Thursday, September 18, 2008

To Judge Or Not To Judge?

I have been wonderfully provoked to think on the topic of judging recently. This is such a touchy subject, with so many extremes!
I was raised in an environment of strong, surface, judgments being the norm for any Christian. By surface, I mean such things as, makeup, hair length, pants on ladies, or whether or not you read the King James Bible determined whether or not you are a "real" Christian. Most of us can see how ridiculous this is but there is a much more complicated level of judging.
While we are clearly not to "cast stones" the reality of what that means has been greatly diluted! To cast stones was literally to beat someone to death. There was no room for repentance. It is not casting stones to declare that that adulterous woman was in sin and needed to repent.
Jesus has given us the ability to repent of all sin and become a new creation. It is imperative that we do not consider it "judging" to see when we or another are in need of that repentance!
While the Bible commands that we spread the gospel of repentance, ( Mat. 4:17, Luke 13:5) we are shamed if we tell someone that they need it, as being judgmental!
There are two types of judging. One is to discern good versus evil, which we are commanded to do.
The other is to pass judgment, or consequence, which is God’s job!
First, I believe that it is humility. We must not consider ourselves above another person, in value.
Second, is honesty? The word of God condemns HYPOCRYTICAL judging but demands righteous judgment in the body of Christ!
Third, we must use only Gods Word on issues as our guide, and not our personal opinions!
When we see that someone is committing fornication, it is not judging to say that they are in sin because the BIBLE clearly says that they are!
To call sins of choice "mistakes" is a way of softening the reality of their repulsiveness to God. Sex is not a "mistake", it is a choice. You cannot expect anyone to believe that you just happened to trip, and fall down naked under a naked man..... If we do not start facing our sins and admitting what they really are, we will never be right with God!
If a Christian smokes a cigarette, cussed, lost their temper or some other noticeable error, it is certainly NOT for me to say where there heart is! I have seen people pass these arrogant judgments numerous times.
Who are you, who judge another’s imperfections? That man who cusses may have spent 40 years in a gang or prison and his faith and purity of love may be more beautiful to God that yours has ever been!
On the other hand, if someone who claims Christianity is pregnant out of wedlock, sleeping with their boyfriend or is showing obvious sin, it is our duty, as the body of Christ, to say that it is absolutely wrong.
Do not make excuses for sin. Jesus NEVER did. Rather, show the lost one the right way to go and MAKE SURE THAT THEY KNOW THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY!!
I have certainly committed my share of sins! Repentance is the only thing that brings peace, but it is never comfortable when you are shown the need for it!
As for Bristol Palin, I have no emotional reaction to her. She is just one more, of thousands of girls, who was living in sin. I am glad that she did not murder her baby and I hope that she has repented and been saved! Do I judge her heart, at this time? I cannot. Do I judge her becoming pregnant out of wedlock? That is simple; the Bible states that she was separated from God, committing sin, in rebellion. If I think of her, I will pray for God’s love and holiness to rule her life from this point on!
Here are some good articles that I found.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard, "Judge not, lest you be judged", I'd be thousands of dollars richer. Let's break down these verses in question shall we to get at the truth. Matthew 7:1-5 will be my focus but as usual I will be cross referencing these texts as well.

"Judge not, lest you be judged"- Matthew 7:1. Guess what people? Everyone will be judged according to what they have done in their body. "We must ALL appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, ACCCORDING TO WHAT HE HAS DONE, whether good or bad"- 2 Corinthians 5:10. I don't know about you but I choose to practice discernment in this body and to help others see error in doctrine whenever possible. "Some save with fear, pulling them out of the fire"- Jude 23.

What have you done for the body of Christ? Have you ignored errors of doctrine? Have you watched potential brothers and sisters go down the spiritual drain without even lifting as much as a finger to help pull them out of whatever mire has them bound? Matthew 7:1 is as far as "Judge Not'ers" seem to go. "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; And with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you"- Matthew 7:2.

If you were an alcoholic and advised a brother not to drink booze while you did that very thing once home, you would be a hypocrite! "Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?"- Matthew 7:3. Here is the speck and plank argument. Now if you're judging your brother while you have many a plank in your own eye that is very wrong. But what if you don't have a lot of plank's by way of bad doctrine? Are you truly loving your brother if you don't help them in whatever manner possible to remove the speck in their eyes before it grows into an immovable plank?

"Hypocrite! First remove the plank in your own eye, and then you will see CLEARLY to remove the speck out of your brother's eye"- Matthew 7:5. Those that say Christian's are not to judge are wrong! "If a man is overtaken in ANY trespass, YOU WHO ARE SPIRITUAL restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ"- Galatians 6:1-2. Judging is loving your brother or sister so much that you don't desire to see them drown in error. If you fail to love your brother or sister then you willingly watch them drown in moral or spiritual error. "Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth"- 1 John 3:18.

"Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into caotivity to the obedience of Christ AND BEING READY TO PUNISH ALL DISOBEDIENCE WHEN YOUR OBEDIENCE IS FULFILLED"- 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.

