WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT JUDGING OTHERS? (Lesson 1)
A while back, someone left a message in my guestbook. This person wrote that they hated people like me. They said I was ignorant and no better than the Nazis. They said that one day I would be judged by God for the things I had posted on my website.
Now, I'm not sure what exactly got that person's panties all in a bunch. Maybe it was the paper I wrote showing what the Bible says about alcohol and drugs. Maybe it was my article showing what the bible says about homosexuality and lesbianism. Or it might have been the information contained in my article, "Hell is real," which speaks on what the Bible says about hell. Whatever the case, this person who left the guestbook message was basically accusing me of judging others, and then they were condemning me for doing so.
And this was not the first time that I had received an angry comment or response from a reader. I've heard from many such people. Just recently another lady was highly upset over my articles regarding abortion. Here is a little quote from her e-mail: "Well every single one of us sin and it is judging when you take it upon yourself to call you brothers and sisters in Christ wrong. Too many people think they have a right to worry about someone else’s dark cloud when they have their own storm...There’s and old saying you can attract more bees with honey then vinegar." This woman also wrote that abortion [which, of course, is murder] is between God and the parent, and that it is not for others to judge whether or not it is a sin. She said that my speaking out against those who are pro abortion is playing the part of God and is judgmental and hateful.
Now, my question is this: why is it that when you show people God's laws and commands regarding sin, somebody inevitably wants to call you hateful? And it doesn't matter how many bible verses you use to back up what you are saying regarding God's Word on lying, stealing, fornicating, killing, rebelliousness, idolatry, or any other sinful behavior, someone is still sure to accuse you of being judgmental.
And after these people called me judgmental and told me that I had no right to speak out against sin, they gave me some advice. They advised me that such harsh talk will "Turn people away from becoming Christian" and then they suggested "Why don't you just tell people about God's love."So, basically, people seem to believe that a Christian can never speak out against sin (because that would be "judging,") and that I should only tell people how much Jesus loves them.
Well, after experiencing this reaction from folks time and time again, I am lead to believe that either (A) these people themselves do not read their bibles or (B) people are being brainwashed by wolves in sheep's clothing (false preachers) into believing that Christians are never to warn a person about sin and its consequences. Well, by the end of this paper I hope that you, Reader, will see that it is our Christian duty to make judgments and to speak out against all sin!
First of all, there are at least 665 verses in the bible that have to do with judgment, judging, judges, Judgement Day. So obviously judging people and pronouncing judgment are important topics to God. I believe that the error has come regarding how and when judging others is appropriate because instead of reading the whole bible, people stop at one verse and then take that verse out of context. What verse am I talking about? "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matthew 7:1 and Luke 6:37). Many people, even folks who have never read one page of a bible or stepped foot inside a church, seem to have this one verse memorized. And they will loudly proclaim it to you if you even think about speaking out against sin. Well, let's look at this verse in its entirety and see what it says in total.
Matthew 7:1-5, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 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. 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."
"Judge not" here does not mean we are not to judge ever. That verse clearly explained that before we try to tell someone else about himself or herself, we had better first cast out the beam out of our own eye. God is trying to get us to understand that our own walk had better be straight before we go around telling other folks what His laws and commands are. Otherwise, we would just be foolish hypocrites. It says, "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." God obviously wants us to cast out our brother's mote, and He even tells us when we can do it: after our own eyes are beam-free!
For example, if I want to share with my bible study group what the bible says against adulterous relationships, I had better make sure that I am living according to God's Word and not committing adultery or living licentiously myself, because people are looking at my life, i.e., judging me and my walk also. I can't go around trying to get the mote out of someone else's eye (judging them) if I have a big old beam poking out of my own eye. But if I have repented of my sins and am striving to live in obedience to God's Word, then God can and will use me to warn others of sin and its consequences. God wants us to be like Jonah, who was told to "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me." (Jonah 1:2) God wants us to be like John the Baptist and the disciples, who warned people against sin and told the masses that they must repent. God wants you and me to speak up!
