by Ullas Nair
This teaching of the Lord is clear and precise yet even this simple teaching can be misconstrued by many to say that we cannot judge, period. The scope of my presentation will be to show that we can indeed make judgments on others based on the Scripture, and that there is also a type of judgement that is not correct in God's eye.
The common argument by the inconsistent and unrighteous people who are also
insincere is that "the Bible tells us not to judge". This defensive stance is
the opposite of what the Bible clearly teaches. We are plainly told "judge not
according to appearance but judge righteous judgements" (John 7: 24). All
judgments were not condemned. Is it any wonder at all that God had a whole book
in the Old Testament called the book of "Judges". This was the period where God
used wise and righteous men to be judges over his people. Sadly though, man's
"wisdom" soon made them ask for kings, to be like the nations around them. So
there you have it, a book of judges.
God would not have us be mote hunters or avengers. A mote is a tiny speck. A
beam, by contrast, is a big piece of log and the location of both the mote and
the beam is the eye. Why the eye? Because "the lamp of the body is the eye, if
therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light, but if
your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness" (Matt. 6: 22-23).
It is an evil eye that cannot see or admit its own moral blindness and sin yet
try and correct the sight of others.
The mote and the beam is once again illustrated in the parable of the
Pharisee and the publican in Luke 18: 19 ff. The Lord told the story of two men
who went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee, self righteous, boastful and
blinded by his pride stood by himself with the beam protruding from his eye and
prayed. He had his evil eye on another, good eye on himself and no eye on God.
All his praying was useless because he was so concerned with the mote, that
speck on the eye of the publican. The man with the mote went home feeling
justified, because he had his eyes on himself, his self guilt and humility. The
Pharisee who could not see his own shortcomings was in no position to make
judgments on others; this is the type of judging that finds no favour in God's
eye. Jesus wants us to examine ourselves in a sincere manner to ensure that we
do not practice things that we accuse others of.
To the brethren in Rome, Paul wrote "Therefore you are inexcusable, O man
whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn
yourself, for you who judge practice the same things... and do you think that
you, 0 man who practice such things that you shall escape the judgment of God"
(Rom. 2: 1-3). What it means plainly is that those who criticise actively should
not be surprised when they are criticised or judged by the same standards. A
very serious warning.
So there we have it. If we judge others we must ourselves not be hypocrites.
This is the type of judgement in which we are forbidden to engage. "Judge not
that ye be not judged" (Matt. 7: 1); but some have again twisted this to mean
that we cannot judge at all. Going back to the definitions, we are talking about
making an opinion, coming to a conclusion of, determining etc.
The denominationalists often use passages like Matthew 7: 1 to shut
themselves off from any thing that is contrary to their beliefs. They come to
the ultimate conclusion that, since no one could be certain of any Biblical
point that was so certain that a person could stand on it, so let us each do his
own thing without criticism from others. The "You don't judge me and I won't
judge me" principle. What a shame they can't even stand on their own doctrines!
In our daily living we make judgements everyday: at homes, at our workplace,
at play, at almost every situation. Why should we stop when it comes to the most
important area, that of Christian conduct? It is in I Cor 6, where Paul censured
the Corinthian congregation for not making judgments in a given area. Paul
chastised them that, as being Saints, they failed to judge in the matter of
difference between brethren, so that someone else was needed to judge between
them. This example will show that Christians can make righteous judgments.
Righteous judgment involves two things:
"Righteous" can also be defined as ethical, blameless, honest, upright,
integrity, goodness, morality. When we study the term righteousness, we realise
what the Bible has to say about God, that is God is:
These are but some verses that talk about our God who is righteous. And God
expects his faithful to act in righteousness (1 Tim 6: 11; 2 Tim 2: 22). We are
to seek righteousness (Matt. 6: 33). Thus when it comes to judging others or
one's own self, we have to deal righteously, if not we will not be pleasing to
Christian judgements should not be:
We must not rush into judgements without gathering all the facts. We cannot
attempt to judge what we do not know either. Who can judge the inner person?
Only God. Let us not let "righteous judgements" be a reason for "looking into
the heart"; let's not indict the motives of others or the brethren. These are
the realms of God, who alone knows the thoughts of all men, even their innermost
The Bible indeed exhorts us to be people who judge righteously, this
The aim of judging others is not meant to condemn a person but to be
constructive in addressing their sin and to elicit a change in that person's
actions or deeds. Throughout the Bible we see men judging men:
This lesson will not be complete if we do not look at John 8: 1-11. The
example of the women taken in adultery is a case of the Pharisees demanding
God's judgement, yet unable to see their own sin. Is it an oversight that they
did not bring the man involved in this event, or selective justice? They had
brought this woman to the Lord to test him (wrong motive) and they had hoped to
"fix" the Lord. But the Lord in his calm and clear manner asked "he who is
without sin among you let him throw a stone at her first" (John 8: 1-11). Jesus
did not condone her sin but He could see that the Pharisees were not out for
justice for the sake of justice. They were hypocrites.
What if we go to the extremes and say leave all judging to God? The net
result will be:
These are not Biblical concepts but man's doctrines: it will encourage sins and weaken the body of Christ
THE JUDGEMENT FORMULA/PRINCIPLES
To the recipient of corrections or judgements I have this to say based on the
Is the judge of the criminal court who sits upon the judgement seat to
deliver his verdict against an accused person a perfect person? Surely not. Was
Moses perfect in God's sight when he passed judgments on his people? We read
that he had his sins too but he repented and got on with the job at hand. Were
David, Abraham, Jonah, Elijah and the apostles perfect in all their deeds?
In Genesis 6: 9 the Bible states that "Noah was a just man, perfect in his
generations..". Noah was perfect yet we read in Genesis 9: 21 he was found to be
in a drunken state. Once again "perfect" is to be blameless or having integrity:
only God is perfect in every area.
The Bible states that all have sinned (Rom. 3: 23). Yet when we look at
making a opinion, or evaluating or judging another, we are addressing a
particular issue at hand: that is the point we need to focus on.