How many times have all of us heard the phrase judge not in a conversation where you happen to point out something that you consider by Biblical terms isn’t right? It’s usually in a conversation where one person gets defensive. We’ve all heard it. People recite the first part of Matthew 7 forgetting or just ignoring the fact that there’s a whole chapter after that.
First of all, “judge not” alone is a self- defeating statement. If we all did make judgments on a daily basis we would all be dead. You make judgments when you get out of bed, what to eat, when to leave, etc….. We pretty much make judgments all day every day. When someone says to you judge not then they just made a judgment and you should remind them of that. That is called a self- defeating statement. For example, if I told you that my parents had no kids that survived that also is a self- defeating statement. Obviously they did. Also, you are making judgements about what’s already been judged by God himself not man. So people basically get angry for you paying attention if you really think about it.
So what does Matthew 7 say in context? It is Jesus talking is that what he said? Let’s take a closer look at Matthew 7 and other verses involving judging. People automatically just jump to the worst scenario when it comes to this because they’re usually on defense about something. Usually something that they are doing wrong or someone else is according to the Bible and that’s what we have to judge by in our opinion but the actual text of the bible nothing else matters but that text of the bible. Not your opinion, not my opinion or else is only one does the text say? So let’s put it in context and go from there because that’s what Grounded in the Word is all about.
Matthew : 7 ” Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 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?
5 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.”
Now, these are the first five verses of the chapter so what is Jesus actually saying? Is he telling you not to make judgments? Quite the contrary. He’s telling us how to make judgments but most people have heard over and over again the opposite so it must be true. Not so. He’s telling us how to make judgments to help our brother but as always nine times out of ten people get things wrong and it’s usually the opposite of what God means because he doesn’t think like us. Once you really get into the scriptures on a regular basis and study the show yourself worthy he begins to teach you how he thinks and it’s not like people do.
2 Timothy 2:15
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”
So what is Jesus actually saying here? He’s really saying two different things. First, he’s telling us to not judge hypocritically. In other words, do not hold others to a standard higher than you have for yourself. Here’s an example. If I was to walk up to somebody and tell them they have an alcohol problem and I have the same problem then who am I to say that to that person? Or let’s say I have a drinking problem and I accuse somebody else of it when they don’t just too cover for myself, then I’m falsely accusing someone of what I’m guilty of. See how this works? Or even, let’s say I’m overweight and I’m lecturing someone on smoking being unhealthy I would look like a fool in public so I just got judged with the same standard and rightfully so. It’s really pretty basic if you actually follow the text of the Bible as it’s written and what it actually means.
Now we get to the part about being judgmental as Jesus was speaking about the Pharisees. The Pharisees where the political and religious leaders of the Jews at that time. What made Jesus angry about the Pharisees was the fact they exalted themselves above everybody else while at the same time distorting God’s word which Jesus was not about to tolerate. When he showed up he was very angry and he let them know it. You can read Matthew 23 to find that out. We can all twist scripture and piece it together to make it say what are we want which is how we get a lot of false doctrine. First we wish to clarify with the word judging actually means in the context is being used. Romans 2 matches Matthew 7
“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. 2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?”
Does that mean that you can walk around and just tell people how to live? No not at all in fact it’s quite the contrary. When you make judgments as a Christian what he’s telling you is to decide in your own mind are these people I should associate with or not according to what the word of God says not someone’s opinion. Now of course there will be times when it will become vocal if the situation calls for and that’s where discernment comes in. We’ve all been guilty one time or another and anyone who says they haven’t is a liar. We’re all human we make mistakes and that’s why we need a savior.
The one thing I myself have to learn is how to and when the time is right for that and how to be tactful about it. It’s all in our approach. I’ll be honest sometimes I’m too blunt and I’m a man so obviously sometimes things come out of my mouth wrong the first time. You see, in this day and age it seems people believe they have a right not be offended which is not the case but that doesn’t mean you can be offensive all the time. Let’s be honest, some we all need to be offended once in a while. That being said, it all depends on what the situation calls for. Sometimes you have to be straightforward but if you try and win people to Christ sometimes it doesn’t pay to be offensive and it just depends on the person. A wise person will focus more on truth not getting offended. To most people the word of God is offensive. In fact today Jesus would be called “intolerant” himself. But then again the word tolerance is twisted to mean what it doesn’t like a lot of words. It’s called “political correctness” .
If you really want a breakdown what “tolerance” means in simple terms it means I don’t care enough about the problem or you to help you if you need it or tell you that you’re wrong. Or in even simpler terms tolerance actually means enabling. People seem to have this version of Jesus that he was a meek little man. Jesus was a carpenter for 17 years of his life he was a man’s man he was very blunt when he needed to be but also compassionate and loving when he needed to be. Just to prove the point about Jesus, if he was such a meek little man why were the Pharisees so afraid of him? How did he get to read the Book of Isaiah in a synagogue when you had to be 42 years old and even do that? If he was such a meek little man that never would’ve happened and the Pharisees would have just blown him off but that’s not what happened.
He always had a habit of asking you a question where you either had to admit you are wrong or look like a fool. That’s how he did it except to the Pharisees where he basically told them they were going to Hell and they send other people to Hell with their teachings. So there’s your example of time and place. Then there were the times when he would tell the prostitute or the adulterer to go with sin no more. Or he would say to the crowd he who was without sin to cast the first stone. She there was a complete difference between how Jesus did things and how normal humans like Moses, Elijah, Paul and others went about it. They were human so they were pretty blunt to people and boisterous.
Paul would walk right into a synagogue and lay it on the line and didn’t care who liked it (Book of Acts). Elijah openly mocked the profits of Baal to the point he even asked them if Baal was in the bathroom or something and that’s a true story it’s in the book of 1 Kings chapter 18 Another thing you need to think of about judging is if you’re going to say something to someone and you need to be able to back it up with the word of God
Now let’s get to those other verses about judging and see what they have to say. In context, do they match Matthew 7?
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
What is a “Righteous judgement”? It’s a judgement based on the word of God in context.
” Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
That matches Romans 2 and Luke was Paul’s friend and doctor.
Here is Jesus’ is younger brother James what does he say?”
“Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.”
12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
Is James telling you not to make judgments? James is telling us about making judgments but not speaking evil of others which is the whole point to what Jesus said if you make a judgment it must be true and based on scripture otherwise who are you even say anything?
Now we’ll go to what Paul told the Ephesians in Ephesus.
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Notice that matches exactly what James just said. James said speak no evil people but what is good for edifying and educating so do it with grace.
It’s all so simple when you put scripture in context. Don’t even trust what I tell you do your due diligence. Always remember, if you want to know absolute truth then ignore people’s distorting scripture and just stay grounded in the word. Thanks for reading. God bless you.