“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.”
When I first received the Lord for salvation back in the late 80’s, the best loved Bible verse at that time was, without a doubt, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world,” wrote the beloved disciple, “that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Pastor H.H. Barber rightly referred to this passage, which encapsulates the Gospel in very few beautiful words, as “the golden text of Scripture.” Through the 90’s and into the new millennium, however, there was a shift in Christian thought. Today’s verse passage became the “go to” proof text for a generation of Christians unwilling to correct doctrinal error or confront moral evil. “Judge not,” they insist, which for them means avoiding all judgment. Though we should strive to walk humbly and to avoid presenting ourselves as self righteous judges of others, the imperative to avoid all judgment is not only unbiblical, it is logically impossible! I saw this first hand one afternoon at the legislative grounds where a large group had gathered to show their support for retaining the traditional definition of marriage. Those on the other side of the issue were insane with anger. I saw one of these individuals berating a Christian man for daring to judge him. I interjected, “But aren’t you judging him for acting in a way you think is inappropriate? By judging him, you are doing the very thing you’re condemning us for!” Instantly, he lapsed into stunned silence. A moment later, he was on his bicycle, silently riding away from the confrontation. Judgment is practically unavoidable. Knowing this, the Lord Jesus gave us clear instructions on how to judge. “Judge not,” said the Lord, “according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). The only way we can do this is to bring God’s word to bear on whatever topic is on the table. Truth claims and professed philosophies can and should be tested (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Not only that, but actions, outward conduct and performance, ought to be tested as well (Matthew 7:15-20). That which is incongruent with the claims of Scripture is of necessity false. That which conflicts with Christ’s wise moral law is wrong. This is key. In order to judge righteously, we cannot allow our personal moral intuitions to ever become the standard according to which we expect others to conform (Romans 2:1-2). It is God’s word and not our opinions that stands as the ultimate authority, the final court of appeal. Not only that, but let us remember that though God’s word helps us to rightly judge both truth claims and outward conduct, it is God alone who weighs and evaluates the inward motives of the heart (Revelation 2:23; Psalm 7:9; 44:21; Jeremiah 11:20). May the Lord help us to walk uprightly and to judge righteously today.
God bless you,