Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
So, I’ll come straight out and admit something. Do you know those people who get on social media and debate a subject, even if it is pretty obvious no one is going to move from their position?
Yeah, that’s me.
I am one of them.
My husband just shakes his head.
(In my defense, I am a stay-at-home mom. Most of my days are spent debating bedtimes and how many bites of peas someone has to eat. I enjoy the intellectual stimulation of arguing adult subjects instead of mommy ones!)
It is probably no surprise, but one of my favorite topics to discuss is the Bible. It is always good to dive deeper into a subject and really explore where your beliefs stem from and talking about biblical topic fills that desire for me. What I have learned through this, though, is even when confronted with a direct quote from scripture, many people do not want to change what they believe and especially do not want to admit to failure. At that point, I am often met with their closing argument….
Well, yes, but not exactly.
For the first article, now that we have entered the New Testament daily scripture readings (Yay!), I want to discuss this topic. It is important to establish exactly what God says about it because over the coming months, we are going to be confronted with some inconvenient truths and we are going to have to make some judgment calls about how we are living our lives.
Yes, Matthew 7 does state we are not to judge, but is that an all-encompassing command as some want to imply? Clearly, no.
There are a couple of types of judgment that we are to avoid. The first of which is that it is not our place to judge a person’s salvation. That is for God and God alone. I Corinthians 4:5 states,
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
I know this might be a “mind blown” moment for some, but we are not God and it is not our job to take on his role.
The second thing we are to avoid is self-righteous judgment. Did you know that Christ died for ALL sin? I know that seems like an elementary question, but think about it for a minute. There was not a huge nail driven into Christ for sexual immorality, but just a thumbtack for gossip. Just because our sin does not carry as big consequences, or is more covert, does not make us more righteous than someone in a different situation We all fall short. Christ died for us all. No one is to elevate their status as a Christian.
These are the types of things that Matthew means in 7:1-2. The idea that we are never to judge is not backed by scripture. Just a few verses later, in verse 6, Christ goes on to say,
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
How can we decide who are dogs and pigs, if we are not to use judgment?
How can we live out what Paul says in II Timothy without judgment?
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~3:16-17
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction ~4:2
Many times we are warned in scripture to be wary of false teachers. How do we spot them without using judgment?
We have to use judgment as Christians within the confines we are given. Without it, we would not be able to function. If Paul says the scripture is useful for rebuking and correcting, then it is wrong of us to call sin, “sin”? Absolutely not! It is what we are commanded to do. I am not a huge fan of having my actions called out as wrong. Nobody is, but, if we are to fully love the body of Christ, we have to use this very judgment that our culture is so quick to call out as wrong.
From here until the end of the year we will be taking a look at exactly what it is to live life as a Christian. Please know that I will not be writing articles with a pretense that I am perfect and exempt from the things I discuss, but that I will be doing my best to do exactly what Paul leaves us with the command to do. The articles I will be writing will not always be popular with the culture around us, but the words need to be said.
It is time for us to live out Paul’s words. And, yes, that requires us to judge.