Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Do Not Judge...Really?

Have you ever tried to help others become aware of some false teachers or some authors who are teaching/promoting concepts that are unBiblical or to point out that something they're doing/participating is sin/evil according to God's Word and in stead of thanks, people accuse you of being judgmental?  They usually proceed with Scripture references such as Matthew 7:1-2, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you."  They would frown upon you for judging others or they would say you should not be throwing tomatoes at those people and assume that you’re a bad, unkind, unloving Christian.  Or they say…how dare you judge them, only God can judge…you’re so unChristlike. By the way, they are the ones doing the judging while making all these accusations without even realizing it.

"Judging" is misunderstood by many Christians.  If you keep reading Matthew 7 further (verses 3-5).  You will realize that God was talking about hypocritical judgment.  "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."  The point here is that we need to continually examine ourselves and see if there are any sins in our attitudes/hearts/lives we must get rid of, and that we must not mind being judged by the same measure (God’s Word).  I believe God wants us to have discernment… judging between good and evil, right and wrong, moral and immoral, sound doctrine and false teaching, etc.  We are encouraged to be more like the Bereans (Acts 17:11). We need to compare everything to the Scripture, not just taking any man’s words for it…no matter who/how famous he or she is and not just flowing along with the culture, the world, the majority. "Judging" is not bad by itself.  We do judge people/their character when we choose friends  "Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’" (I Corinthians 15:33)  "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." (Proverbs 13:20)  Good judgment will help keep us safe and keep us from stumbling.  "My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.  Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." Proverbs 3:21-24 
"Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment." Proverbs 10:13
"The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out." Proverbs 18:15

It all comes down to our attitudes of the heart.  When we expose someone’s wrongdoings, what’s our motive?  To warn others so that they won’t be deceived…so that they won’t fall into believing/following the wrong things…because we love them and care about them?  We need to do this out of love and humility.  If our motive is to bring that person down, to prove that we’re better, or to make fun of that person, then it is very wrong.  We should never slander or ridicule anyone.  We should remain respectful at all time.  We may judge their actions but not their heart because only God knows their heart.  For example: Johnny stole a candy bar.  What Johnny did was wrong.  You may call him a thief.  But we should not say that he is covetous or that he is such a horrible, mean person…because we don’t know his heart.  He may have been starving for days or he may have wanted to be able to feed his younger sibling or he has never been taught that stealing is wrong.  Similarly, we do not know if false teachers are deliberately deceiving people or if they themselves have been deceived and really think they are teaching the right things.  We should continue to love them and pray for them.  However, it does not mean that we cannot or should not let others know about their false teachings.  If you knew a restaurant or a chef that serves poisonous food, wouldn’t you want to warn others before they consume it? And if you know someone living in sin, it would not be loving to just turn the other way, remain silent, and let that person continue to live in sin/lies.

When you read my blog, I do not want any of you to just believe my words. I welcome corrections, advice, and suggestions. I hope you all do your own investigation on questionable preachers/authors, search the Scriptures, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you. Judge for yourself! Remember, God already judges what's acceptable or not in His eyes. "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, and put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." (Isaiah 5:20) Speak the truth in love, grace, respect, and gentleness but by all means, speak God's truth! Don't ever sacrifice the truth on the altar of "grace", politically correctness, or fear of being labeled "judgmental". The ultimate Judge is God and doing what's right in His eyes is more important than what people think about us.

This post is linked up with Faith-filled Friday @Beholding Glory, Spiritual Sundays, Sharing His Beauty @The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates with God at The Wellspring, and "Hear It, Use It" @Graceful.


Joan Davis said...

Great advice! God gave us the ability to be discerning and to trust His judgement. Sometimes He places us in situations in order for us to gently and Biblically hold someone accountable...but, to only do it for their good and not to try to improve our own status. I have a dear friend who pointed out some sin in my life years ago...and I am forever grateful to her. She showed me just how much she loved me by steering me in the right direction - God's direction!

Blessings, Joan

Laura Boggess said...

such good thoughts! Yes, we are called to judge sometimes--and confront gently to bring people back to the heart of The Lord. Thank you for writing so eloquently about this.

Ruth Povey said...

Oh yes, I completely agree. Thank you for speaking truth boldly

Musings by Robert said...

If a persons actions or doctrine does not line up with the Scriptures, then I have strong opinions - The prophets spoke out against unrighteousness. You have given some good thoughts here to consider

Rick Habecker said...

Yes, all Christ was saying is we shouldn't be hypocrites about judging others; and thank goodness too! Recently, a rather bibilically challenged female took me to task for "being judgmental." When I asked her if she was prepared to allow a convicted pedophile baby sit her two year old she finally got it. I then pointed out that she is judgmental every day when she dresses a certain way for work,and it was like a light switch was turned on in her mind. Yes, Christ gave us the capacity to think discerningly and we should use that gift but not be hypocrites.

Charlotte said...

I think this scripture has been completely taken out of context too many times. Of course there are times to make judgements. We make them all the time. How could we ever make a decision if we didn't judge the options. Thank you for sharing.

Daughter of the KING said...

Truth boldly spoken. We all need to be reminded at times. Thank you for your post!

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