“You have no right to judge me!”… “Only God can judge me”… “Judge not lest ye be judged!”…
These are statements we frequently hear from liberals these days who demand “tolerance” of their chosen lifestyles – from people that expect our acceptance of blatant sin. Now I will concede that there is an element of truth that judging is wrong. – BUT – I also know that there are different types of judgment. Want to find out which ones are acceptable, versus which ones are not? Keep reading….
Friends, scripture tells us in John 7:24 that we are to judge righteous judgment. What does this mean? First, let us consider what it is to do a thing “righteously”. Some of the synonyms of “righteous” include: good, virtuous, honorable, principled, honest, upright, and decent. Therefore righteous judgment means good judgment, honorable judgment, honest judgment, and so forth. On the other hand, to judge unrighteously would obviously be bad judgment, dishonorable judgment, false judgment.
Human judgment can come in many forms. Judging is a very sneaky sin, because oftentimes when we judge unrighteously, we believe it to be from righteous motives. We must remember though, good intentions aren’t everything! We have to be very careful with our judgment, because if we forsake mercy, mercy will eventually forsake us. Today I would like to consider three variants of unrighteous judgment we would be wise to avoid, plus three righteous solutions.
Avoid Hypocritical Judgment
It has been said that we should be easy on others, and hard on ourselves. Instead, we tend to be easy on ourselves and hard on others! This is nothing new; evidently hypocrites have been around for thousands of years. Frankly, it’s so much easier to see sin in others than in ourselves! I would guess this is because we have to live with ourselves, so in order to not lose sleep at night we become unconditional friends with our sin. Somehow though, I don’t think God is quite so prone to justify hypocrisy as we are:
Romans 2:1 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.
2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
3 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?
While we will not find the bible saying never to judge and discern character, we will find it explicitly stating that we have no right to judge others if we ourselves are doing the same things we are condemning.
Solution: Make sure your own doorstep is swept before complaining about your neighbor’s. You just might find your neighbor far more willing to listen to someone who has proven sin can be conquered, than someone who is just as messed up as they are. (Read Matthew 7:4-5)
Avoid Hasty Judgment
The pharisee in Luke 18:10-12 portrayed hasty judgment with his prayer…he proclaimed himself better than the nearby tax collector (presumably a stranger) on the mere fact that the man was, well….a tax collector. Granted, many tax collectors had a bad reputation as dealing dishonestly with the public, but how did the pharisee know whether or not this man was like that? How could he have known whether this was an honest or deceitful man, a loving or harsh person, a peaceful citizen or a rabble-rouser, just by looking at him? Most likely, he couldn’t. He was pulling only from the minimal information he had on the tax collector (his job title) to make him out as a monster. It is as unfair as saying that all lawyers are crooks, or all doctors are quacks. It’s simply not fair to make such broad stereotypes based on one or two bad experiences. But that’s just what hasty judgment is….drawing maximum conclusions based on minimal facts!
Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
We’ve all heard the expression “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, and this is not only true of books, but also of people. We are not to judge by man’s standards – bur rather we are to judge as God judges; and He judges based on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) The main difference between human judgment and The Lord’s judgment is this: God has all the facts. As much as we would like to think we are in the know about every situation, more times than not we simply don’t have all the information we need to judge as God does. We have to be very careful not to make false assumptions about others, lest we receive the same form of judgment. (Matthew 7:2)
Solution: Look past the superficial. Really get to know people – get to know them for them. Not for what they look like, or what you think they’ve done, or what you think they could do, or what someone else thinks of them! When you’re not sure about someone or their motives, it is better to err on the side of believing the best in people, than to be merciless. (Read Matthew 5:7)
Avoid Hyperbolic Judgment The third type of judgment to avoid is the kind that makes mountains out of molehills. A judgment that is condemning, absolute, and unchangeable in nature belongs only to God.
James 4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
Don’t misunderstand the words…the verse is not stating that you may never point out error in people’s lives and warn them of the consequences of sin. In fact, The New Testament is quite clear that we are are to rebuke, reprove, and exhort people away from evil.
1 Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
While at first glance it seems these two passages contradict one another, I think the balance is this: judge actions and be sure to warn people where they are headed if they do not change. At the same time, do not make a final judgment on the spirit of the person. You do not know whether the person will repent and be forgiven, neither do you have the power to forgive sins or condemn a soul for eternity. That power belongs solely to God.
Solution: Give the burden to The Lord. Preach the word in due season. Plant, water,and then let God provide (or not provide) the increase. He is sovereign, and He will ultimately make the best decisions when it comes to judgment.
Ladies, before ever making any judgment calls on a person – check to make sure you are not being hypocritical, nor hasty, nor hyperbolical in your discernment. In all things, we want our attitude to be swift to hear, and slow to speak. (James 1:19) We must try to look at others from a spirit of humility, realizing that we all fall short at times…but God does expect us to pick people up and dust them off. Complete tolerance of others is not love, but warning them of eternal fire is!