How well do you love the brethren? When you fail to judge, or prune, your brothers and sisters in Christ you are doing them a great disservice. In the body of Christ, we are to judge. "What have I to do with judging those who are outside. Those who are outside God judges"- 1 Corinthians 5:12-13. Outside means outside the body of Christ. Those people God will most definately judge at the great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). Some He has already judged and given them over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:28) or to a mind given to strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

Even so that does not negate your responsibility to help pull a brother or sister out of the mire of spiritual or moral distress. "Do you not judge those who are INSIDE?"- 1 Corinthians 5:12. Inside refers to those within the body of Christ. The body of Christ has ill prepared believers for judging or pruning people in peril. The church is sadly largely responsible for this gross error. "Everyone who partakes only of milk (teachings) is UNSKILLED in the word or righteousness for he is a babe"- Hebrews 5:13. The church, for whatever reason, largely is comfortable with keeping their congregations fed on milk teachings. You can find that in evidence as certain themes are repeated over and over again and in large measure thanks to the ecumenical calendar.

Some truth from Rev. D. Kuiper:

Tolerance is the buzzword of the day. We are told that we must tolerate the ideas, words, and actions of each and every segment of society. We may not pass judgment on the character of other people, but must accept them the way they are. What our elected officials do in their private lives must not influence our view of their qualifications for public office. We must accept the lifestyle of homosexuals as (viable!) alternatives to ours. We must cater to the whims and wishes of the feminists. We must not speak of God, lest we anger the atheists.

This attitude of tolerance is found even in the church world today. Many people, claiming to be Christian, will be quick to remind us of Jesus' words that we must not judge ( Matt. 7:1) and that we may not cast a stone because we are no better than the other person ( John. 8:7). This attitude has wreaked havoc in the Christian church, including churches which are Reformed in their heritage. Heresy is no longer denounced, and heretics are no longer disciplined. The foundational teaching of Christianity - that Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came in the flesh, is our only and complete Savior - is denied. We are told to tolerate the religious thinking of non-Christians, because every religion has an element of truth to it, and because salvation is not exclusively for Christians. We must also tolerate in our churches the sinful actions of others. It is not our business if an unmarried couple lives together! It is none of our business if a member of our congregation practices homosexuality! We must not judge them.

Considering this sad state of affairs in the church world today, it is not surprising to learn that the most frequently quoted text of Scripture is no longer John 3:16, but Matthew 7:1

Of those passages which are used to support the idea of tolerance, Matthew 7:1 is perhaps the most often quoted. The text reads: "Judge not, that ye be not judged." It is clear that Jesus here forbids judging. The question, however, is whether Jesus forbids all judging, or only a certain kind of judging. Verse one by itself does not give us an answer to this question. Those who quote only verse one to condemn intolerance ignore the context, verses 2-5, and thus assume that the verse forbids all judging and intolerance. However, one who reads verses 2-5 sees that Jesus does not forbid all judging, but only hypocritical judging. The text in its context ( Matthew 7:1-5) reads as follows:

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 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.

Jesus tells the Jews in verse one not to judge. In verse 2 He gives the reason why they must not judge: the standard which they use to judge others will be the very same standard which others use to judge them. They must not ignore their own sins while condemning the same sins in others. To do this is to judge with a double standard, to judge hypocritically. "Is it not hypocritical to condemn the brother for a little fault, or even to try to help him overcome this fault, when you yourself are guilty of a great fault?" This is the question Jesus was putting before the people.

John 8:7 and 11 are also important. The context is the story of the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery and was brought to Jesus by the scribes and Pharisees. In verse 7, Jesus says to the scribes and Pharisees: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." In verse 11 He speaks to the woman: "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." The advocates of tolerance use these words to argue that one should not condemn others, because he is no better than they.

Although we will explain what it means to judge in more detail later, understand for now that when one judges, he gives a verdict: guilty or innocent. After one is judged, he is sentenced: the guilty person is condemned (sentenced to punishment) and the innocent is set free. The point is that judging and condemning are two distinct actions, related but not identical.

Bearing this in mind, notice that Jesus did in fact judge this woman, but He did not condemn her. By telling her, "Go, and sin no more," Jesus indicates that she did sin. In itself, the Pharisees' accusation was correct, and Jesus judged sin to be sin. This shows intolerance of the sinful action! Following Jesus' example, we must tell sinners to show evidence of genuine repentance by no longer committing sin.

While Jesus did judge the woman, He did not condemn her. She could go free; she would not be put to death. The gospel for penitent sinners is: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" ( Rom. 8:1). This message Jesus gives the woman: Jesus would Himself be condemned for her! He would bear her punishment, that she might go free!

Jesus' answer to the Pharisees exposes their hypocritical judgment in the matter. (Their primary purpose, of course, had nothing to do with the woman; it was to trap Jesus in His own words. Yet Jesus knew that the Pharisees prided themselves in their self-righteousness, and responded in light of this fact.) The Pharisees, Jesus reminds them, were also guilty of sin, and specifically of adultery, whether in the act or in the heart. Because they also were not free from sin, they were as worthy of death as she was. So, by wondering what judgment she ought to have received, they revealed their own hypocrisy and wrong motivation.

John 8:7 and 11 teach us how to deal with others who sin. Verse 11 teaches us that we must desire the sinner's repentance; verse 7 teaches us that we must not do so hypocritically, with wrong motives, or in an improper manner. The passage does not mean, however, that we must never hold each other accountable for our sins (that is, judge sin to be sin).

Outward, superficial judgment-that is, judging simply on the basis of what appears to be the case, without knowing all the facts-is rash, unfair, undiscerning judgment which is contrary to the ninth commandment of God's law. God hates such judging. Righteous judgment is carried out using the law of God as the standard by which to discern whether what appears to be the case actually is the case.


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