values with God’s. The “log” is gone from their eye, so now they can remove the “specks” from the eyes of others. So to be honest, it is a Christians duty to judge people. Not in a condemning way because we aren’t here to condemn people, because they are already condemned! Our job is to give the Gospel in love to people, not condemning for their sin, but informing them of their sin and giving them the Gospel so that they can be liberated. The Bible says:
•“Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.” (1 Corinthians 2:15)
•“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” (John 7:24)
•“The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.” (Psalms 37:30)
•“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (I Corinthians 1:10)
•“When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers! Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life. If you have legal disputes about such matters, why go to outside judges who are not respected by the church? I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues?” (1 Corinthians 6:1-5)
Judging is not always bad (as long as it is good, loving, and true), and as Christians we are called to judge righteously, not unrighteously.
Thank you for reading dear Reader, God bless you