Updated: Apr 4, 2022
(A word to the professing Christian)
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 1 Corinthians 6:2
There has been such a generalization in the American Church when it comes to the topic of Judging. Such as produced the avoidance of preaching about repentance and sin and clinging only to grace.
If we think that today’s mainstream understanding/generalization of this word “judgement” as being an unacceptable practice for a God fearing follower, was also adapted in both the Old and New Testaments of scripture...think again. For if it was, there would be no book of JUDGES, nor any mention of the Prophets of old, let alone John the Baptist whom God used to introduce Christ, The Saviour King Jesus.
John and all the Prophets JUDGED...God's People, according to His Word and known standard. However, even John the Baptizer dared bring a judgment against a pagan governing official named Herod for taking the wife of his brother, by which John told him that it is not LAWFUL for him to do. Indicating Herod committed open adultery.
Such terms as "JUDGING", "LAWFUL"... are legal terms, by which we may accuse (actually judge) believing saints who call out such things as being..."Legalistic". Aside from those who are quick to use that term with a misapplication, Jesus spells it out pretty clearly concerning how to JUDGE and how not to judge. Nevertheless, He doesn't write off the use and even need of bringing judgment calls.
WHAT WAS JESUS TALKING ABOUT?
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? Matthew 7:1-3
It is far too common if one brings a judgment or condemns an act that is found to be in clear violation of scripture, that one may say "Only God can judge me" or "The Bible says...Don't Judge". Now most likely (if any), this reasoning of a statement comes from the first three verses in Matthew 7, where Jesus within His famous sermon on the mount is teaching what is acceptable means of how one ought to judge and how they ought not.
If we follow through with the rest Jesus has to say on this topic, we will see clearly that He actually isn't saying that Christians shouldn't judge.
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. Matthew 7:4-5
Again Jesus wasn't generalizing the issue of judging to say not to do it. He was speaking against HYPOCRITICAL judgments. Whereas if the very thing that a Christian judges a brother on, is also guilty of the same, if not worse...IN THAT SAME SIN or stumbling block, then they don't have grounds to judge THAT particular matter. Case and point, if a brother tells another saying, “hey, drinking alcohol is bad for you and you'll wind up ruining your life", meanwhile that brother casting that judgment is a raging alcoholic, then obviously he has no room to talk. So what Jesus is saying, is you get delivered first from that sin. When you are delivered from it, go help the next brother out who is struggling in the same thing you once were! Because you can not offer something to someone that you don't first possess.
THE GENUINE HEART BEHIND JUDGING APPROPRIATELY
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5:30
If we as Christians (Christ-like) are to be LIKE Jesus, Jesus lays out an example for us to follow as to HOW to judge.
What makes a judgment as a Christian be JUST and not unjust, permissible before God and not permissible is by what MOTIVATES or INSPIRES that judgment. Is it inspired by our own flesh and self-will, or is it determined by God's will as known in His Word (scripture)?
This is where that term or accusation (which is given or used as a judgment) being "Legalistic" gets broad-brushed and misapplied. What is meant, is that people who quote the verse do not consider the grace of God or some sort of alternative understanding based solely on the fact that Jesus loves us, will never leave us and forsake us and we can continue to go on our merry way, because heaven forbid we serve a Lord who judges and condemns us.
Often we misunderstand the difference between CONDEMNATION and CONVICTION. We think they are one and the same, but they are not and both serve two separate purposes when applying it to spiritual matters.
To condemn means to be WITHDRAW or put away from God's presence. However, the purpose of CONVICTION is to cause us to draw CLOSE to God's Presence.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked (convicted) in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:37-28
Do you know what the purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit is? Not just to feel good, feel loved, and experience supernatural gifts. The job and purpose of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is to draw us, reminded us, and convict us closer to obeying God's Word. (John 14:26)
Now it has been said that there is NO condemnation to THOSE in Christ Jesus. This is true, but not complete. Paul in the same verse finishes that statement by saying... "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1
The majority of today's misconception about healthy judgments is built upon ideas, feelings and half quoted verses and contexts.
