Satan is the great deceiver. He is a master at what he does and should never be underestimated. I believe one of his more effective moves in recent decades is to foster social movements which alter core or traditional values. In the last fifty years or so there have been significant social shifts toward equating judging with bigotry, linking moral standards with prejudice, viewing truth as being relative, and confusing what feels good with what is good. These new mores are prominently endorsed in media, they are reflected in newer laws, they are advanced in academia by those deemed enlightened, and they have become the norm on the street.
These social changes, and a misunderstanding of well-known verses such as, Judge not lest ye be judged (Matthew 7:1-3), have quieted the voice and influence of the Church in our culture. In short, many Christians do not defend the faith (1 Peter 3:15) for fear of being labeled a bigot, or because they do not understand that expressing biblical truths in love is biblical, and an expression of love.
Christians are called to share their faith (Matthew 28:18-20) and serve as ‘watchmen’, guarding against the encroachment of sin (Ezekiel 33). These are not suggestions—they are commands, and they evidence a true commitment to the Lord. Believers are often told that Jesus loved and accepted all. It is true that Jesus extended love to all, but He did not accept all behavior—and He was quick and bold in calling-out behavior that conflicted with the moral code of Scripture. Why? Was Jesus mean, or prejudicial, or a bigot? No. Because He loved them, He warned them. Because He cared for sinners, He constantly challenged individuals to recognize, and move away from, sin. Jesus called-out behaviors that hindered spiritual development. So then, the questions is not,
Should a Christian judge? The answer to that question is, Yes—Christians are commanded to speak truth, know Scripture and rightly judge what is right and what is wrong. The question is not, should a Christian judge but rather, how should a Christian judge.
In this teaching I address this sensitive and important issue. The goal is for believers to understand their calling, and be equipped to know how to carry-out that calling. I pray that God will grant you wisdom and boldness as you strive to live for Him.
NOTES FOR THE VIDEO TEACHING, IS IT EVER OK TO JUDGE?
Is it OK or not OK to Judge?
- Judging is prominent in Scripture: The word “judge” in its various forms (judgeth, judging, judgment, judges, etc.) is found over 700 times in Scripture.
Scripture seems to note that it is NOT OK to Judge:
- In John 12 Jesus does not present himself as a judge:
- “…if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world…” (John 12:47)
- Paul told the Christians in Rome not to judge one another (Romans 14:13)
- James said, “he who judges his brother speaks against the law” (James 4:11), but also implied that there can be judgments of others (James 2:12-13).
- Paul taught the Corinthians that they were to judge sinful behavior and guard against sin in the church (1 Corinthians 5:12-13).
- Jesus said: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2).
God is presented as a judge
- “He shall judge…in righteousness, and he shall administer judgments for the people in uprightness.” (Psalm 9:8, 50:6)
- “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King…” (Isaiah 33:22)
Jesus is presented as a judge
- “The Father has committed authority and judgment to the Son.” Jesus spoke of this authority before He ascended to heaven after the Resurrection. (Matt. 28:18)
- “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22)
The call to judge:
- “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things…” (1 Corinthians 2:15)
The call of the church:
- Loving others requires that one graciously correct individuals when they fall into error (Matthew 18; 1 Corinthians 1:11; Galatians 6:1).
- The church has the responsibility to teach sound doctrine and correct erroneous teaching (2 Timothy 2:25, 3:16; Titus 2:1).
- Judge, but not like the Pharisees:
- In Matthew 5:20—7:6, Jesus warns His disciples against following the traditions and practices of the Pharisees, who judged others as if they themselves were beyond judgment. What’s more, they judged by the letter, not the spirit, of the law.
- Judge, but with the right attitude:
- Jesus commanded us, “Do not judge” (Matthew 7:1), but He goes on to suggest that its not the act of judging but the attitude with which it is done that God is most concerned about—”For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged” (Matthew 7:2).
- Do not judge too quickly or without due consideration:
- “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” John 7:24
- “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Proverbs 18:13 (KJV)
- Simon the Pharisee drew Jesus’ rebuke for judging a woman without knowing all of the facts (Luke 7:36-50).
- Do not let your judgments be considered hypocritical: (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16, 7:3-5; Romans 2:1)
- Do not judge without discernment and balance: – We are to be discerning (Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). – We are to consider the whole counsel of God on the matter (Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 4:2).
- We are to judge with gentleness and love (Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 4:15).
- We are to judge in accordance with Scriptural truths (Matthew 16:19). Isaiah 8:20 notes, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Our standard is God’s Word, not our feelings, our traditions, or our opinions.
- Do not judge on disputable matters (Romans 14:2). Don’t make more of a matter than God makes of it. A good example of this is found in Colossians 2:16: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days…”
- We are not to judge with the wrong motive: James 4:11 speaks to this. What you point-out (judge) may be true, but if the reason you’re sharing it is to put an individual in a bad light, or if it is out of jealousy or pride, then the judgement is wrong.
- We are not judge preferentially (Prov. 24:23; Isa. 42:1, 19-21).
- We are to judge with the goal of restoration, not condemnation (Galatians 6:1-4; Matthew 7:1-2).
- We are to judge ourselves first (Matthew 7:4-5; 1 Corinthians 11:3031).
“So you…I have made a watchman…Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.” Ezekiel 33:7-10
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matt.5:14-16