Judge Not? – Nonsense! Yeshua Told Us to Judge!

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Judge Not - Nonsense

Of all the teachings and commentary on this web site, the posts that address the prophetic movement always get the most attention. The feedback I receive from correspondence and face-to-face discussion is either extremely positive or extremely negative. Christians are polarized on the topic of “the prophetic” and exposing sin in the Body of Christ. There seems to be no middle ground to stand on.

When I am being confronted by my detractors, they will inevitably quote “Judge not, that you be not judged,” from Matthew 7:1.

It’s a guaranteed response.

When I hear this overused mantra, it doesn’t anger me, but I do have to admit a certain level of frustration. This reply just reinforces the truth that people would rather repeat what they’ve been told by their leaders and peers than pick up the Bible and study His Word for themselves.

Exactly WHAT is Judging?

I want to take a closer look at Matthew 7, but before we break down the Scriptures into smaller segments, we need to take a good, long look at the definition of the word “judge.” Society defines “judging” an entirely different way than we see in the Word of God – or the dictionary, for that matter.

When I look up the word “Judge” in the dictionary [the verb form of “judge” is applicable to this study], the definition is as follows:

JUDGE: (1) to pass legal judgment on; pass sentence on (a person) (2) to hear evidence or legal arguments in (a case) in order to pass judgment; adjudicate; try (3) to form a judgment or opinion of; decide upon critically (4) to decide or settle authoritatively (5) to infer, think, or hold as an opinion; conclude about or assess

We can see from the definition above that to “judge” someone is to assess a person’s guilt and render a punishment commensurate to that guilt. Judging affects how we feel about a person, and how we treat that person. We can see an example of this in the book of James.

James 2:1-4
“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?”

Characteristics of Judgment

Notice how the person guilty of unrighteous judgment shows partiality to the rich person and disdain for the poor person? They judge them based on their station in life and treat them accordingly. This is a correct definition of judgment.

But here is where our understanding goes awry. Pointing out sin or wrongdoing in the Body of Christ is NOT the same as judging someone. If I tell someone “your sin is an abomination in God’s eyes,” I am NOT judging that person, I am merely saying something about the sin this person is dealing with.

If I say “Your sin is an abomination, YOU are an idiot and THIS is what I’m going to make sure happens to you,” I am passing a sentence on that person. When I form an opinion of someone’s worth and treat them accordingly, I am walking in judgment.

This may stop some people in their tracks and say, “Whoa! I don’t want to be guilty of THAT! I don’t want THAT kind of sin on my record when Yeshua comes back!”

Then what do you do with the verses that tell us TO judge? What right do we have to give one verse precedence over another?

The truth is, we DON’T have that right, but we DO have the responsibility to study the Word of God (in its entirety) and figure out what God is saying to us. There is a danger in accepting just one passage of Scripture and preferring it over a slough of other verses that seem to declare the opposite.

The Truth About “Judge Not”

I’m not claiming to know EVERYTHING on this topic, but one thing I DO know is that the overused “judge not” passage (Matthew 7:1-5) should NOT be used as a “trump card” on the topic of judgment.

When we carefully analyze this scripture, we will see what a weak and feeble argument “judge not” is, when used in a situation where sin is being pointed out either with a person or with the Body, in general. The truth is, if you read all the verses in context, Yeshua was giving us criteria to use WHILE judging. He was NOT telling us that we shouldn’t judge.

Let’s take a closer look at Matthew 7:1-5 and see how Yeshua felt about judging.

Matthew 7:1
“Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Most people will faithfully quote this verse as they naively buy into the errant mindset that we shouldn’t judge or “find fault” with anyone and leave all discernment and all critique in the hands of their make-believe “god.” I say “make-believe” because their god is not the God of the Bible, but a god of their own making, a god that they were made to believe would look just like them!

Yeshua wasn’t finished when He said “Judge not, that you be not judged.” He had more to say about the topic that would clarify exactly what He meant. Let’s take a good look at the following verses (v2-5). There’s more to this topic than meets the eye.

