Something that has been cropping up often is this constant rebuke from Christians and non-Christians not to Judge others.
Let us look at this verse in the Bible and dig deep into what this means and what God has to say on this issue.
I truly believe that we are to get a clue. Read the Bible yes, read it everyday but we are to read it in context and discover who wrote it, to whom it was written to and what the purpose was of the message.
We will also read a few verses before and after a verse that has been quoted to discover the really meat of the issue. When you dig for Gold or go to a stream to sift through stones and debris in the water you dig deep and you look carefully and toss out the dirt and go for Gold. we need to glean the true meaning of scripture in order to catch the heart of God and the meaning of the author. Then we can apply it to our own lives and thus learn from what is being said. Any reading of the Bible not followed by careful study and complete understanding is just opinion.
It is just far to easy to just read the Bible as if you were reading a novel but it should be a seeking and knocking and asking of God. What does this mean? Why is it even in the Bible? How does it apply to that particular time in History and the receiver and author's stance.
So let us read the verse that is most quoted. Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. Most often this verse is quoted without the 'that you may not be judged'
What does this mean then. Are we not to Judge at all? Is pointing out to someone their sin wrong? Is it wrong to to even mention another person's sin? Do we just allow them to carry on in their sin?
This is what we will come up with if we stop at this verse but if we will read on we may read a little more about what Jesus was saying here.
Let us read the whole verse and then we will get into who Jesus was speaking to and what life was like at that time.
1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.
2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
4 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?
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.
6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
Here we read that we are not to judge others, to look at the huge issue we have with ourselves first before we are to go to our brother or sister and point out their smaller issue. Jesus goes on to call these people Hypocrites for not dealing with themselves first and always pointing the finger and pointing out other's sins and wrong doings but fail to sort out their own sins and wrong doings. It does not mean we are not to point out to others that what they are doing is wrong. We need to speak in truth.
My husband and I don't drink and the reason why we do not drink is because we would like to be an example to others. We have a few friends and family members who drink and some are alcoholics. And although there is nothing wrong with drinking a wine or a beer with mates there is something really wrong with over indulging and getting drunk and making alcohol your god. We both decided that we could really not tell others not to drink if we were doing it ourselves. we had to set and example whereby we can show others that you can have a good time without alcohol. That there are other things to talk about that how many you had to drink.
Swearing too, using foul language and being course. If you do these things and then go to someone else and say, gee you have a filthy mouth and you quote scripture on why it is bad and then you go home and cuss and blaspheme more than the person you just pointed a finger at. That is just plain hypocritical and this is what Jesus warns us against and not once either. He warns us again in the gospels to beware of hypocrisy.
Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and lawyers of the time who were so high and mighty and had holier than though attitudes and expected for everyone to be clean yet were so filthy and horrid inside that they were hypocritical. Hypo-critical. We are to beware we are not criticizing others and poking at their wounds when we are in fact rotten with the very same wound.
Matthew 7:1-5 is telling us not that we should not judge but rather how we should judge. We are not to judge as the Pharisees of that time judged others. We are not to judge by appearance. The Pharisees judged Jesus because He hadn't washed. They didn't even look to see how amazing Jesus is. All they said was 'He didn't even wash, He is so dirty He must be this that and the next thing'
We also read the story about the Good Samaritan. If he had judged the dying, bleeding man as the others had before him that man would've died. But he set aside his feelings. He showed compassion and concern for the dying man.
We are living is a world where people are dying. The do not know God. They are filling their lives up with alcohol, pre-marital sex, adultery, drugs, pornography. Their god is the god of I. How does this make me feel? How does it benefit me? It is my right to do whatever I want. Live it up. Drink so much because it feels 'good' and then get into a car and show no concern for others on the road.
These people will die not knowing the freedom and fulfillment that only God has for those who would come to Him, repent of their sins and just press into Him.
I really hope that my conduct will be judged! I do not want to lead anyone astray by my example. If I am sinning in a way that causes others to fall short of God's glory then I am more wrong than the worst murderer.
For those of us who are Christian. We should be judging what others say about the bible and what it means to them. We must be so careful that we don't believe just everything blindly.
When I was a child I would believe whatever those older than me would say about God and everything else. I would just follow their lead blindly. It was only after I got married when my husband I started talking about what each of us believes did we end up with totally different answers. And I was like 'Hang on is Christianity all about what others say it is or is it about what God says. Do I read my Bible and then go away saying well that was a nice story or do I dig deep to dig out the gold and very meaning.
We end up believing untruths. We end up in bondage over things.
As Christians we must Stand. Stand for something or you will Fall for anything. We need to speak truth but speak it with love, hope and kindness.
If you are reading this and are not a Christian I will not expect you to live a life as a Christian. It is impossible for us to even begin dealing with the power of sin over our lives without Christ. It is wrong for us Christians to expect you to be fully right with God BEFORE you come to Christ. We aren't even fully right with God and when we became Christians God took us in when we were still sinners. We read in Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I am a rotten sinner. But Christ died for me. He loves me that much. Now sin might mean something totally different to everyone. To me I have come to a realisation of what sin is. Sin defiles me, it is not pretty, it is not good, it is not pleasant, it is sad. As a Christian if I willingly sin I am wounding God. The power of sin is death. If it were not for the Grace of my Lord and Saviour I shudder to thing where or what I would be doing right now.
I urge you all my fellow brothers and sisters to strive not for perfection where you are measuring yourself up against others but rather setting a standard based on what God has to say to us so that we may spur others on to greatness. If a fellow Christian is wallowing in their sin be there to help them and pull them out of the mud. If they do not want to get out of the mud it is a very sad thing indeed and it hurts them but it also hurts the Church and those around them.
Love the unbelieving sinner more than they love their sin. Be an example but do not judge them unfairly. They do not know that they are doing wrong and can't possibly fully change without Christ.
To clarify what I am trying to say here please read this link "Can Or Should Christians Judge One Another?"
It may make it clearer. I tend to speak from the heart with a bit of mind thrown in and my husband is like wikipedia and commentaries all on his own. I just cannot retain facts but when God reveals something to my heart I will read what others have to say and take away some fact but mostly the just of what is meant. Big words throw me off and although I do try and understand them it does not come easy to me.
We need to have such a heart for the lost that we look at their souls more than we look at their sin. They need to know that they are sinners but to sit and point at their sin in a way that is not loving of the person is wrong. We do not condone what they are doing but we model something better and need to explain that we are all sinners. To lead someone to Christ without this information is totally misleading. You cannot come to Christ with out acknowledging first that you are a sinner and that Christ died on the cross for your sins and then rose again from the dead. Sin entered the world and God and separated us from Him. He had to make a way for us to come to Him again. That is what make our Salvation such an important part of our lives. It is the very reason why we can have a relationship with God and be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Beware how you judge and who you judge and most of all why you judge. Judge because you are looking out for the lives others but do not judge because you feel you are better than them.