“Don’t judge me, Bro!” “Doesn’t the Bible say, ‘judge not?’” Ah, yes…Matthew 7:1, “Judge not lest ye be not judged…” the unbeliever’s favorite scripture passage. Unfortunately, they take this out of context; they fail to include the rest of the lesson. The entire passage involves as follows: “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.”
Bottom line here is “don’t be a hypocrite!” Many people tend to “judge” someone else based on their own failings in that particular area of their own lives. Paul writes to the Romans, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” (Romans 2:1)
Maybe a better translation of the word “Judge” should be “condemn.” “Condemn not…” etc. It is not our place as Christians to condemn; that is God’s job. However, Christ does expect Christians to judge; enter, “righteous judgement.” Christ says in John 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” We have to look at what righteous judgement means. Human nature dictates that we make judgement calls about other people. First, we must accept that “ALLhave sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). We are all sinners but as Christians, we are SUPPOSED to try our best to live a life as close to Christ’s example as possible. And as Christians, we are supposed to make “righteous judgement” regarding sin. This is where Matthew’s and John’s gospel are brought together to make the point.
If you told me that you were convinced you could fly and you were preparing to jump from an airplane without a parachute I will certainly make a judgment call regarding your thoughts and actions as crazy, dangerous and deadly. Would I not be in a position in this case where I am obligated to inform you of the danger and immanent death you are about to face? I may not be able to physically stop you but am I not bound by my love of my fellow man to at least provide you with the truth regarding what is about to happen to you? I have certainly judged you in this situation. What is the difference between this situation and knowing the eternal suffering you would eventually face with a life of unrepentant sin, and knowing there is a way you can avoid it? Again, am I not obligated to inform you? The Apostle, Paul, said in his letter to the Ephesians “But speaking the truth in love,” (Ephesians 4:15) not in condemnation. Nothing will halt an attempt to evangelize faster than a condemning, “holier-than-though” approach. Paul said “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor.” It would then be up to the unbeliever to accept or reject the truth. The response could then very well be “Well, then only God can judge me, man.” Just one thing to remember in that case; eventually, He will.
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