Judgment For Believers

Matthew 7:1-2
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

These verses are commonly understood to mean that we shouldn’t ever judge anyone at all, because we don’t want God to judge us. This understanding has to be incorrect, because the Word says that we will be judged by our words and by our deeds.

Matthew 12:37
“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Romans 2:5-6
“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds'”

In both of the verses above, it is BELIEVERS who are being addressed, not sinners. And, while it’s debatable whether or not this judgment has to do with sending someone to heaven or hell, one thing is certain, God’s judgment is unavoidable for all of us.

Clouded Judgment

We can see from verse 2 that whatever judgment we use, we will be judged in like manner, and with the same severity, so it is a serious thing to level a judgment against someone. But we need to remember, this is NOT talking about pointing out sin, it’s talking about being biased in our treatment of others and how we sentence or punish that person in public (or in private).

With this understanding of what judgment is, we need to take a careful look at ourselves and make sure we have no planks in our own eyes.

Matthew 7:3
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye;” and look, a plank [is] in your own eye?

This verse is asking a question. It’s saying, “Why would you want to judge someone for having something in his eye when you have something in yours as well? You both have the same problem! In fact, your problem is bigger than your brother’s problem!”

Indeed, those who want to punish or condemn someone for something that they are also guilty of are definitely out of line.

Don’t be a Hypocrite

Matthew 7:5
“Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Right here, Yeshua calls the person who judges a hypocrite! A hypocrite is one who points the finger of judgment at another, who is guilty of the same crime or misdeed.

If I call out the sin of lust in my brother’s life, but I have a problem with drinking, does that make me a hypocrite? No, it doesn’t. But if I ALSO have an issue with lust in my life, that makes me a hypocrite.

So, is Yeshua saying not to judge? Absolutely not! He is saying not to judge when you have the same issue as the person you are judging. Both people in the Matthew 7 analogy had WOOD in their EYEShence the label “hypocrite.” One didn’t have wood in their eye and the other have a bad leg. They were both guilty of the same sin.

In this verse, He wants to make sure the person judging SEES CLEARLY before he/she passes judgment on another. If we were to bypass judgment in every situation, Yeshua would have never given us that option. He would have simply said “Do not judge anyone, ever …leave it all up to me!” and that would have been the end of it.

Let me make this a little more personal.

I still have the temptation to listen to rock music. I AM in the process of “breaking free” from this sin, but I’m not perfect yet, so you will not catch me giving someone a lecture on the evils of rock ‘n roll, nor will you see me punishing them. That plank is still in my eye, so I would be a total hypocrite if I did that to someone else.

However, I’ve never beat on my wife, and I never will. I can righteously and truthfully say, “Men who beat on women are wimps and sissies, and are in serious danger of burning in hell. They need to repent!” And if they beat on their wife (or any girl) in front of me, I might dole out punishment.

There is no plank in my eye, with this sin.

Paul Agrees with Yeshua

In Romans 2, Paul also talks about what happens when a believer judges another while being guilty of the same sin:

Romans 2:1-11
“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. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds:’ eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness–indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.

Judgment in the Church

In the verse below, we see Paul judging a situation in the Corinthian church without even being there or performing a “first-hand” investigation! This shows us that, when it came to sin (and especially sexual sin – now rampant in the Body), Paul was ruthless, and instructed this congregation to be ruthless as well.

1 Corinthians 5:3-5
“For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Reading further in 2 Corinthians, we find that the congregation actually followed through with Paul’s orders and kicked the guy out of the church! This type of action is considered intolerant by today’s seeker-friendly congregations. They’ve developed an entire theology around this abominable system, and it is gaining more and more traction each day.

Later on, the Corinthian church welcomed the man back with open arms. They were ruthless with sin, but were likewise quick to forgive a person, if he had truly repented. You see, their definition of “Love” (and God’s Love) contained a hatred of sin. This is something we are sorely missing today, in our faith.