The heart behind every genuine judgment, ought to be of the heart of the Father who desires to see NONE perish, but all come into everlasting life. Not just when they die, but experience Kingdom Life and freedom now as they live.
JUDGEMENT BRINGS A HEALTHY FEAR
“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost; and to keep back part of the price of the land?” Acts 5:3
After Jesus already resurrected from the dead and ascend up into heaven, He left His ministry for His disciples (whoever follows Jesus) to pick up and carry on. There came, however, a situation in this newly born NEW COVENANT Church. At a time when people were selling all they had to equally distribute according to those who had NEEDS (not wants), a husband and wife came to bring the money from what they sold and the Apostle Peter, by the revealing of the Holy Spirit, was shown that their amount given was a lie to that which the Holy Spirit told them to give. They were giving so, claiming as if that was what the Holy Spirit instructed.
Long story short, Peter called them out on it, making sure they as well as all in the church knew, that this was not done against "Peter", which in the spirit of it is to say this wasn't about giving to the leadership or anything like that, but this was a lie against the instructing of the Holy Spirit.
As a result, when both at two different times confronted Peter, both the husband and wife supernaturally fell down dead. What happened to all bystanders? The Bible says and GREAT FEAR came upon the Church.
What kind of fear? A Fear of God. Not the kind to be afraid of God per-say, but the kind that would REVERENCE Him, taking who He is, seriously.
I believe there is such a lack of a healthy fear of God in much of the Church in America today. I don't say this because I don't have a high regard of The Church. For lest we forget she is still the Bride of Christ and so it is from a heart of deep love, care, concern, and devotion by which this statement is made.
WHO ARE CHRISTIANS TO JUDGE AND WHO SHOULD THEY NOT?
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Matthew 7:6
The term Jesus uses calling those who are "dogs", is a common term referring to those outside of covenant with God. I don't believe Jesus was being disrespectful, but simply identifying a contrast that would be culturally understood. Mind you, Jesus didn't just die on the cross for Jewish people, but for WHOSOEVER...even a dog like me.
For it was a gentile (not in covenant) woman whom Jesus applied this term, but her response caused him to affirm her faith publicly, pointed to her as a prime example that pleases our Heavenly Father's heart and in return performed her request and healed her daughter that very hour (Matthew 15:21-28). Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
The Bible says that JUDGEMENT begins in the House of God (1 Peter 4:17). I believe this refers to not only when God, the Great Judge shall judge all things that final day; but also presently, as Peter states the time is NOW come and that was over 2,000 years ago. It is The Church (His people) that Christ said was the only thing He will build to be a witness in the earth, as an embassy of the Greater Kingdom not of this world (Matthew 16:13-20).
So who should Christians judge? Those who profess Jesus or God, for that is who He is, are seated at the right hand (authority) of the throne of God (Acts 2:33).
What about non-Christians? Well, they are condemned already, as we once were before taking the offer the cross of Christ affords to whoever wants it!
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18
SO WHAT TRIPS US UP WHEN IT COMES TO JUDGING?
Well not only in the application of bringing forth just, righteously healthy judgment; but there is a difference between being judgmental and being critical.
Being critical or giving criticism against a person or even your own self as your own worst critic leaves no room for hope or a greater alternative.
Issuing true godly judgments on a matter always leaves room for grace and hope. This is why the true spirit and use of prophecy and judgment go hand in hand. Actually, the Bible says that the TESTIMONY of Jesus IS the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). With that said, the Bible also states that both TRUTH and GRACE came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). What does that mean? It means we can not appreciate one aspect of Jesus without the other. In the same way, we can not appreciate only one spouse without the other, when it comes to bearing fruitfulness...children. It takes two, both male and female, the only permissible and possible way God ordained a marriage covenant.
If all we hear is the GRACE of Christ, without regarding His Truth, then we are vulnerable to leave void our faithfulness to Him. If we only regard His Truth and do not consider His grace, we will find it IMPOSSIBLE to walk in obedience to that truth, receiving His aid and help to come up higher out of bondage and into freedom from sin.
