Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Is it Right to Judge?

This is an overview of my message from last Sunday: For an audio version of the message click HERE for our Podcast:


Is it Right to Judge?


How many of you have heard someone say or perhaps have said yourself, “Don’t judge me!” We don’t like to be judged. We don’t like people pointing out things in our lives that they believe are flawed or incorrect. We want people to mind their own business.

Let me ask you a question: What do you think the Bible says about judging people and being judged?

When you think about that, probably the first verse that pops in your mind is the one that says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

I’ve hear that verse thrown around in all kinds of conversations.

This verse of Scripture from Matthew 7:1 is often quoted out of context by people who are terrified at the idea of someone preaching against sin or pointing out any flaws in anyone, especially in themselves.

I’ve been guilty of taking it out of context myself:

Growing up in JHigh, I had good, Christian, church friends… but my Sophomore year High School, I pretty much abandoned those friends and started hanging out with a group of Seniors that weren’t even thinking about God or Godly things. I was hanging around the wrong people and participating in the wrong kind of things. Well, I remember one Sunday morning at Bible Study (I had to go because my Dad was the Pastor) one of my old friends called me out. I was blindsided… it turned into some kind of intervention and I was ticked off. Everything they were saying was true, but my heart was hard and I didn’t want to hear what they were saying. So, because it was Bible Study, I decided to throw out a Bible verse and I quoted Matthew 7:1, “Don’t judge me, or you too will be judged.”

But, you see, I didn’t do my homework. I didn’t realize that if you read Matthew 7:1-5 in the correct context, you see that it allows judging after you have first judged YOURSELF.

See, if you heart is right and you judge correctly, the Bible not only says judging is permissible, but it says it’s something that is required of us.

Jesus did not make a blanket statement against judgment. He simply pointed out a RULE for judging.

Now, the word "judge" in its various forms (judgeth, judging, judgment, judges, etc) is found over 700 times in God's word. One whole book of the Bible is titled "Judges" for it was written at a time when God raised up judges to lead His people.

As we are about to see, God EXPECTS His people to judge. In fact, you are sinning against God if you refuse to judge! (Read that again, please)

God Expects Us to Judge

Our generation is well described in Isaiah 59:8: "The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks along them will know peace."

People have refused to judge, so there is no peace.

Paul said in I Corinthians 1:10 to ". . . that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought."

Why would Paul make such a statement if judging is wrong? In I Corinthians 2:15 Paul says, "The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments."

Judging is not a sin; judging is a characteristic of being a spiritual person! Satan has been lying to us, hoping that we will NOT judge, because he knows that the right kind of judgment PLEASES God and betters our lives and Christian service.

*Just think about that for a second…

Say you have a friend that is involved in all kinds of shady stuff. They’re drinking, doing drugs, sleeping around, participating in horrible things… if you refuse to judge them, confront them or correct them, how is God going to use you to wake them up?

He can’t.

Someone says, "But should we judge PEOPLE?" Yes, we certainly should. Paul actually REBUKES the Corinthians for NOT judging: (I Cor. 6:1-5) 1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?

If judging is wrong, then Paul needs to confess and repent for misleading these Christians! He clearly told them to JUDGE PEOPLE.

Notice Malachi 3:18: "And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not?”

What about Revelation 2:2? “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false:"

Why would the Lord be pleased with these Christians if judging was wrong? It’s impossible to determine if someone is a "liar" without judging them?

If the Bible is clear about anything, it is clear about the importance of judging on a regular basis in order to properly serve and honor God. To ignore this fact is to ignore all of the Scripture just presented and also the rest of the Bible. God expects us to judge.

God's Rules for Judging

First of all, I don’t think that we should spend all of our time judging. If you're walking around like you're the Holy Spirit; with your chest puffed up thinking you're something special and have all the answers, then you've got it all wrong.

Sometimes people judge when they have no business doing so. In John 7:24 Jesus tells us to judge RIGHTEOUS judgment. This can only be done by following the rules that God has established in His word. Here follow seven good rules from Scripture:

1. Judge Scripturally

Isaiah 8:20 says, "How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

Our standard is God's word, not our feelings, our traditions, or our opinions. Right and wrong should always be determined by God's word.

2. Don't Judge When God's Word Is Silent

If God's word is silent about a subject, then you may not have to judge at all. Don't rush to judgment on an issue when the Bible says very little or is silent about it. Don't make more of a matter than God makes of it. A good example of this is found in Colossians 2:16: "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day:" That is, these are not subjects of great importance today, so let's not make these great issues of judgment.

3. Pray for Good Judgment Ability

When Solomon received his kingdom he asked God to (I Kings 3:9) “give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” We should pray for good judgment ability. (discernment)

4. Don't show favoritism

Proverbs 24:23 says, "These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judging is not good:"

Treat all parties fairly without favoring anyone, such as family members or friends. A truly fair judge is blind and deaf to any outer influence. (Isa. 42:1, 19-21)

5. Judge in Truth

Do not judge another when you do not have all the relevant facts. Jeremiah 5:1 says, "Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider,
search through her squares. If you can find but one person
who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city
."

A true judge is one who seeks the truth. If you must judge, be sure and get all the facts. A Japanese proverb says to "search seven times before you judge."

6. Judge Mercifully

Remember the words of Jesus 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."

You'll reap what you sow (Gal. 6:7-8). If you are swift and harsh in judging others, then God will see to it that you receive the same from others.

This is what that’s saying: Has God shown you a ton of mercy? Then in the same way, you should exercise mercy toward others.

7. Don't Forget to Judge Yourself

I Corinthians 11:30-31: "That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment."

If you are a true Christian, then you belong to God. You are God's child. If you refuse to judge and improve yourself as a child of God, then God will take it upon Himself to judge you.

Many of the troubles that we face in life are nothing more than God's way of judging us since we often neglect to judge ourselves.

Wouldn't it be amazing if every Christian actually took time to judge themselves before judging anyone else? Judgment is something that promotes growth in an individual's life. Many times, when we refuse to judge ourselves, we're in turn requiring others to judge us; requiring God to judge us, in order to get us to the point of growth that God intends and desires for us to be. Before you judge others, look at your own life.

*Now, think about the last time you judged someone. It could have been a big deal or a miniscule judgement on your part, but either way, look at these 7 things and see if your judgment was coming from a good place or a bad one?

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