Questions and Answers
What did Jesus mean when He said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged"?
Time and time again we hear the liberal types quoting Jesus' words from Matthew 7:1. Their purpose of course, is not to obey the commands of Jesus, but to attempt to discourage the followers of Jesus from making any moral judgements whatsoever.
I read a guest commentary published by Agape Press. The author of the article, Mark Creech, Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, provided valuable insights. He wrote:
In a word, Jesus was condemning "censoriousness." John R.W. Stott said it this way:
The follower of Jesus is still a 'critic' in the sense of using his powers of discernment, but not a 'judge' in the sense of being censorious. Censoriousness is a compound sin consisting of several unpleasant ingredients. It does not mean to assess people critically, but to judge them harshly. The censorious critic is a faultfinder who is negative and destructive towards other people and enjoys actively seeking out their failings. He puts the worst possible construction on their motives, pours cold water on their schemes and is ungenerous towards their mistakes."
Censoriousness, writes A. B. Bruce, is a "Pharisaic vice, that of exalting ourselves by disparaging others, a very cheap way of attaining moral superiority."
Oh how we have this destructive tendency to exaggerate the faults of others and minimize the seriousness of our own. We seem to find it extremely difficult, when comparing ourselves with others, to be strictly objective and impartial. Indeed, what we are often doing is seeing our own faults in others and judging them vicariously. That way, we experience the pleasure of self-righteousness without the pain of penitence. Moreover, this kind of hypocrisy is worse than the sin condemned because an apparent act of kindness (taking a speck from someone's eye) can be the means of exalting our own position. This is what Jesus' remarks "Judge not" are really about -- it's our Lord's commentary on this human perversity.
Nowhere does Jesus tell us to suspend judgement. Jesus said in John 7:24, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." We are to exercise moral discernment without being self-righteous. For self-righteousness is nothing more than arrogance, and the man or woman of God is to be humble.
And how do we avoid self-righteousness? We must first realize that we are all sinners. We have no righteousness in and of ourselves. Our righteousness comes from the blood of Jesus Christ and not from any of our own works.
But realizing that we are sinners saved by grace, we must follow Christ by using our powers of discernment. We must use "righteous judgement" as Jesus said. Paul wrote in Phillipians 1:9-11:
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."
God's principles are so easy to understand. I can rightfully say that an individual's actions are wrong. In so doing, I am merely acknowledging fact. What I cannot do, are two things. First, I cannot be a busybody, who is constantly finding fault in others, especially while ignoring my own sins. Second, I cannot say that an individual committing wrong should go to hell, or that the person in question should be stricken down. As a sinner, I have no right to pronounce sentence on my fellow sinners. Remember the old saying, "There but for the grace of God go I."
When we use righteous judgement, those engaged in immoral behavior will object. They will quote Matthew 7:1 out of context in an attempt to silence us. But so be it. Our purpose is not to please the world, but to please Jesus Christ.
And remember this, the immoral, the leftist or cultural marxist, the politically correct communist, those who tell us not to judge, are among the most vicious of judges. We have all seen self-righteous politically correct individuals attempt to bring others to ruin for making the most harmless of statements. For the politically correct communists are today's pharisees, today's soviets. They are out to destroy anyone who holds to the age-old traditions of Christian society. But when such as these judge you, realize this, there is only one Judge, and you are covered by His shed blood. The judgments of the politically correct are pure evil and will be cast into hell.