No Judgment of Sin Gives the Devil an Open Door

Do you see how dangerous isolating a Scripture or taking a Scripture out of context can be? Because Christians have adopted a “judge not” philosophy, sin has thrived in the Body. The devil knows that he can deceive and con and steal, right in the midst of our marriages, relationships and meetings, because the Body has grown ineffective and inert. When the saints do not wear the Breastplate of Righteousness, their hearts are open and exposed before the enemy.

Psalm 141:5
“Let the righteous strike me; [It shall be] a kindness. And let him rebuke me; [It shall be] as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it.”

Proverbs 9:8
“Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise [man], and he will love you.”
Proverbs 13:18
“Poverty and shame [will come] to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored.”

This is a call to the saints! We have given up too much ground! It is time for us to stop hiding behind the fear of man and start calling sin out in the open. Of course, we are to do this with discernment. I’m not saying that we should crush the tender-hearted or destroy those who are barely holding on.

However, when you see people who call themselves brothers (or sisters) sitting comfortably in the midst of their sin, or (worse yet) justifying and making excuses for their sin, and causing others to sin, it is time for action!

Remember what James said:

James 5:19-20
“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

Isn’t that what it’s all about – saving people from their sins? And notice that the “sinner” in these verses is a person who has “wandered from the truth?”… Selah

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19 Comments

  1. Marie and Kevin,

    You might enjoy this piece by the recently-deceased atheist essayist, Christopher Hitchens on teh spirit of Christmas.

    I particular appreciate his point in comparing a North American Christmas to Ramadan – a month-long compulsory “celebration”. Would that we could go back to seeing the weeks leading up to Christmas once again as Advent – a time of hope and yearning, but tinged with the knowledge that Christ’s second coming won’t be like his first; but rather will be a coming in glory for judgment (cue Kevin’s next post…)

    1. Chris Johnson has done extensive articles on Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. Of course, Kevin already covered Halloween, but if you really want to get into the history of these holidays in detail, here are the links to Chris’ articles:

      Christmas:
      http://www.creationliberty.com/articles/christmas.php

      Easter:
      http://www.creationliberty.com/articles/easter.php

      Halloween:
      http://www.creationliberty.com/articles/halloween.php

      Kevin does a great job of getting to the point quickly and easily, and gives some good information without having to spend a lot of time reading, but Chris goes more in depth, and his articles are quite lengthy. In some cases, it’s just a matter of how much detail you really want.

  2. A good word!

    I wanted to see how Kevin’s reading lined up with Matthew 23, where Jesus lambastes the Pharisees for making a big show, but load burdens on people that they are not themselves prepared to help them shoulder. (v. 4 – is this hypocrisy?) They’re called hypocrites for preventing others entering God’s Kingdom, which they themselves don’t enter (v. 14), for turning proselytes into sons of hell even worse than they are; for tithing while neglecting the more important matters of the law (v. 23), for having ritual cleanliness while remaining filthy inside (vv. 23-8), and commemorating the prophets murdered by their ancestors (vv. 29-32). But not for their odd view on when oaths might be binding (vv. 16-22), presumably because in that matter they didn’t set a different standard for others. If I’m right, this coheres well with the analysis of Matt. 7:1-6.

    Do I have it right?

  3. Love the article, good word. I was wondering though what you meant by listening to rock music is a sin?

  4. Eze 3:18-19 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

    This fits perfect with your teaching.

      1. God led me to that verse 3 years ago when I was really struggling to understand if I did the right thing when I felt God wanted me to gently but boldly approach someone with a warning for him/her from God. I was ever so grateful God spelled it out in His Word the responsibility we have before Him when He gives us a prophetic message but I didn’t know this verse existed until AFTER I talked with the person I felt I needed to warn. All I had to go by at the time was my love for Jesus and how much I cared for my friend.

