Thoughts on Judging
to help clarify the question:
Did Jesus teach us to Judge?
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I believe that many people
will gain insights into this subject
by reading the following letter.
Here are some thoughts from a wise man
about the subject of Judging others.
I believe judging is a very important issue since I have run into many Christians who believe we are simply “not to judge.”
They have applied that thinking in many situations where I believe we are to judge “righteous judgment.” I believe this has often rendered many of them unwilling to defend truth and fight against evil.
If you can’t identify truth, then how can you fight for it?
And, if you can’t identify evil, then how can you fight against it?
I’ve even run into Christians in the past who aren’t even willing to acknowledge the “good” and “bad” in various political candidates, since they don’t want “to judge.” I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t part of the reason that many Christians don’t vote.
can’t help thinking that this is an issue, like many others,
that “the deceiver” has successfully caused many
to err on one side or the other.
We must not err by “judging” in a self-righteous destructive manner. We certainly must do our best to guard against falling into that trap. It is a very serious pitfall that Scripture warns us against. But, I don’t think the answer is to go to the other extreme and refrain from judging even though it is extremely tempting to do so since it is easy and “safe.”
We get very little resistance for keeping our mouths shut.
And, if some crazy non-conformist radical like me ever challenges us, we can quote verses like Matthew 7, which on the surface, or when not taken with consideration of other the verses on the subject, appear to support the “don’t judge” position.
To interpret Matthew 7, I think it helps to remember that Jesus many times used hyperbole to make His point. For example, when He said if your eye offends you then you should take out - He didn’t literally mean that. He was using hyperbole to make His point.
I think He was doing that in Matthew 7 verse 1, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” As I’ve stated before, I believe that when Matthew 7 verses 1 to 6 are read rather than just the first verse, it is clear that Jesus is warning against hypocritical judging.
This is clear when He says in verse 5, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Jesus is not saying we shouldn’t take the
out of our brother’s eye,
but that we should first get the plank out of our own eye.
Interpreting this passage as simply “we are not to judge”
would be at odds with John 7:24 which states,
“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
In John 7:24, Jesus clearly states that we are “to judge” and also clearly states that it must be done “correctly.”
Finally, Matthew 7, verse 6 states, “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 be obedient to that verse if we can’t judge who the “dogs” and the “pigs” are? (Jesus said it – not me).
Being Perceived as Loving
Also, we love to be perceived as loving. That perception is almost always enhanced if we don’t challenge or question what others do.
It’s much more difficult to be perceived as loving when you advocate “tough love” that doesn’t deny a person’s faults. However, I believe real love doesn’t deny or downplay a person’s faults in order to love them. I believe real love acknowledges those faults but chooses to love anyway. Isn’t that the kind of love the Lord has for us? He doesn’t pretend we’re good so He can love us. In fact He says (in the old Testament) that all our righteousness is as filthy rags.
Jesus pointed out the faults of others probably more than anyone else in the Bible, but also loves more than anyone else.
It could be argued that He was able to do that because He is God. That’s true, but He was also human. It is something to think about.
I can’t help but wonder that if we are saying it is wrong “to judge” then doesn’t it follow that we’re putting ourselves in the position of judging Jesus as wrong for judging?
I admit that’s a tough point to argue. But, it does make me wonder.
It can easily be pointed out that He was justified in judging since He was completely righteous. That’s surely true. But, since we are to be like Jesus, shouldn’t we strive to judge righteously rather than not judge at all?
There’s another thing that bothers me about “not judging.” When we insist that “judging” is wrong, aren’t we unwittingly doing the very thing we decry. How can we tell others they shouldn’t “judge” without judging them for judging.
Also, I think if we were to substitute the word “discerning” for “judging” much of the aversion people have to “judging” would be alleviated. But, when we are “discerning” concerning others, doesn’t it really usually boil down to “judging?"
that we do in our daily life
When we reflect on our daily life, aren’t we almost always judging?
We must judge those around us and those we associate with.
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