Judge Not?

Unbelievers love to quote the Bible. Their goal is to isolate a verse out of context in an effort to disarm you and silence you as a Christian. No verse is mangled and misused in this fashion more that a verse from Matthew’s Seventh Chapter.

“Judge not that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1)

These words, from the lips of Jesus, are true and instructive. If these seven words were our only instruction on the matter, you would think it wise to steer clear of  judgments of  any kind. Rather than be silenced, however, let us examine more fully what the Bible has to say about judgment.

Before we do that, we must begin by observing that there cannot be judgment without truth. Without a final authority there are no truths that serve as moral boundaries or guidelines in our daily lives. What sport can continue to exist without rules? Can a test be taken that has no answers? Can travel exist if each of us are allowed to ignore or interpret road signs and signals as we wish? Can you imagine a football field without sidelines? Sports Columnist Stephen A. Smith of ESPN in a recent article said this about “truth”:

“Truth is a malleable concept. Regardless of what I say, however, your truth is still your own.”

That is a nice way to say “truth is what I say it is”. Make no mistake about it; there is a final authority. It’s not you. The Bible unashamedly establishes boundaries to guide us. John 17:17 declares “thy word is truth”.

Let’s look at a proper definition of “Judge”. It can be defined as “to evaluate evidence in order to make a decision”. If that sounds like something we do every day, it’s because it is. It might surprise you to check out the additional references in your Bible concerning judgment and “judging”. God in fact, commands us to judge. Consider our final two verses as evidence:

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
“He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man” (1 Corinthians 2:15).

So does God want us to judge, or not? The answer is found in the reference to 2 Corinthians. Permission is based upon your spiritual condition. God allows those who are legitimately spiritual, and doing so out of the proper motivation, to make proper, “righteous” judgments. He sets such high standards because the world is becoming increasingly corrupt and unresponsive. Their ability to properly judge has been corrupted and compromised.

Signs of Degraded Judgment:
     1. Love becomes Lust. 
     2. Dislike becomes hatred.
     3. Desire becomes obsession.

These are but a few examples of a society deteriorating before our eyes . Our thoughts and actions are becoming more and more reckless and damaging.*Keep an eye on the world around you. You will need to be able to judge the difference between good and evil. Be decisive. Be courageous. Accept what God accepts. Reject what God rejects. Develop and maintain a level of spirituality that inoculates you against temptation. The world will never feel comfortable around you. You won’t fit it. You don’t fit in. You are a “new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17)!