There are many people out there in this world whose favorite Bible passage is Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye be not judged”. They take this passage to mean that we may never pass judgment on anyone or anything, especially if it deviates from what we consider normal. Therefore, we must accept the homosexual or transgendered person, the woman who chooses to abort the baby in her womb, and so on. Not judging anything at all is impossible both in our physical and spiritual lives. For instance, when we are at the end of the driveway in our cars and on our bikes and wish to make a left-hand turn into traffic, we wait for a break and go when we believe it is safe to pull out. When we cook our food, we want to make sure that it is prepared properly so that we can avoid food poisoning as much as possible. We also judge when we pick out our clothes for the next day, based on our activities or what the weather will be like. All of these things,although we don’t think of them as such, are judgments. They are informed decisions based on the best assessment we have of the information available to us. The same is true spiritually. How are we to react to the gay and transgender community? How are we to react to false religions such as Islam and Buddhism? For judgments regarding these things we look to the Scriptures. God says this regarding gays and those like them “male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27). God created us to be a specific gender and to be attracted to those of the opposite sex. Romans 1:27 talks about the “natural use of the woman”. God says this regarding false religions: “For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens” (Psalm 96:5). Furthermore, Matthew 7 goes on to say this: “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” What is being spoken of here is those who hypocritically judge others for committing the very same sins that they themselves are guilty of. For instance, there may be a man who constantly uses foul language and takes God’s name in vain constantly during the process. This same man hears someone else swearing and takes them to task for it. Or there is a man who embezzles $10 million from his company every month with no guilty conscience whatsoever. Nevertheless, he condemns another person who is doing the exact same thing. We see this mentality every day with those who advocate tolerance. If we don’t adopt their point of view on abortion, homosexuality, or women’s rights, we’re “biased”, “sexist”, and “unloving”. While part of this is human nature, it is also true that they are very inconsistent as regards their own teachings on the subject. We as Christians are called to judge things that are contrary to God’s law as being sinful. Not in a hypocritical fashion, but as those who are saved by God, who, although we sin every day, are nevertheless confident that God Himself agrees with what our assessment of their worldview is. When we judge properly, God will bless us and give us the grace and strength we need everyday to live in this world unto Him.
2 thoughts on “Judging”
I am concerned about the general tone of some recent posts on this blog. This post serves as a good example. It seems to me we are too concerned about pitting the Protestant Reformed churches against the world, rather than pitting our own hearts against the standard provided for us by God’s Word. This post has three main ideas: 1) many misuse Matthew 7 to claim we should not judge, 2) we ought to make judgments about the sins of the world around us, and 3) Jesus forbids hypocritical judging. Assumed in this post – our judgments are not hypocritical, but approved of by God Himself. This places the emphasis of this post on our calling to make judgments about matters such as abortion, homosexuality, etc.
Why I am concerned: this post uses a text that says: “Judge not,” to springboard a message that calls us to judge. I believe, we must first apply this prohibition against judging found in Matthew 7:1-5 to our own hearts and lives before we use this text as support for making judgments about sin. Why? This text is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The focus of the sermon is the Kingdom of Heaven; therefore, the application belongs to the citizens of that kingdom – the believers that comprise Christ’s church. This negative command addresses our own tendency to judge in not only a hypocritical way, but also in a condemning, self-righteous manner.
I firmly believe that a Christian’s calling is to judge sin in this world, whether it is our own or what we see around us. As citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven this is our mandate from God Himself. While it is true that we must pull the “beams” and “motes” from our own eyes in order to see sin more clearly, I do believe that we are called to make judgments according to God’s laws. The reason that God approves of any Biblically based judgments we make has nothing to do with us and our opinions and everything to do with what God has commanded. It certainly does condemn hypocritical judgments as I made plain with two examples. These could be sins that even us as children of God fall into. We are called to “speak the truth in love”(Ephesians 4:15), the emphasis is especially on speaking the truth. We may need to cast sin out of our own lives, especially if it is the same sin that is found in another person we are accusing, but it still needs to in as loving and Scriptural a way as possible. I certainly hope that this reply addresses your concerns.
Yours in Christ,