Are we to Judge? (Matthew 7:1)

 

Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1)”

Is ALL judgment forbidden?

Should we never judge others when they do wrong?

I commuted to my work in Toronto, Canada for 18 years. I traveled on the “GO train” (Government of Ontario Transit). At the station in Pickering I, on a number of occasions, encountered people smoking where they should not. Now, Canada is a free country… is it not?

In one encounter I chose to confront the smoker. Not everyone in the line waiting for the train wanted to arrive at their destination smelling of smoke. Although not happy there was some initial submission. Then a few minutes later he was back to confront me. “What right do you have to correct me for smoking!” I pointed to the sign nearby, and then to another a little farther away.

Now as I consider Matthew 7:1, I think of the free country, and how the scriptures wish us to be free from certain kinds of judgment. John MacArthur puts it well in his Study Bible, “7:1 Judge not. As the context reveals, this does not prohibit all types of judging (v. 16). There is a righteous kind of judgment we are supposed to exercise with careful discernment (John 7:24). Censorious, hypocritical, self-righteous, or other kinds of unfair judgments are forbidden;[1]

But even in a free country, there are things deemed right, and things deemed wrong. There are rules and signs that allow or even insist on certain behaviors, or conversely, do not allow them. These are backed by the authority of some level of government, institution or other entity. Matthew 7:1 is part of a larger work that needs to be considered as a whole. So, the same authority that insists we be free of the wrong kind of judgment (stating you should not do it and you should not have to accept it) elsewhere requires the right kind of judgment be maintained. That authority is GOD!

Therefore, let us go on to consider some places in God’s Word that require analyzing and evaluating the words or actions of another and taking action… in other words… judging.

[1] MacArthur, J., Jr. (Ed.). (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed., p. 1404). Nashville, TN: Word Pub.

Our standard… our guide is the Word of God.

We are commanded to judge in a number of situations that God says require it!
We cannot follow the convictions of the culture or take one scripture out of context

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)

How is your ATTITUDE?

Humility:
We need to keep from thinking too highly of ourselves, or others

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)

 “And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?. … ~ …I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.” (1 Corinthians 4:6–14)

Impartiality:
Can you judge without partiality as God does and instructs us to?

Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.” (2 Chronicles 19:7)

These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.” (Proverbs 24:23)

To have respect of persons is not good: For for a piece of bread that man will transgress.” (Proverbs 28:21)

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:” (Acts 10:34)

For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:11)

And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” (Ephesians 6:9)

But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” (Colossians 3:25)

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:” (1 Peter 1:17)

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)

Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, According as ye have not kept my ways, But have been partial in the law.” (Malachi 2:9)

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?” (James 2:1–4)

I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.” (1 Timothy 5:21)

Love:
Can you judge with Love?

Have you considered 1 Co 13 [the love chapter]?
The disciples were rebuked for suggesting judgment without love [Luke 9:54–56]
The Lord describes what He expects of His sevants [2 Timothy 2:24–26]

And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” (Luke 9:54–56)

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24–26)

Mercy:
Can you judge with Mercy?

For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (James 2:13)

Righteousness:
Can you judge Righteously?

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

Are you spiritually discerning enough to be handling it?

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)

Is it your place?

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4) 

 

Are they within the sphere we should be judging?

For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” (1 Corinthians 5:12–13)

Have you, or do you do the same thing?

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:1–4)

Are we not to scrutinize our leaders?

1 Timothy 3: The whole chapter suggests we hold leaders to a standard

A bishop (overseer, leader) then must be …” (1 Timothy 3:2)

And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.” (1 Timothy 3:10)

If the Fruit (the result) is bad, do we not pass judgment on the source… does that not then affect our attitude and actions toward them?

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them .” (Matthew 7:15–20)

Does not the oversight of an assembly have a responsibility to watch for, and deal with wolves, and the perverse?

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:29–31)

Are we to judge divisive people?

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)

A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;” (Titus 3:10) (a person who stirs up division, factious)

Do we need to watch for, and react to those who get into sin; into disobedience to God?

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

Can we rebuke without first judging the need?

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” (1 Timothy 5:20)

We need to know who to “reprove, rebuke, exhort

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

We need to deal with those that are “unruly”, “feebleminded”, “weak”

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

if it is in the assembly we need to deal with blasphemers and ‘empty talkers’

 “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1 Timothy 1:20)

But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” (2 Timothy 2:16–18)

But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” (1 Timothy 4:7)

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:” (1 Timothy 6:20)

1 Cor 5 – if you see it, report it. If you do it, confess it. The welfare of the Assembly is at stake. Assembly oversight will need to deal with it.

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” (1 Corinthians 5:1–13, KJV 1900)

Are you judging an action, a habit or a motive?

We can, and often must judge actions and even more so habits.

However, we cannot look into the heart to discern a motive. Only God can do that. How can we know it for sure? Attempting to judge motives is dangerous, and often disastrous!

7But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Are you judging an unlearned lamb or an older ewe or ram that should know better?

A new lamb in The Lord is to be lead and taught. They may require gentle instruction to correct them.

A seasoned Christian may require more of a rebuke when they should know better.

Are people guilty until proven innocent, or innocent until proven guilty?

Hearsay is not good grounds for correcting someone. There should be a confession or two or more witnesses.

But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matthew 18:16)

This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” (2 Corinthians 13:1)

Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.” (1 Timothy 5:19, KJV 1900)

Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” (Luke 12:57)

If a personal issue, will you follow the Biblical pattern?

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” (Matthew 18:15–17)

What is the consequence of withholding Judgment?

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6)

[A moral problem not dealt with results in Moral decline]

 “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:9)

[A doctrinal problem not dealt with results in Spiritual decline]

Failing to follow scripture’s instruction, yea, command has an effect on:

offender              – Does he know his fault? Will he repeat it? With same person? With others?

offended             – Can he not grow bitter, estranged? Has he not lost his brother?

assembly             – Division among and/or loss of members? Damage to the testimony

church                  – Division and bitterness, lack of effectiveness in the world (salt/light)

The Godhead    – The bride of the Son is distressed by offence and disobedience

 “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: And their contentions are like the bars of a castle.” (Proverbs 18:19, KJV 1900)

 

Delaying following scripture’s instruction, yea, command has an effect on:

offender              – Does he know his fault? Will he repeat it? With same person? With others?

offended             – Can he not grow bitter? Has he not lost a brother?

assembly             – Division among and/or loss of members? Damage to the testimony

church                  – Division and bitterness

The Godhead    – The bride of the Son is distressed by offence and disobedience

Because sentence against an evil deed is not carried out quickly, the heart of humans fills up within them to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11, LEB)

What is the consequence of proper, scriptural Judgment?

Being faithful to follow scripture’s instruction, yea, command has an effect on:

offender              – He knows his fault. He is not so likely to repeat it?

offended             – Has he not gained his brother?

assembly             – Unity restored

church                  – Division and bitterness averted

The Godhead    – Honoured by obedience and a good testimony

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, That ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: That went down to the skirts of his garments;” (Psalm 133:1–2)

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;” (2 Timothy 2:24–25)

1 Corinthians 6:7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

Who is exempt as an offender or offended? NOONE!

Proverbs 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: And their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

 

To Judge or not to Judge

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