“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matt. 7:1)
Dearly beloved in Christ,
“Do not judge” is a command from our Lord Jesus. How often do we break this command? What does it really mean when Jesus said “Do not judge”? Christians and non-Christians alike quote the Lord’s statement in an attempt to silence their critics. Jesus does not mean to say that “You have no right to tell me, if I am wrong.” This is how we misunderstand the scripture. If we take any part of the scripture in isolation, we may not understand what God wants to tell us.
The Bible’s very clearly tells us that we should have the discernment to understand the scripture. Immediately after Jesus said, “Do not judge,” He says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs” (Matt. 7:6). Again after a little later He says, “Watch out for false prophets … By their fruit you will recognize them” (vs.15–16). It means that God wants that you and I need to have the discernment. We need to discern the “dogs”, the “pigs” and the “false prophets”. If we do not have the ability to make right judgment, we will be deceived. When Jesus said “Do not judge” he is not asking us not to discern right from wrong or truth from falsehood.
We see Jesus giving a command to judge. “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgement.” (John 7:24). God expects His people to make the right type of judgement based on truth. The word of God is truth and it clearly teaches that truth is inseparable from God’s character. Anything that contradicts the truth is a lie and if we call something a “lie” is not passing judgment. The Bible clearly forbids bearing false witness. (Prov.19:5) The Bible also says “Slander no one.” (Titus 3:2)
If this command of Jesus, “Do not judge” is taken out of context, then Christian cannot be judges in judicial system. In the Old Testament, God had raised up Judges to judge His people.
Passing judgment on someone based solely on appearances is wrong. It is foolish to believe anything and jump to conclusions before investigating the facts. (Prov. 18:13).
Jesus was against hypocritical judgment. When we point out the sin of others while we ourselves commit the same sin, it is hypocrisy, which God hates.
John the Baptist called the hypocritical religious leaders “brood of vipers”. He spoke out against Herod’s sin. (Mark 6:18–19). Herodias could eventually silenced John by beheading him, but she could not silence the truth. The word of God is truth and it stands forever.
We are warned against judging others unfairly or un-righteously. But Jesus commends “right judgment”. Hence we are to pray for discernment. If someone is caught in a sin, we are to gently confront him in order to restore him. (Gal. 6:1). Jesus also emphasizes the need to practice church discipline. (Matt. 18:15–17). This is Biblical way of disciplining a brother who sins.
Dear Brethren, the God of the Bible wants us “to speak the truth in love.” As we come closer to the year 2016, let us look back at the past 10 months to see whether we were standing in truth and for the truth. Did we slander anyone? Did we make judgements based on mere appearances or whether our judgements ware based on truth? May God give us discernment to make right judgement.
Yours in Christ
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