“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at 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,’ and behold, the log is 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 NASB)
The subject of judging others is one that bothers and confuses many people. We are sure it is wrong to judge, but we are not sure what that means. Even people who know very little about the Bible are quick to quote, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (see Matt. 7:1).
And yet, we are all aware that it is necessary to judge other people. We find ourselves doing it all the time, sometimes without even realizing it.
Have you ever been judged? I have. There have been a few times in my life where people have assumed things about me that were not true. A snippet of this or that plus a fruitful imagination and away we go!
Sometimes the one standing in judgment of you is so self-righteous that you can never measure up to their perfectionistic standards. Other times, things are going on that need attention and no one is willing to step up and address it out of fear of judging someone unjustly or of being accused of doing so.
It is important to understand what the Bible means when it says we are not to judge others. Are there occasions when it is necessary and right to pass judgment on another person for what he says or does? What must we understand to be biblical in this crucial area?
The first thing we must know is that judging is necessary, but dangerous.
We are called upon to make various kinds of judgments about church and faith related issues all the time. For instance, is a man or woman qualified to be a Bible study teacher or small group leader? Do they have the spiritual maturity for such a position? Is the young man ready to be a deacon, or an elder in the church? Is she ready to lead the women’s ministry or does she need more growth?
These judgments ought to be made. They are less judgment than evaluation of ability and maturity. When our criterion for this evaluation is biblical it is not judging in the worldly sense of the word. Much of what we pass off as biblical criticism is nothing more than critical judgments of things we don’t like about people. This is where judging becomes dangerous. My husband says we tend to think along the lines of “that if I do something you don’t do, that makes me better than you.”
John Macarthur says, “When an individual or a group of people develop their own standards of religion and morality, they inevitably judge everyone by those self-made beliefs and standards.”
We have a natural tendency, as Jesus said, to judge in the wrong way. And He makes it clear in the Matt. 7 passage.
These verses focus on the negative aspect of a self-righteous, judgmental spirit. When our little group develops our own standards of religion and morality, we will inevitably judge everyone by those self-made beliefs and standards. We begin to look for the worst in other people.
What also happens is we stop looking at ourselves, and begin to elevate ourselves above others- we become prideful as we lower our opinion of others.
Yes, this is a very important topic for us to examine. More than I can get in just on posting. More on this next time!
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