We, as human beings, make judgments every day as to what to wear, what to eat, what to do, what to say and where to go, etc. So, judging, in and of itself, is not wrong. It becomes wrong, though, when we judge wrongly.
I have faced a large number of false judgments against myself in my lifetime, not that I can say that I never did the same to others. But, it taught me a lot about judging others, regarding the right and the wrong way to judge. For, again, not all judging is wrong, only if we do it wrongly.
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” Jn. 7:24
Many of the false judgments I faced against myself, in my lifetime, came from people judging me by appearances. They didn’t like how I looked, or how I dressed, or how I talked. They didn’t like my personality or my walk with the Lord, or the freedom I had in Christ Jesus. They looked at me on a very surface level, and they decided who I was, what I was about, and my motives for doing the things that I did and said.
“Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” Jn. 7:51
Not only that, but in many cases they didn’t even give me a fair shake. Some of them I had never met before. They had never had a conversation with me. They didn’t have a clue who I was. They just made their decisions about me based on their own personal prejudices, or on their own traditions, but not usually according to the Word of God. Some of them judged on the basis of culture and what they had always been taught, but they didn’t even give me a chance to hear me out before they cast the blame and declared me guilty.
“You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.” Jn. 8:15-16
And, the reason they did this is because they were judging by the flesh, not by the Spirit of God. They were judging by human standards and personal prejudices but not by God’s holy Word. Even pastors and elders who judged me falsely were judging me by their own flesh, and not by the Spirit of God. They were judging by appearances, and by culture, and by tradition, and by their own personal prejudices, too. But, we are to make all judgments about others by the Word of God and by the Spirit of God.
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Co. 10:12
Some of the biggest judgments I faced against myself came from those who were judging me by themselves. Because they did such and such a certain way, they felt I should do it the same way. Because they had the wrong motives about what they did, if I wanted to do the same thing, then I must have the wrong motives, too, so they said.
But, we can’t compare others to ourselves, because we are not all the same. We all uniquely designed by God. Just because we did something a certain way with a particular motive does not mean everyone else is just like us. Just because we follow certain customs or traditions or protocols, it doesn’t mean everyone else has to follow suit. The only standard we must all follow is the Word of God, not human traditions and customs.
“Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” Rom. 2:3
And, then there is hypocritical judging, which is when we judge others strongly for doing the same things we are doing, and maybe we are doing much worse. For example, a person might get all up in arms about someone throwing trash on the ground and being disrespectful of private property while this person is abusing his wife or her husband, is cheating on their spouse, and is lying to their spouse about it. So, we must guard against hypocritical judging (See also Matt. 7:1-5).
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matt. 7:1-5
Although this begins with “judge not,” it truly is talking about hypocritical judging, and then it goes on to instruct us in how to judge rightly. It isn’t that we should not judge others, according to scripture, but that we need to not do it falsely or hypocritically. Instead of condemning someone else for doing what we are doing ourselves, while we may even be doing much worse, we need to first of all take that log out of our own eyes, and then we will see clearly to take the speck out of our brothers’ and sisters’ eyes.
What this is saying is don’t go getting all high and mighty in looking down on others for their sins when you are caught up in sin yourself and you have not repented of your sins. First, turn your life around, turn away from your sinful practices, and walk in obedience to the Lord, by the Spirit of God, in his power and strength, and then you will see clearly to help a professing brother or a sister out of his own sinful hell hole (practices, addiction).
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. Jas. 5:19-20
So many people today are teaching that we should not judge others because they don’t want us judging their sin. They don’t want to hear the gospel message that says if we walk in sin that we are going to hell, and we don’t have eternal life with God. They don’t want to hear that they must die with Christ to sin and live with him to righteousness if they want to have eternal life with God and be delivered from their bondage to sin.
So, they are really pushing this “don’t judge” message to try to make Christians feel guilty for judging any sin at all, and to try to persuade them to remain silent and to “stay in your own lane.” But, we are to judge sin by the scriptures, and we are to be giving out the gospel message of our salvation from sin as Jesus taught it, and as his NT apostles taught it, and we should not let them intimidate us into silence.
Again, we must not judge falsely, by our own flesh, or by our own selves, or by the standards of this world, or by culture or personal prejudice, or hypocritically, etc. But, we are to judge rightly by God’s holy Word and according to the teachings of scripture, and in love for others. And, we are to give out the truth which will save human lives from hell, if they will only believe and follow the truth, and not reject it.
Thus, if a brother or a sister (or a professing Christian) is overtaken by sin, after making sure we don’t have any logs in our own eyes, we are to help this person to be restored to a right relationship with God. We are to attempt to help him or her to forsake their idols and their sinful practices. But, as the saying goes, we can lead a camel to the water, but we can’t make him drink. We can tell people the truth which will save their souls from hell, but they must make that choice to follow our Lord in obedience.
As well, we as the church, the body of Christ, are not to just look the other way when we know our brothers and our sisters in Christ have fallen into sin, especially sexual sin. For, if we ignore the sin, and we “stay in our own lane,” and we do nothing about it, not only will that individual keep on that path of sin, probably, but they might lead others down that same path, too, and the sin itself and its influences will spread within the congregation of the saints, and it could bring the whole church down (1 Co. 5:1-13; Gal. 6:1-5).
So, don’t shy away from judging sin if you are doing so biblically, rightly and with a pure heart, desiring to see others set free from their sinful addictions. But, be careful that you don’t judge hypocritically, or superficially, or by your flesh, or by your own self and your own personal standards and prejudices. Make sure all judgments are founded in the word of God and that the motivation behind them is a heart of love for others.
To Be Like Him
An Original Work / March 16, 2014
Based off Scripture
Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.
Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.
Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!
When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.