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Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged!
What does this verse mean. If you have been a Christian for more than a day you've probably been admonished with this verse as it is the only verse that non-Christians know by heart. Have you ever thought that they are judging your judging? If anything the person who is quoting the verse to admonish you is doing the very thing that Jesus said not to do, that is to judge someone by a different measure than you would judge yourself. Let's take a little look at this verse.
(Matthew 7:1) Judge not, that ye be not judged.
(Matthew 7:2) For with what judgment ye judge , ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
I find it very interesting to see who exactly complains of being judged in the Bible: One example is in the book of Genesis, the people complaining of being judged are the inhabitants of Sodom & Gomorrah.
(Genesis 19:9) And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
The next are two Hebrews quarreling with each other and complaining to Moses:
(Exodus 2:13) And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smite thou thy fellow?
(Exodus 2:14) And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killed the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.
The verse is actually saying that however you make your judgment the same will be applied to you. The verse does NOT mean that one should abstain from any judgment but that one should judge correctly. This is clearly understood if you include other verses in the Bible about judgment. Let's take a look at some of them...
(Leviticus 19:15) Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.
(Luke 12:57) Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
(John 7:24) Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
This is not to say that we should wrangle about every little thing; the Bible clearly addresses this, minor points are to be dealt with grace taking care not to offend a weaker brother or sister.
( Romans 14:3) Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
(Romans 14:4) Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
(Romans 14:5) One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
(Romans 14:6) He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
(Romans 14:7) For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
(Romans 14:8) For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
(Romans 14:9) For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
(Romans 14:10) But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
(Romans 14:11) For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
(Romans 14:12) So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
(Romans 14:13) Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
(Colossians 2:16) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
(Colossians 2:17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Moreover, though Paul didn't judge himself but when a member of the church flaunted their sin he judged them quite harshly. It is one thing to deal with repented sin that we all have and quite another to flaunt habitual sin. By flaunting any particular sin, the offending member forces the other members of the church to either partake, acquiesce or to distance themselves from that person. The flaunting of the sin forces the issue and makes it so that it either has to be accepted thereby becoming a tenement of the faith or cut out of the body:
(1 Corinthians 4 :3) But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
(1 Corinthians 4:4) For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
(1 Corinthians 4:5) Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
(1 Corinthians 5 :1) It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
(1 Corinthians 5:2) And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
(1 Corinthians 5:3) For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
(1 Corinthians 5:4) In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
(1 Corinthians 5:5) To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
(1 Corinthians 5:6) Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
(1 Corinthians 5:7) Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
(1 Corinthians 5:8) Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
(1 Corinthians 5:9) I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
(1 Corinthians 5:10) Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
(1 Corinthians 5:11) But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
(1 Corinthians 5:12) For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
(1 Corinthians 5:13) But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
Paul even chides the Corinthians for not judging amongst themselves:
(1 Corinthians 6 :2) Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
(1 Corinthians 6:3) Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
(1 Corinthians 6:4) If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
(1 Corinthians 6:5) I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
(1 Corinthians 11:31) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
(1 Corinthians 11:32) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
And he encourages Timothy to reprove, rebuke, exhort with long suffering and doctrine, does this sound like the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil Christians that some people think we ought to be? That kind of spiritual blindness to sin is not what God expects of us:
(2 Timothy 4:2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
(2 Timothy 4:3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
(2 Timothy 4:4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
(2 Timothy 4:5) But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Even Paul opposed Peter when it came to doctrine:
(Galatians 2:9) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
(Galatians 2:10) Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
(Galatians 2:11) But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
(Galatians 2:12) For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
(Galatians 2:13) And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
(Galatians 2:14) But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
(Galatians 2:15) We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
(Galatians 2:16) Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
The Bible is an amazing book and while it's detractors would like to twist the scriptures to their own demise, the book speaks for itself. I believe I have stated the case quite clearly that the verse “Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged” is not a complete prohibition against judging it is however an admonition to judge with wisdom knowing that the measure you measure others with will be your measure as well. Life is not simple and it's a wonderful thing that the Bible addresses all the nuances that we might encounter while walking the Christian walk. The scripture teaches that we should preach the good news with love, that doesn't mean that we don't preach, admonish, correct or rebuke...that means that we do these things in love and with a gentle spirit in the hope that some will turn away from godlessness and come to know Jesus Christ. Too many times Christians err on one side or the other either not preaching the gospel at all or bible thumping and sometimes it's not an easy middle road to take, nevertheless this is what the Word of God teaches and it is what we must strive towards.
(2 Timothy 2:24) And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
(2 Timothy 2:25) In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
(2 Timothy 2:26) And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
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