We walked around the kindergarten classroom and talked. She was a mom to one of the other boys and as we dropped them off, we would shoot the breeze.
I try not to talk religion and politics with people. It never seems to end well. But, she started talking about church and Christians in the church. I didn’t say much as I nodded her way to let her know I was listening.
That conversation was more than four years ago, and although I cannot remember how we got on the subject or why we started talking about it, I do remember what she said next. She said, “And you know Christians aren’t supposed to judge.”
Such a simple statement. I answered with a quiet, “Yeah.” And then I walked back to my car after kissing my son goodbye.
There’s something inaccurate about that statement. And if I had a dollar for every time someone in our culture said, “Don’t judge me” I would be able to go on a vacation to the Bahamas.
What does the Bible say about judging?
The Bible has a lot to say about judging others. And we all know that one verse where Jesus says, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” We even quote the Kings James version and everything.
In my opinion, this is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible besides John 3:16. But does anyone know what comes before or after it? Probably not. This is why we must know the context of scripture as well as the verses themselves.
Jesus is speaking to the pharisees. They were religious leaders in His time and they did a great job telling people about God’s word. But, they didn’t live it.
Jesus was very vocal about His opinions of the pharisees. He called them hypocrites on several occasions. And in the infamous passage of scripture where Jesus says, “Judge not lest ye be judged” He tells the pharisees a lot more than this (you can find the entire passage in Matthew ch 7).
Because they were hypocrites, Jesus told them they cannot judge others. They had to do something first. They had to remove the plank from their own eyes.
Judge yourself first
What does that tell us? It means we always have to judge ourselves first. God tells us to make sure we deal with our own sin before calling someone out on theirs … AKA, judging.
To put it Jesus’ way, “Remove the plank from your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Notice the words Jesus says here. Let me repeat a very important part.
He says, once you have removed the plank, “then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brothers eye.” Jesus never said it was wrong to remove the speck out of our brother’s eye; only that we need to deal with our own sin before we do.
Everyone makes judgments so how do we do it?
First of all, think of it this way: we all make judgments every single day. As a mom, I have to make sound judgment as to the people I want to watch my kids.
If your neighbor is known to sells drugs or beats their kids, are you going to ask them to watch yours? Probably not. Why? Because you have to make a judgment based on the safety of your own children.
Or, if you own a business and need to hire a new employee, are you going to hire just anyone? If you’re not going to make a judgment, why bother putting out an ad or doing interviews? Afterall, interviews cause us to make judgments between candidates .
Of course it’s silly when we apply it to things like this. The point is that we judge people every day. Jesus’ point is not to judge fellow Christians in hypocrisy.
What basis do we have for judging?
Jesus tells us how to make sound judgment in Matthew 7:15-20. Jesus tells us that God looks at the heart. He is the only one with the ability to do this. We can only make judgments based on what we observe.
These verses tell us people are known by their fruit. What does that mean? It means they are known for the things we can see about them: the way they act, treat others, and live their lives.
Are they who they say they are? If so, there will be evidence of that.
God understands that there has to be a measure in order for us to make sound judgment. And let me let you in on a hard thing … we do have to judge sin. But God already declared what sin is. We only have to uphold the truth.
As Christians, that is our responsibility. We must call sin what it is and not allow the words, “Don’t judge me” to back us into a corner and silence us.
That phrase, “Don’t judge” is just a way to silence the church.
This subject may ruffle some feathers. We hear so much that judging is wrong we’ve come to believe it. My challenge to you today is to seek out what God says about judging. Know and understand His word and uphold truth.
Do not allow anyone to back you into a corner with the words, “Don’t judge me”. That is just a tactic to justify sin in their lives and to silence you.
For more info about this topic, tune in to Her Faith Inspires, episode 8.
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