Are We To Judge?
Have you ever thought about whether or not we are to judge? Many times I have been told by someone, “Don’t judge me.” This statement is usually made in an attempt to not have their error pointed out. But, are we to judge? What does the Bible say? Let’s consider this for just a moment.
The Bible speaks about judging and therefore, if we are going to know what it teaches concerning whether or not to judge, we are going to have to read it. Turn your Bible to Matthew chapter 6 and read verses 1 – 5. Notice the text: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
Most people are quick to point out that Jesus said, “judge not.” However, they are not so quick to read the rest of the verse. The period was not placed after the words “judge not” but rather at the conclusion of the sentence. Notice the verse: “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Mt. 7:1).
Jesus is not condemning all judging but rather a hypocritical judging. A judgment or standard that one would apply to others but not willing to use on themselves. It would be like a man saying, “Do not steal” while he is thieving his neighbor’s goods. It would be like an individual who would say, “Do not swear” and he himself is guilty of cursing. That is what the Lord is condemning. We must be willing to hold ourselves to the same standard we hold others to; else, we are being hypocritical.
Now, can we judge? Jesus said: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24). Have you ever read that? The Lord himself said that we are to judge. What kind of judgment are we to give? A righteous judgment. You see, when you tell someone they are practicing or believing something contrary to the Bible, you have judged a righteous judgment. You have made a judgment between truth and error and the standard used in making such a determination is the Bible. The Word of God is right (Ps. 19:8).
Has God given us the ability to determine what is right and what is wrong? Do we have the ability to distinguish between the truth and a lie? Absolutely! In order to decide what is right and wrong, we are going to have to render a judgment. Did you ever think of it that way? If you say that stealing is wrong, how did you make that judgment? When we read the Bible and understand what God expects of us, we are then able to discern between the good and the bad. For example, I know God expects me worship him in spirit and in truth because the Bible says so (Jn. 4:24). When we find individuals who are not doing that, we out of concern for them, point their error out in the hopes they will make the necessary correction. If we take the mentality that we cannot judge anyone on anything, we will never teach others the truth. We also would never accept sound teaching for our own benefit.
Paul instructed Timothy: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tm. 4:2). A faithful preacher of the gospel will have to do some reproving, rebuking, and exhorting. Rebuking and reproving cannot be done without making a determination or judgment about what is right and what is wrong.
Most often, individuals who exclaim, “Don’t judge me” are simply in violation of Biblical teaching and do not wish to have that pointed out to them. However, as a preacher, I would be neglecting my duty if I did not warn them. The Lord said in Leviticus 19:17: “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thing heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him.” If we love others, as we should, we will teach them the truth even when it may not be happily accepted.
Let me encourage you to study further the subject of judging. Don’t be an individual who is not willing to have error pointed out. Purpose in your heart that all you do, say, and think, will be according to the truth as revealed in the Bible. Demand from your preacher, book, chapter, and verse for what he says. If he cannot put his finger on it than don’t believe him. Your soul is the most valuable thing in your possession. Don’t leave it to the opinions and ideas of others. Pick up the Bible and study it every day!
- Donnie Oliver