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Judge Not?

A Verbal Exchange Regarding Jesus and “Judge Not”

“Judge not” is one of the most common objections that people tend to raise when Christians witness to them. It seems that this is one of the few phrases some people have either read or heard about in the Bible. Or could it just be a phrase of convenience and blame shifting? Well, either way, it is almost always taken out of context and turned into a pre-text in an attempt to prove that Christians have no right to judge anyone in any way. In other words, many people think that the Bible commands everyone just to mind their own business with regard to everything and never witness to others about the truth of God’s Word concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement to come.

“Judge not!” they say when you point out their sin. “Judge not!” they say when you say abortionists are murderers. “Judge not!” they say when you say shacking up is wrong.

The following is an exchange (or at least an attempt at one) between myself and someone called T.W. It appears that this person entered an invalid email address, so my response bounced back to me. I thought it would be a good idea to include it here in case they happened by again so they sould read my response. It may also help you as well…

K.W. Writes:

On 5-2-05 K.W. wrote:

“Your website is very judgemental and in my opinion you don’t have the right to judge anyone if you really read the bible it says that only GOD! can judge you, we don’t know that you may be a liar, an adulterer ans one of the biggest sinners in this world don’t take this the wrong way it’s just my opinion on your website -K.W.”

My Response:

Hello K.W.,

Please accept my apologies for my delayed response to your comments. I experienced a technical glitch that prevented my accessing the messages from the contact form on my site.

Anyway, thank you very much for writing and expressing your opinions about If you will “lend me your ear” for a short time, I would like to address your comments.

Actually there is a very common misunderstanding of what the Bible says about God’s people and their ability and responsibility to judge. In 2 Chronicles 19:6 for example, King Jehoshaphat had repented after the prophet of God, Jehu, rebuked him. Then Jehoshaphat began reforming the country with God’s blessing. One of those reforms, listed in verses 5 and 6, was…”he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment.” That is right, the king set judges over the people with God’s blessing and told them that they were not working for him, but rather they were judging in God’s stead, with God’s blessing, so they should be very careful how they judged. God never commanded them to “judge not”.

This same principle is carried over into the New Testament as well. In fact, one of the very passages that many people partially quote in their justification of the whole “judge not” argument is found in Matthew chapter 7. Jesus, Himself, is teaching in the passage as He says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Most people yank that little verse out of its proper context and “presto” they have the Bible justifying their position…or so they think. As we read the verse in context, we see that Jesus was teaching something entirely different than most think and it suashes the little “judge not” catch phrase. Let’s continue. Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you again.” Please allow me to explain by paraphrasing the best I can. Jesus is warning people to be careful how they judge others, not that they should “judge not” at all. He explains that as a person judges another, he will be judged by others by that same standard. Then He basically says that what goes around, comes around, so to speak. Jesus doesn’t command “judge not” at all.

But, Jesus stays on that same subject as He goes on to say, in verse 3, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Please allow me to explain. Jesus says that a person should judge themselves first and get forgiveness for the sin in their own life before they go trying to perform spiritual surgery on their neighbor to get them right with God. Not “judge not”, but judge right and self first.

This perfectly illustrates what I am attempting to do with this website. Let me be the first to admit that I am not perfect either, in fact, without Jesus Christ I am, just as you suppose, a worse sinner than any that has ever lived. Incidently the Apostle Paul also thought that he was the “chiefest of sinners”. Some time ago I came face to face with God’s Law and realized that because the Bible said, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”…and Jesus went further by saying, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath commited adultery with her already in his heart.” I also realized that the Bible says, “Thou shalt not kill” and the New Testament makes clear in 1 John 3:15 that “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” I realized that the Bible says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness…”, which simply means telling even one lie is a sin. I realized that the Word of God says, “Thou shalt not steal”. That means that if I have stolen even something small, even in childhood, from that point on I am a thief and standing in desperate need of forgiveness. And then I noticed that there were 6 more commandments in the Ten Commandments alone aimed at my soul, screaming out, “Guilty! You are guilty of breaking God’s Holy Law! You must be judged and punished for all eternity! See, the Bible teaches that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Romans 6:23 tells us that, “the wages of sin is death”…That means that the wage that we have earned by even committing one sin is eternal death in hell. Why do I say eternal death in hell? Because in Revelation chapter 20 verses 12 thru 15, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Yes there is a real heaven and a real hell and we are all going to one or the other. Notice that each and every person judged in that scene is judged according to their works. All I am asking is for you to examine or “judge” yourself according to God’s standard…not mine. Have you ever looked with lust? If so you are an adulterer and cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. Have you ever told one lie? If so, you became a liar the very day you told your first lie and the Bible teaches that liars cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. Have you ever stolen anything? Even something small? If so, you are a thief and thieves cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. Have you ever harbored hatred in your heart? Come on, be honest? If you have you are a murderer according to God’s Word and cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven…And as I said before, those are only four commandments from God’s Word.

This all sounds pretty bleak at this point doesn’t it? Well, there really is great news at the end of all of this bad…I don’t want to leave you hanging, so I must tell you that even though you and I are sinners were born in sin and have willfully broken God’s Law…and stand or (stood in my case) condemned before God and deserving of His full wrath on the Day of Judgment…2,000 years ago, God stepped in and paid the fine for us! Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, came to Earth as a virgin born baby, grew up, living a perfect, sinless life…Then He voluntarily was tortured and nailed to a Roman cross to pay for your sins and for mine! You see, Jesus paid the wage of sin I spoke about earlier: “The wages of sin is death…” Then Jesus rose from the grave 3 days after they buried Him and now sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, thereby He secured eternal life for you if you will have Him. Now you are ready to hear the last part of the verse, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The great news is that God paid the fine that you and I owe because of our sin for us so that all we have to do upon knowing that and believing it is confess and repent (or turn from) our sins to God and ask Jesus to save us from the hell that we deserve.

K.W., that is the ultimate purpose of my website. Not just to merely judge others, but to point out the fact that each and every person on the planet has sinned and is already under the condemnation of God…enemies of God through their works…and that all men and women will either choose to remain in their sins and burn forever at their Day of Judgment or they will repent of their sins and trust the Lord Jesus Christ, who loves them enough that He suffered, died, rose again (defeating death) securing eternal life for all who repent and believe! If you will do that, then read the Bible daily, and obey what you read. God will never let you down!

I hope I have helped you to better understand what is really all about. If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. You may want to click on this link and take The Good Person Test all the way through for another run through what I’ve presented and at the end they offer a free Bible study if you are interested: The Good Person Test

In the Love of Christ Jesus,

Chris Long

Conclusion: Judge not at all? No! Judge not based on your own standards of right or wrong unless they are from the Word of God. Judge not unrighteously. Judge not before thinking things through and even then be careful how you judge others. Don’t just assume that you should judge not because someone claims the Bible says so. Now you know the truth about the “judge not” catch phrase. Judge not…unless you are willing not to say judge not to those who judge you by that same standard. Judge not accept by the Word of God. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you again.”

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