To Judge or Not To Judge

pot calling the kettle black

Judge not, that you be not judged. Matthew 7

This seems to be one of the favorite verses quoted from the bible. I have heard this from unbelievers, newscasters, and politicians. This is used to stop an uncomfortable conversation that usually involves alleged or actual wrongdoing. Is this verse that straightforward without any needed context?

Matthew 7 is the end of Jesus Sermon on the Mount.

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why behold you the speck that is in thy brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?

Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the speck out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?

You hypocrite first cast out the beam out of your own eye and then shalt you see clearly to cast out the speck out of speck brother’s eye.

Don’t be a hypocrite. Judge yourself by the Word of God before judging others. One of the hallmarks of godly judges is displaying mercy. Mercy means merited judgement (punishment) withheld. The context of this section is correction and not punishment. We should all desire to give and receive biblical correction.

Proverbs 27

17 Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens a friend’s character.

To sharpen a friend’s character we need an agreed upon standard (the Bible) for common ground. We also need the spirit of God to correctly apply the bible with the right heart.

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

The “holy” thing and the “pearls” in this verse are the Word of God and the “dogs” and the “swine” are the people that reject the word of God. Don’t waste your time arguing with a staunch unbeliever because you will lose due to the lack of common ground. This is one of the reasons that I refuse to debate the word of God. The nature of debate is that each side has taken a position before the debate begins with the goal of winning. We proclaim the Bible with authority and not to debate. The heart is the gateway to the mind. Once somebody’s heart is shut off then you can only communicate head knowledge, which is always a lost cause.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Ask and then pursue? How do you know what to ask for? Is it anything that pops into your vain mind?  No, you find the promise in the Bible. Then, convinced that what you are asking for is what  you need, pursue it until you find it and the door is opened.

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he asks a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

God is a generous father when we ask according to his Word and our needs.

12 Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

This is a rephrasing of the law of conscious or the golden rule; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The only way to know the narrow way which leads unto life is the Bible. The broad way that leads to destruction is easy to find by following the world.

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

How will we identify false prophets unless we are judging?

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

We are called to be fruit inspectors. How do we identify good fruit coming from a good tree from bad fruit coming from a bad tree? The difference is what is feeding the roots. Only by judging words and action filtered through the word of God can the fruit properly be inspected. God’s thoughts and ways produce good fruit and man’s thoughts and ways produce bad fruit.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

God contrasts religion versus relationship. Prophesying, casting out devils, and wonderful works are not proof of a godly relationship. Why? Because the devil can counterfeit them all. This section is a heart check for why you serve.

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

In this parable, two houses are built exactly the same: Same materials, same plans, and the same craftsmanship. They both undergo the same hardships: the rain from above, the winds from the side, and the floods from below. All sides of both houses were tested. The only difference between the two houses was the foundations. The house that fell was built on a foundation of sand. The sand represents man’s thoughts and ways. The house that stood was built on a foundation of rock. Jesus is called both the rock and the Word. The rock represents God’s thoughts and ways.

28 And it came to pass when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Jesus doctrine astonished the people because he taught with authority, unlike the scribes. Jesus taught the pure word of God with authority. This is the goal of all teachings. The scribes were the ordained experts concerning the Old Testament but they followed the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law.

In this chapter we are instructed to know the Bible, believe the Bible, apply the Bible, correct ourselves first and then others according to the Bible, to measure others according to the Bible, and to ensure that the bible is the foundation for our lives.

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