|Topic: Judging||Type: Article||Author: A. Allison Lewis|
Judge not . . . you hypocrite [MAT 7:1-5]
Judging is a popular topic. It is amazing how people like to quote or rather misquote the Bible when they hear something they do not like. Some years ago I read a long letter in a Newfoundland, CANADA newspaper on judging. After about 20 inches of very strong judgment of someone else the woman wrote: "Judge not that ye be not judged." A couple of months later in another newspaper a man wrote an article judging someone, using the strongest language possible and then closed with a paragraph saying: "But as God through Jesus Christ has taught us that we should not judge, that judgment is His, we shall not judge but leave judgment up to God." He spent his whole letter, 5 columns wide and 7 inches deep, judging someone else. He judged severely and then had the gall to write that "the Bible says not to judge so we will leave that up to God." Unfortunately these examples are not unusual. The vast majority of people are just as hypocritical. Most people do not know what the Bible is talking about when it says Judge not.
Judging is mentioned several times in the Bible. What does the Bible teach concerning the matter of judging? A lot of people like to keep on judging and say that THEIR judging is really not judging. The name one gives to the activity of judging is not important. Judging is judging. As one cannot make a horse into a cow by calling the horse a cow neither can they make judging into something else merely by calling it something else. The dictionary says that judging is "the pronouncing of an opinion or a decision." The meaning is very plain. The dictionary speaks of a judge as "one who has knowledge sufficient to decide on the merits of a question." We can all understand that knowledge is necessary to make a judgment. The Apostle Paul uses the word in this very same way when he wrote the Corinthians: I speak as to wise men judge what I say [1CO 10:15]. In other words he believed that he had given them sufficient information so that they could make a proper judgment. He then instructed his readers to use that knowledge to make a judgment.
According to the plain meaning of the word judge (i.e.) one who renders "an opinion or a decision" everyone is constantly, of necessity judging. The judgments may be good or bad, moral or immoral, right or wrong, very knowledgeable or wild guesses, very important or of absolutely no consequence, but judgments we all must make. Judgment is necessary.
Judging means judging--making a decision based on the information or knowledge that one has. Judging is making a choice. Whether it is the clothing one buys, the house one lives in, the car one drives, a thousand and one other things which constantly come our way, including the moral decisions we make concerning the actions of others, we will all be making judgments.
Matthew 7:1 is a frequently quoted verse on the subject of judging. Read verses 1-5 very carefully. Do NOT take the first verse, Judge not that you be not judged, out of its context and give it a meaning totally contrary to the passage. Many people, with glee and smugness, quickly quote that verse when someone says something that they do not like. You are judging me or you are judging someone else they say and then claim this text of the Bible to JUDGE you! Read the verse in its context. Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the kind of judgment you judge, you will be judged: and with what measure you measure, it will be measured to you. And why do you see the chip in the eye of your brother, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, let me cast out the chip out of your eye, and behold, a beam is in your own eye? YOU HYPOCRITE, first cast out the beam out of your own eye, and then will you see clearly to cast out the chip out of the eye of your brother. If you read this carefully you will note the person to whom it is addressed--the HYPOCRITE. If you are a hypocrite you had better watch out for God says For with the kind of judgment you judge, you will be judged. He is not talking about someone having the facts before him and then making a judgment. He is not saying here that it is wrong to call a man who is a liar, a liar. A lie is a lie and if a man is a liar, call him what he is. To say that a man who does not believe in Jesus Christ is not a Christian is not wrong. He may, for example, be an atheist and you are simply making a statement of fact. The label atheist is not appropriate for the man who follows Christ, and the label Christian is not appropriate for the man who denies that there is a God. We can illustrate the passage, for example, with a liar who calls another man a liar thus condemning himself with his own words and God will severely judge the hypocrite.
I hear parents telling their children "don't swear or lie." Then what does that little one see Mom and Dad doing?--lying and continually using God's name in vain. You use foul and filthy language and you tell your little ones "don't do it!" HYPOCRITE! First clean up your own act. First get your own heart right and then you will be ready to teach those little ones. Perhaps your problem is with your neighbor or your employer or employee. Perhaps you cheat on your wife or your income tax and then condemn others who do the same thing--YOU HYPOCRITE. Cast the beam out of your own eye then you will see clearly to remove the little chip from your neighbors eye.
The command of the Bible is not against making a true and righteous judgment. The command is a severe warning to the HYPOCRITES that their judgment from God will be with the same severe manner with which they have treated others. Judge not . . . YOU HYPOCRITE.
