Can I Judge?

There are two types of judging according to the scriptures; righteous judgment

and hypocritical judgement. Many times you’ll see that when people are criticized, they often respond by saying, “Don’t judge me”, but believers are called to judge. Seriously, there are many scriptures in the bible asking us to do so. Paul says in1 Corinthians 2:15, “Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things”. He also says in1 Corinthians 6:2-3, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more,

things that pertain to this life?”.

Jesus Himself requires us to judge. It says in Luke 12:54-5, “Then Jesus turned to

the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times. “Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right?” Repeating Jesus, the writer of Hebrews says: “Someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” (Hebrews 5:13-14).

Righteous Judgement

Scripture is used to understand scripture. So, although Jesus says we should not

judge in Matthew 7, He says we should judge in Luke 12. It is then up to us to

determine exactly what He means because Jesus does not contradict Himself. So, does Jesus want us to judge or not? Yes, He does. In the same Matthew 7 where He says: “Do not judge,” He also says: “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” (Matthew 7:6). We cannot identify who or what is “holy or unholy” without judging. Neither can we determine who are considered “pigs” without judgment. Jesus then goes on to say in Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.” If we are to identify false prophets by their fruits, some type of judgment has to take place.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 “When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

Jesus’ concern becomes evident when He says in John 7:24: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” The NLT bible version says it like this, “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” This shows Jesus wants us to judge, but we must judge righteously. The Law of Moses says in Leviticus 19:16, “In righteousness, you shall judge your neighbor.” Righteous judgment means not judging according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. (John 8:15). It means we judge the fruit and not the motive. We do not have the capability to judge the heart of others or their intentions. Only God can read

the heart and discern the motives of men. So, we must not assume judgment on some that only God can make. Righteous judgment also means not being respectful of persons. In James 2:1-4 it reads, “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?”

Hypocritical judgment

In Matthew 7, Jesus is particularly concerned about hypocritical judgment. His message is that we must not judge others for what we are guilty of. Every time we hypocritically criticize someone, we are condemning ourselves. God must not find any wrong in us, that we see in others. So what do you think it means by saying, ”God must not find any wrong

in us, that we see in others.”? We can’t be currently living in the same sin that we’re pointing out. Or, we can’t be actively, intentionally, rebelliously and purposefully living in sin and pointing out someone else’s sin. Those who judge hypocritically are often hiding something about themselves. Isn’t it true, that we often hate the most things that we are guilty of? Have you ever disliked something in a someone, usually a family member or close friend, that you found you are guilty of doing yourself? (As in behaviors, habits, character, etc.? Roman 2:1-3 says, “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things?"

Next time you find yourself in a situation where judgement is needed, ask yourself, "Am I judging righteously, or am I judging hypocritically?" Let’s use godly wisdom before judging!

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