JUDGE; CAN WE OR CAN’T WE?
There are scriptures that state that Jesus is the judge, for example; John 5:22, “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son” ;John 12:47, “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.” ; 1 Corinthians 4:4 “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” If you read scripture in it’s context, know what (God) is trying to say, read other scriptures that back it up and know the culture of God, scripture makes sense. If not, you can twist scripture to make it fit the way you think. So, we see from scripture that Jesus is the true, just, accurate and only honest judge we have. But scripture does not end there. As usual, we have a choice even in judging others. From what I read (and scripture seems to back this up), we can judge and we are even given parameters concerning judging in scripture. Listen to what the following scriptures have to say.
Matthew 7:1-2, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” We are told we can judge, but we will be judged in the same way we judge others!
Luke 7:42-43, “neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled. “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.” Simon had just made a judgment call concerning a man and his actions and then Jesus told Simon he had judged correctly. Jesus complimented Simon on his accurate judgment.
Luke 12:55-57, “and when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” Again, Jesus making the statement that we can judge!
Romans 2:1 “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point, you judge the other you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” Jesus is not condemning judgment, He is condemning unjust (hypocritical) judgment.
Romans 3:1-5, “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God. What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.” But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)” It is important to God to be correct when we speak and accurate when we judge.
1 Corinthians 5: 1, It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? They were to make a judgment call and cast this man out.
And Verses 8-12, “therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother (we must judge) but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” In chapter 5, Paul is talking about immorality of a man in the church. He states in V-2 he has already passed judgment on this person and is wondering why the church did not judge him and put him out. In verse 2, we are told to judge, even inside the church.
1 Corinthians 6:1-5, “If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?” This scripture is stating that we are to judge and if we are following the ways of Jesus, we will judge correctly.
1 Corinthians 10:11-15, “these things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.” Here we are being told to be sensible in our judgment. And in verse 23 we are told “everything is permissible, but not everything is not beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything is not constructive.” We are to judge which is beneficial and constructive.
1 Corinthians 11:10-13, “for this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?” Again, we are told to judge for ourselves. These scriptures show we can judge and how we should judge. It is up to us to follow scripture when we judge and if we don’t we will pay the consequences, as stated in; Matthew 7:2 “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” It is very difficult to judge correctly, however, Jesus gives us the tools (scriptures) and guidance to do so, if we dare. As it states in scripture, if we judge incorrectly we will be judged accordingly. So we need to be slow to judge and consult scripture and pray before we do. When you are studying to find out if scriptures tell you if you can judge or not, please study with a mind that is looking for the answer that Jesus is sending, not the answers you are looking for or what others tell you. If your findings differ from mine, let me know and tell me the scriptures you found that back up your comments. We must always remember that scripture has the last word, not society, not what we think, today’s culture or what others are teaching or believing. Sometimes I judge and I try to take it seriously as I judge with His conditions in mind. There have been times in my life when I had to make serious judgment calls and I did without hesitation. For example; we were attending a Methodist church many years ago when our pastor started saying some very “new age” things during his messages on Sundays. He was mentioning that love covers all things and that pre marital sex was ok as long as you loved your partner. At that time I was teaching our 16 year old daughter to save herself for marriage and that pre marital sex was a sin. This pastor was also saying that same partner relationships were ok, as long as you loved the other person. The last straw was when he said for us to consider that Jesus was not the only way to the Father. My wife and I had been praying about his comments and thinking about leaving that pastor’s church. Then, when he made the comment about Jesus and other ways to the Father, I made a judgment call. If we stayed at this church we would be subjecting ourselves to un-biblical teachings. This we could not do. We judged that his teachings were not from scripture and we left that church. That is judging, some may call it discerning but I judged what was going on in that church to be wrong and acted accordingly.
I was a police officer many years ago and I judged (sometimes as often as) hourly. If not, or if I judged incorrectly, it could have cost me my life, the life of my partner or a citizen. Now that I am no longer a police officer and stronger in my walk with Jesus, I find myself judging way less frequently and when I do, I take it more seriously. I try and leave the judging to Him, but sometimes I have to judge.
Jesus did not say following Him would be easy, but it would be worth it! I look forward to your comments.
An imperfect judge, Dennis