How many times have we heard the words, “Don’t judge me” or maybe the phrase, “The Bible teaches that we must not judge others?” Most in the world today dislikes doctrine with its restrictive principles. It craves liberty and compromise. It loudly advocates the “let me alone to do as I please” philosophy. This present world dislikes anyone who will bring it face to face with responsibilities and sinful conduct. Consequently, many go to Matthew 7:1-4 to fortify their idea of “no judging at all.” Some are prone to justify their lifestyles and want others to overlook sinful activities by saying, “I will leave you alone if you will leave me alone.”
The question we must ask and answer is what does God say? I believe that God intends and requires that we make judgments as to activities of ourselves as well as others.
The word judge, (κρίνω) means to make a distinction; to separate; to exercise judgment upon; to call to account. The word does not mean to form an opinion. It is not imputing wrong motives for others actions. The wrong standard is never to be used, because that same standard will eventually be applied to us. (Matthew 7:2). Any judgment must be based upon the proper standard, which is God's word (John 12:48).
We must ask, “What judgments are forbidden?” It is true; we do not pass eternal judgment upon people. Everyone will ultimately stand before the great judge on the final day (Matthew 25:31 33; 7:23). We must never make judgments which are based upon an inadequate standard. It must never be based upon what I think or what I feel. All judgments must be based upon God's word (1 John 4:1).
What judgments are we allowed to make? In 1 Corinthians chapter 5, the apostle Paul instructed the church to withdraw themselves from an individual within the church. Also, in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 we read, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly...” In doing so, judgments must be applied. A determination is to be made whether or not the person is living in sin. Thus, the congregation MUST make a judgment concerning the situation. JUDGING IS A MUST! To oppose religious error and false teachers, we must make the judgment that they are wrong. Jesus did (Matthew 15:9), Paul taught the same, (Galatians 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:16 17; Titus 3:10). John makes it clear as to how judgments are to be made. He said, “Judge not according to appearance, BUT JUDGE righteous judgment” (John 7:24). And when we read farther down in Matthew chapter 7 we are told that we could know “them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15 16). We must always remember, the purpose of making judgments is to encourage the sinner to repent so as to save a soul from damnation (Luke 17:3; Matthew 18:15 17).
- by Toney Smith
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