Friday, December 27, 2013

What Does it Mean to Judge Righteous Judgement?

Those who know me, know I am a firm believer that we do not have the right to judge one another. Now, don't get me wrong - I am not saying I don't judge others. I am, after all, a sinner just like everyone else (yes, even you are a sinner... sorry to burst your bubble).

Those who seem to think they are sinless and/or have the God given right to pass judgement on others throw out a couple Bible verses. John 7:24 is the most common one: "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment." I'll get to that verse in a moment. But first, allow me to say once again...

We do not have the right to judge others. Ever. 

Matthew 7:1-5  “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see 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,’ when there is the log 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.

Luke 6:37  “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
James 4:12  There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Romans 2:1-3  Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?
John 8:7  And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Galatians 5:14  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
I could probably come up with a few dozen more examples of where we're told not to judge. Christ is the only one who has that right. God, through His Son, is the only one whom is allowed to judge the hearts and works of mankind. We cannot. Ever. Why not? Because we are sinners. To judge another is to be a hypocrite. How can I point a finger at you and call you a sinner when I myself am one also? How can I throw the first stone, when I myself am not without sin? I am nothing but a lowly sinner, the same as you, who will stand before God and be judged for my sins. I do not stand before you for this judgement, nor do you stand before me.

Instead of judging, we're to show love, kindness, patience, and forgiveness. Again, I could find dozens of scriptures to support this fact. In fact, that's pretty much what the entire New Testament is about. Love one another. It is the greatest commandment given us. Galatians says the whole law is fulfilled with that one word. And no where in scripture does it say that passing judgement on others is love - an argument I have had many say to me. That argument is a complete lie. 

So then why are we told to "judge righteous judgement"?

If you read the whole Bible - not just one verse - you'll see that we are never told to judge people in general. There are only two things that I have found that we are told we can judge...

We are to judge fruits/false prophesy

Matthew 7:15-19 - “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
This is a passage I have found to be abused a bit by people who argue for judging others. Obviously, to judge a person as a false prophet, that is a very grave judgement on another person (something I have just spend the past several paragraphs saying we should not do). However, in this case, we are told to do exactly that. We are told to recognize false prophets. But, we're also told how to do this. If you write a blog post stating Christ is not truly the Son of God, you are not necessarily a false prophet. I would have to examine all your fruits. A false prophet will not bear any good fruit. So, you may have one false post amongst a hundred posts which teach the truth of God. Maybe you had a bad day. Maybe we misread your work. Maybe someone hacked your account. We cannot judge you as a false prophet for one post, or one action, or one statement.

Can you imagine if God did that? If we were judged based solely on what we did or said in one specific moment? What we did on December 25th, 2013, between the hours of noon and 3 pm - that's what will determine if we go to heaven or hell...

We are to judge ourselves. 

 2 Corinthians 13:5 - Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
"Examine yourselves." It doesn't say "examine others." It says "examine yourselves." I am responsible for making sure I am following Christ. I am responsible for making sure I am loving my neighbors, and my enemies. I am responsible for making sure I am following God's commandments (and, if I am not, for repenting). I am not to judge you for whether or not you are doing these things.

1 Corinthians 11:31 - But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.

Judge the Sin - not the Sinner...?

Ah, my least favorite mantra, chanted by people whenever the judgement argument comes up. Let me ask you all this - how do you judge a sin and not a sinner?

I'm serious about this... every one of you who claims we have the right to judge the sin, but not the sinner (and usually you're saying this while you are judging the sinner).... what does it mean to judge the sin but not the sinner? How is this done? Please help me understand how you can do one without the other...

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