  5. kevin, it all boils down and back to Rom. 8 – walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh. some would say that it is a cop out but it is NOT. Jeremiah tells us in chap. 33, i believe, that HE WILL TEACH US HIS WAYS and write HIS LAWS ON OUR HEARTS – in fact that was my prayer – that i would go to HIS mountain and he would teach us to walk in HIS ways – it is in Is. and in Micah. after HE has taught us, we cannot and must not go back.
    i remember carrying 1 Cor. 13 around with me so that i would Love – i carried a lot of guilt – i cannot love on my own – HIS love has to come through me. the judgment that we have against false doctrine is HIS TRUTH and we should never deny it.
    as far as the prophetic is concerned, it is in HIS word as HE told you to study the prophets in the OT – there was a time that i may have run to see what was going to happen but now i don’t have to – i get it first hand and it is current and up to date.
    we cannot change others – not even ourselves – it is up to HIM to do the changing if we allow HIM to. i only post in the hopes that someone, if only one person, is in the same place that i was in at one time and what i have written might encourage them. What a God we serve!

  6. Wow Kevin, Great one!! You really hit the nail on the head on this one! And did a good job how you worded it as well!

  7. Hey there, Kaveman!
    Very well put. It’s a pet peeve with me, too.

    I visit a lot of political forums, and though I generally don’t have (or take) the time to fully respond as I’d like, I do see many of “The Body” accusing others of “The Body” of judgement. I also see many not of “The Body” accusing brethren of a variety of things.

    You know the type:
    Oh, nice Christian. I’m sure your skydaddy would be proud, or
    According to the word of your skydaddy, you’re not supposed to judge… hypocrite!

    I’ve told a few of them to be careful quoting things from that Book if they don’t know the Author. (I know, shame on me.)

    It always seems to be administered with as much vitriol as they can muster. What they don’t realize is that their anger is directed at us when they are, in fact, angry with the God they say they don’t believe in, and at times it’s hard for me not to take personally. (I get over it pretty easily.)

    I suppose I should type up a couple responses in my own words in order to have something handy to defend against such attacks (maybe I’ll use your article ;), but it’s difficult making something sound “off the cuff” and not “judgemental” when it’s copied and pasted.

    Again, Love the article, Bro!

    I think I’m off to overturn some moneylender’s table, now,
    Shalom!

    Dave

  8. This is one of the greatest tools the devil has used to water down and weaken the Church. Anything “Biblical” you attempt to institute, you are immediately labeled being “judgmental.” The churches have caved to the idea that anything that makes someone “uncomfortable” must not be love or is judging. So now everyone just comes to the large churches, do not get involved and after their hour on Sunday morning go back out into the world to act just like the world and feel no guilt. Therefore the Salt has no preserving power and is worthless. Money is so important that few preachers have the boldness to stand and proclaim the real truth regardless of who leaves or who stays.

  9. Kevin & faithful readers,

    One example of what you are teaching can be applied to a different forum concerning the lack of ‘judging prophecy’ by the local congregation. In the 90’s, when more emphasis on prophecy was being performed in congregations, no discernment or correction was being given to ‘prophetic words’. And certainly 1 Cor 14 was not not being applied at all.

    I visited such a congregation (any many more in the ensuing years). There was this woman who would always prophesy at each meeting. I would always feel a ‘check’ in my spirit that something was off when she spoke. I asked about whether the congregation needs to be taught how to judge prophecy, but leader didn’t want to discourage prophecy, they were just happy to have prophecy being performed in their congregations. Some people would even quote me not to “quench the Spirit”. Just another example of God’s people having “sound-byte theology’.

    It wasn’t long before this church fell apart by not obeying matters that the Father was addressing. False prophets will ruin the people (2Pet 2:1; Prov26:28). An interesting note, is this woman who prophesied would wear outfits that clashed (e.g. purple and orange), kind of a representation in the natural on how she ‘clashes’ in the spirit.

    I would admonish anyone who need to address another to remember Galatians 6:1

    “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

    Notice that it address those who are “spiritual” will address them in gentleness. That doesn’t mean you can’t be forthright or bold. But the goal is to restore a brother, not win the scriptural argument.

    Blessings

  10. Well, I’m well an truly condemned and don’t stand a chance anymore.
    Feel quite deflated if God is real. I’ve had it!

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