We are all continually making judgments. I enjoy doing all sorts of things and one of them used to be working on our car. There have been times when I bought cheap tools because of the "good price." Those cheap tools many times never even finished the first job before breaking. I have also bought some expensive tools. Now I buy only the more expensive tools because I know that, even though they are expensive, they are also good and even if I should break one it will be replaced at no extra cost to me. I have made a judgment that it is better to pay more initially for a tool that will last than to pay a little for a tool that will not do the job.
As we go to the grocery store we are faced with a multitude of judgments. You look at the fruit and vegetables. Sometimes what you are after looks very good. Sometimes it takes you five minutes to pick through what is there to get barely useable ones. Sometimes one must walk away without anything and hope another store will have something useable. Yes, we make judgments. Regardless of the product or situation we are all continually making judgments.
When it comes to religion we are going to make judgments. When it comes to the Bible we are going to make judgments. Do you believe it is God's Word or do you believe it is simply the words of certain ignorant men of a primitive culture of long ago? You take the Bible and you compare it with perhaps the Koran. You are going to have to make a choice. You cannot accept both as the Word of God because they contradict one another. Or maybe it is the Book of Mormon or any number of other "sacred" religious writings that you wish to compare and judge. They each present their own way and say "these are the things we go by--this is the true religion". You must make a judgment. By no means can they all be right. The wrong judgment will mean eternal doom. I trust that as we present the Scripture and as we point out its truthfulness that you will say "Yes, I believe the Bible." "I believe that the Everlasting One is ultimately the author of the Bible."
The greatest judgment any one will ever make is to correctly answer Pilate's famous question: WHAT WILL I DO THEN WITH JESUS [MAT 27:22]? You may say I am not going to decide. I am not going to make a judgment. But you will! Neutral you cannot be. Jesus said, He who is not with Me is against Me [MAT 12:30]. You must make the judgment yourself. Jesus said: But as many as received Him, to those gave He power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe on His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God [JOH 1:12, 13]. What will YOUR judgment be? Repentant sinners who call on Him, Jesus will receive [ROM 10:13-17].
Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly they are ravening wolves [MAT 7:15]. Our world is full of people clothed in religious garb and others dressed in ordinary clothes who claim to be speakers for God who are in fact FALSE PROPHETS--ravening wolves. The Lord Jesus tells us plainly to beware of them. In other words we need enough knowledge of Bible teaching to be able to JUDGE which religious teachers are true and which are false. Matthew chapter 7 tells Christians that they are responsible to make judgments in religious matters. For too long men in the pew have been refusing their responsibility and saying that the care of religious teaching is the responsibility of the religious leaders. They ARE responsible but so is everyone who becomes a child of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When a wolf comes in, action needs to be taken. Check every teacher and his teachings very carefully by the Bible. False prophets have infested the land. If you are a Christian God expects you to JUDGE whether what you hear is true or false. Whether it is of God or of the Devil. God expects YOU to check them. God expects YOU to JUDGE them according to His Book, the Bible. Paul praised his hearers in the city of Berea who searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so--that is whether Paul's teaching was true to the Bible (the Old Testament) [ACT 17:10-12].
Whoever transgresses [sins] and does not remain in the doctrine of Christ HAS NOT GOD. He who remains in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son. If there come any to you and brings not this doctrine, do not receive him into your house NEITHER BID HIM GOD-SPEED, for he who bids him God-speed is partaker of his evil deeds [2JO 9-11]. Many of you reading these verses can think of many who would fit into this category. You know some who teach "salvation" by faith PLUS WORKS. You know people who do not believe what the Bible says about Jesus or what Jesus says about Heaven and Hell or the New Birth and its necessity. You know some of those who deny the Virgin Birth and the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus. These may be very religious and even quite moral living people but they are NOT Christians. The world looks at many religious people and their sacrificial good works on behalf of the desperately poor of this world and very highly praise them as saints of God, who in fact are but wolves in sheep's clothing. Many highly respected religious leaders are even having religious meetings with leaders of NON-Christian religions! Anyone who cooperates with these or recognizes them as Christians is bidding God-speed to infidels. You JUDGE according to the teaching of the Bible and then obeying the Bible come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord [2CO 6:17].
Jesus said: I am the way, the truth and the life, NO ONE comes to the Father but by Me [JOH 14:6]. Make your JUDGMENT. Will it be Jesus--the ONLY way--or one of the multitude of wolves in sheep's clothing so prevalent in today's world. Will you follow the Bible or the vain philosophies of wicked men. WHAT WILL YOUR JUDGMENT BE?
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This Page Last Updated: 12/03/98 A. Allison Lewis firstname.lastname@example.org