What trips us up as Christians to even accept the fact we are CALLED to judge, is that we bit into the lie that if it offends someone, makes us feel uncomfortable, or just sounds mean...then that is not of God.
Can you imagine if your best friend who never knew a thing about snakes, was being coiled up by an Anaconda and you just remain quiet? Being afraid you would hurt their feelings if you told them that the reason why the snake is slithering around them is not that it likes them, but its purpose is to kill them? It would be a healthy JUDGEMENT call to tell your friend the truth about the situation, especially if you desire them not to die, but to live!
WE ALL JUDGE EVERYDAY
The greatest hypocrites are those who make a blanket claim they do not judge but do so every day. Let's also throw in here the word...DISCRIMINATE.
If we choose or prefer one restaurant over another, we are guilty of discriminating.
To discriminate is NOT bad. What the word simply means is to decipher or differentiate one thing from another. Now there is such thing as bad discrimination such as determining one's value based upon skin color, gender, or ability. Jesus died for all people. Our value to receive God's love in His eyes is the same. However, we must not misinterpret His love. For His love is greater and not like the love of this world.
God so LOVED the world that He gave His Son, that whosoever would believe upon Him shall not perish (die), but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Though God's love is unconditional, His abiding favor on our lives and choices IS based on certain conditions.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, IF (condition alter) you continue in my word, then are you, my disciples, indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32
IF I went to the doctor because I didn't feel like how I should and after his evaluation he told me I have internal bleeding and 2 months to live, being upset and sad at this news; would it be right for me to say to the doctor, "How Dare You Judge Me!"? It would be pretty foolish of me, now wouldn't it?
Now if that is all he told me or the doctor with whom I got the second opinion ONLY told me the same as well, well I would have to grapple with their observable TRUTH and my feelings about it and die in 2 months. However, a good doctor doesn't just tell a person the truth about their symptoms without ALSO telling their patient a solution to help heal their problem.
If the Doctor only gave a prescription without the patient ever being told of their problem, well the patient will not take the prescription given all too seriously.
The point is, a healthy judgment contains both TRUTH and GRACE! The truth about the problem and grace about how to fix it. We need both to issue and receive the full counsel of God within a healthy issuance of a God-fearing judgment.
In other words, Jesus calls us to JUDGE (not just inspect) a tree by its fruit, starting with our own tree called life, unless we also are judged of the same issue and found guilty, hence hypocritical.
HOW TO AVOID GIVING AND RECEIVING HYPOCRITICAL JUDGEMENT
We got to know WHERE (not Who) it is coming from.
It is easy to judge people based on what we see, but when we judge ourselves we look at our motives rather than our actions. If this is the case on a matter being judged, then there is hypocrisy.
If we are going to judge someone based on their actions, then we ought to do the same with ourselves. If we want to be judged upon our motive, then we should do likewise when judging someone else.
We don't stand in a courtroom accusing the Judge and saying, "Only God can judge me". They will say, well in THIS COURT of law, I do judge you.
We got to know what court we are in and not in. Paul was telling the Corinthian Church that if they can not judge the smallest of matters among their own selves, then what would make them think they would be qualified by God to judge the world and angels? 1 Corinthians 6.
If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 1 Corinthians 6:4-5
Yes indeed God will judge, but I thank God for those that He sent representing Him who issue me a warning before I received a citation unto everlasting condemnation.
I truly believe if we could take on more of the full mind of Christ and come into the balance of God or at least allow Him to work on the other end of the spectrum within that balance, we would see the power of God move in The Church in such a glorious way! We would hear less of ministers and leaders in the Church getting caught in marital affairs, substance abuse, etc…
The Church is called to be the head and not the tail. The Governments of this world and our God is not on equal planes. Yes, we are called to submit to a decree that doesn't jeopardize our direct witness of worship before The Lord, however, we are to judge the matters in this world on a general basis.
So may we not fear confrontation if it is motivated by the love of The Father. Jesus despised the shame of the cross, but confronted it in love, first towards The Father and then towards you and I. If we are not to judge, then there wouldn't even be a cross to come to.
Romans 3:4 NKJV...Indeed, let God be [a]true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.”