A Word on Judging



We hear it everywhere, sometimes lightly, other times more seriously: Don't judge me! We're not supposed to judge, you know? I can do what I want, don't judge! *SIGH*

If I may, let me air my frustrations. . .
I'm so tired of this concept of "not judging" to be used as an excuse to go on sinning. I'm so tired of crooked politicians, self-proclaimed non-Christians, and any other "Joe Shmoe" of the culture all of a sudden becoming the authorities on Christian living.

My Pastor spoke on this a few weeks ago, from Matthew 7:1-5:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

Society has twisted this Scripture so much that even believers walk away scratching their heads, wondering if "judging" is wrong, hoping they won't be labeled a "judger" because they voiced their disagreement over an issue. Here are a few things to think through. . .

Calling sin what is is, which is sin, is not judging.
Wanting to not be involved in sin, in any way, is not judging.
Pointing out that there is forgiveness for sin through Jesus Christ, is not judging.
Sharing that salvation and righteousness are available, which is the opposite of sin, is not judging.

We are called, as God's people, to judge things, situations, people and the "spirit" that may be at work in them, otherwise we would have no use of discernment through the Holy Spirit. As believers, we are to discern what is the truth from a lie, right from wrong, what is holy from what is sinful. Consider these passages. . .

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error." -1 John 4:1-6

"Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.
"They shall be Mine," says the Lord of hosts,
"On the day that I make them My jewels.
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him."
Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked,
Between one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him."
-Malachi 3:16-18

So, what about Matthew 7?
First, it does not mean we NEVER judge, but that we should NOT have an attitude that delights in looking for fault in others, as though we aren't sinners saved by His grace. Secondly, whatever judgements we do make will be the same standards used for our own actions (vs. 1-2).

Next, if there is a sin we are currently struggling with or immersed in, we can't see clearly on how to help another out of the same sin...so judging and condemning another for the same thing we're doing wrong makes no sense--we both need help in that area (vs. 3-4). Finally, we are to effectively deal with the sin in our own lives, in order to see clearly, so we can help someone else with the sin they are dealing with (v. 5). This, my friends, is judging.

We also must remember to see Matthew 7:1-5 as one part of a whole. In other words, studying and reading other Scriptures will shed light on the one. For example, if we only look at the character of Jesus based only on His interaction with the money-changers in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13), we might mistake His love, His compassion, or His forgiveness. Thus, we must study His character in its totality, as given to us in His Word. Same thing goes for judging, folks.


6 comments:

  1. Thank you, Stacie, for this post. I am struggling with sharing with a friend things that have been placed on my heart in regards to her situation. I struggle because of all of the things you listed above. I know that it is not out of judgment, but out of love. But the whole thing involving the receiver being able to receive it gets me stuck on whether or not to say anything. This is really something that I needed to hear because it is so easy to try to stay safe.

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    1. I hear you, Latonya. When you are close to someone who needs to hear the hard truth in love, well, it's never easy. I think it is super important to pray about how to approach your friend, praying that God would give you the wisdom, and the words to say to reach her heart, at just the right time, and that above all else, she knows that you care about her.

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  2. Yes, you are so right. It is very frustrating when this is taken out of context. It seems to be taken out of context a lot by people who are in the public eye. They can say do not judge and make Christians look so bad. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They were very good.

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. You're right about trying to make Christians look bad. It can be upsetting, but we know that God's word is true.

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  3. Truly insightful Stacie! I struggle with both. I'm learning often times talking with family is not always best. As Latonya and Jennifer mentioned, it can be taken the wrong way and out of context. I continue to ask God to give me the wisdom and the right words to say or to keep my mouth shut. I am learning obedience is not easy but a must(: Take care lady!!!

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    1. Hey, Gertha! I can understand what you are saying. Praying for wisdom in all things is so important. The blessing is, He will give it when we ask for it. ...just have to wait on His timing. I'm so glad you stopped by!

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