To Judge or not to Judge, that is the Question

Read Mt 7.1-6, 15-20

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)

It’s a popular defense; “Who are you to judge me?” That’s a good question that deserves a good answer. You could be the judge who condemns to Hell, the loving protector of a friend, or the guardian of the flock.

Jesus gives His admonition not to judge others in Matthew 7.1 and we would do well to understand thoroughly what He was talking about. In the same chapter, He also says that we’ll know a tree by its fruit (Mt 7.18) and recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Mt 7.15). It would be hard to do either without the powers of discernment and evaluation. So when Jesus says don’t judge, is He saying make no evaluation? We can recognize at least three points in His teaching.

First, there’s a big difference between judgment that is condemning and that which is discerning. Condemning judgment carries with it an attitude of superiority and arrogance. It assumes a position to which we have no authority. On the other hand, discernment is appropriate not only to determine truth and falsehood, but it is the beginning of correction and healing (2 Ti 4.2). This type of judgment is also important to protect oneself and the flock (Ac 20.28).

Secondly, Jesus was getting at the heart of how judgment or evaluation should be made. Notice He told us to recognize the log in our own eye, meaning a self awareness of our own shortcomings. I will approach someone about their sin in a much gentler manner when I recognize the sin in my own life (Gal 6.1). When correcting others, our attitude is everything.

And third, I cannot act like the 3 monkeys who do not acknowledge evil. Jesus says, “You will know a tree by its fruit.” One must make a judgment in order to evaluate the type of fruit. One must make a judgment in order to keep from casting what is holy before dogs or pearls before swine (Mt 7.6). But at the same time, I can withhold condemnation and an attitude of pride by reminding myself, “Except by the grace of God, there go I.” FJ87

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© 2008, 2009 Following Jesus by Chuck Wood All Rights Reserved

Author: Chuck & Deb

Chuck & Deb love Jesus!

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