I think that people forget that the word "judging" has many definitions. By judging in the above instances, we are, again, looking at the facts (the evidence or fruit of one's life) and then sharing the gospel with people accordingly. We are rebuking, reproving, and warning. You would agree, would you not, that to rebuke someone, I must make a "judgment call." To warn, rebuke, or reprove someone of the consequences of some action they are performing, I would have had to look at the evidence (their actions) and come to a conclusion or a judgment (comparing what they've done against God's Word) and then share the gospel accordingly! It is not against God's will for us to do this, yet people take the above-shown verse out of context and say that we are never to judge anyone.
To further illustrate this point, here is yet another example for you: This type of judging is similar to if a police officer saw you driving on the freeway at 85 miles per hour in a 65-mph zone. The police officer turns on his siren, catches up with you, and then pulls you over. You are warned by the officer or cited for your excessive speed. He tells you what the law is and that you have broken the law. Now, would you get angry and say, "Officer, you are judging me! You have no right." Of course you wouldn't. If anything, when faced with the law and your transgression of it, your mouth should be shut! And, hopefully, you will be willing to see the danger of your actions, admit your fault, and turn from your speeding ways. Ultimately, the officer is an agent of a higher authority and is just doing his job, and similarly we Christians are agents to a Higher Authority, God Himself, and are to warn people of sin and its consequences, share with them the laws of God and their transgression of those laws, and then expound on who Jesus is and His great sacrifice.
Now, "judging" here does NOT mean that I have any authority to condemn and mete out final sentence to those who have broken God's laws, anymore than that police officer would have the right to lock someone up into a homemade jail that he made in his basement (more on that later in the lesson). But God's Word is clear that I must use the bible to show people their transgression of the law, per chance that they might repent! Here are some verses that show this very thing:
2 Timothy 4:1-5, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
Ezekiel 3:18, 33:8, "When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."
1 Corinthians 4:14, "I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you."
Luke 24:47, "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Colossians 1:28, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:"
Acts 26:20, "But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance."
Proverbs 24:24-25, "He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him; but to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them."
Ezekiel 22:2, "Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt show her all her abominations."
Reader, we are supposed to warn people of their wicked ways to save their lives!!! God's Word makes this plain. And God can use anyone to do this work, even an ex-murderer like Paul or Moses. But make sure that the beam is removed from your own eye so that you are ready and capable to be used by the Lord. And it's great to tell people about mercy and faith, but first you must also tell them about the law and judgment (Matthew 23:23).
There always has been and there always will be those who excuse and justify their sins. These people are often the ones who scream the loudest, "You're judging me," but that is only because every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved (John 3:20). Perhaps you yourself have been pulled over by an officer of the law and were mad at him for ruining your day and giving you a ticket, even though you were guilty! But just because people do not like to hear the truth, it does not mean that we should be derelict in our duty as Christians to tell them the whole counsel of God. The bible even tells us that we will run into those who will fight against judgment:
Proverbs 28:5, "Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the Lord understand all things."
Amos 5:10, "They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly."
But, again, just because people don't like to hear the truth when confronted with God's law and may want to call you judgmental, this does not mean that you should be afraid or ashamed to show people God's commands and the error of their ways. The bible tells us that God's law is good, as long as we use it lawfully: 1 Timothy 1:8-11 reads, "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust."
A person will truly be on the path of salvation if they will stop pretending to be righteous (those who make excuses and justify their wrongdoings) and instead will admit that they have broken God's law. But if you, Fellow Christian, are too scared or unwilling to show them these things, who will? If you are trying to "attract more bees with honey," i.e., not sharing the whole counsel of God, how can someone ever truly recognize the depth of their sin or appreciate the wonder of God's shed blood and mercy?
Friends, if and when there is no judgment and people are afraid to call wrongdoing sin, anarchy will reign. Evil will fester and grow. We are living in a time similar to the time of Isaiah 59:14-15 where it was said, "Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment."
I hope that you will turn judgment forward again, pick the truth back up, and not be afraid to proclaim the Lord's WHOLE Word!
So in conclusion, as we have seen, yes, I am to judge. But I am to judge rightly! And if I am shamelessly and unrepentantly sinning yet trying to "judge" those who are committing my same sins, I am truly only condemning myself by my words. So make sure the beam is removed from your own eye so that you are ready and capable to be used by the Lord.
(There is MUCH more to say on the topic of Judging. I hope that you will read all of these lessons on this subject.)