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 Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

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Statesman63
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PostSubject: Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged   Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:27 pm


Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged
Perhaps it is one of the favorite and most used verses of “Christians” who rarely open their bible, but yet have a few well known bible quotes in memory that they use defensively when another Christian calls him or her out for their sins.  It a misapplied and misinterpreted verse when used in that context.  When a Christian rightfully calls out another Christian for their blatant sin, the sinning Christian is often quick to retort, “Don’t judge me; the bible says ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged,’” and they expect that somehow God prefers for each of us to simply turn a deaf ear of indifference and ignore the sins of Christians around us.  Advocates of this view also argue, “We are all sinners,” and go on to quote another of their favorite defensive memory verses, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” I would like to clarify and spell out how all of these verses are misused, taken out of context, and misinterpreted.  

Without taking any bible verse out of context, and considering all verses taken together, we are not to judge another’s motives, preferences, judge by hearsay or gossip, judge based on quirks, personality differences, handicaps, educational level, unsinful habits, ethnicity, race, culture, or economic class; or judged based on spiritual worship styles, or judge another hypocritically when guilty of the same sin, without admitting one’s own culpability.  One way to avoid hypocrisy is by confessing the sin you are pointing out to another if you too have been guilty of it.  We cannot judge based on intent or motives because no one knows the heart of another.  If a person gives a big donation, we cannot assess that the person gave just to be seen or for some ulterior motive.  Jesus could make such a judgment because he knew the hearts of man.  Therefore we cannot judge based on a tacit facial expression or look.  The person who looked at you with a smirk, may not have had you in mind, but was just having a bad day, and happened to look your way with that expression.  

But by all means, Christians are to judge other Christians who blatantly sin.  We are to hold each other accountable to God’s Word in corporate places.  Let’s first define what it means to biblically, legitimately judge another.  It simply means that as a part of one body in Christ, we are to hold the other members of that same body accountable to the Word of God in regard to blatant sin.  Sin is a cancer.  The body of Christ is to weed out the evils within itself through Christ, with the intent of reformation.  As one body in Christ, a smashed toe onto a brick will spread pain in the rest of the members of the body.  A cancer on one part of the body endangers the health of the whole.  Because of its interconnectedness, if your hand decides to stop operating today that would greatly inconvenience the rest of your body.  Christians are one body with Christ as the Head.  We are to hold each other accountable to the Head, so that the whole body functions properly.  The head is where the brain is and it is where the orders to the body are given.  When the body decides to stop following what the head tells it to do, the whole body becomes chaotic and ataxic.  

Let us peruse Scripture to see that the bible clearly says that we are to judge one another. In 1 Corinthians 5:1, we have a man who is a Christian and word somehow got out that he slept with his father’s wife: that is, he slept with his stepmother.  Paul rebukes the Corinthian Church for doing nothing about this sinful act within their congregation.  He says in 1 Corinthians 5:3-5, “…I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.  When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the flesh may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.”  Paul says to judge the man, and to do so publicly.  The sin somehow became public, therefore the judgment needed to be public.  He says to hand him over to Satan (in other words, send him out of the protection of God’s fellowship in the Church) so that Satan will have access to him and make his life miserable, and perhaps lead him to repentance that he may rid his sin, and come back into fellowship with Jesus.  (And yes, God uses Satan for his purposes, i.e. Job.)  

I am going to quote 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 and defer my commentary until the end: “I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters.  In that case you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother [a Christian] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler.  With such a man do not even eat.  What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?  Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside.  ‘Expel the wicked man from among you.’” Paul says that Christians are not to judge non-Christians.  Non-Christians are doing what they are supposed to do.  Sinners are supposed to sin.  He is saying to continue to associate with sinners even when they are doing ungodly things.  Not only would we have to leave the world to avoid them (because all sinners sin and they are everywhere), but we could also serve as their light, and perhaps show them how Jesus walks, and maybe they will repent and convert to Christianity.  But he says that if a Christian is doing the things non-Christians do, then we are to treat that Christian differently.  We are to expel that Christian from our fellowship and not eat with such a person.    

Paul says that God will be the judge of those outside the Church (non-Christians; and this, on the Day of Judgment, at the end of the 7 year tribulation period from the instant of the Rapture.) But we are to judge fellow saints.  We are not to go around pointing out the sins of those who do not know Jesus.  Instead we are to give them Jesus first, who is the one who takes away their sins.  But we are to hold fellow Christians accountable to their sin.  It is a sin to not hold another Christian accountable to sin.  One day we will sit as jurors on that council during the unrighteous’ judgment.  1 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?”  We will also judge demons in that day, as 6:3 says, “Do you not know that we will judge angels?  How much more the things of this life!”  Paul says since we will be doing a lot of judging in the future, we ought to be competent enough now to be able to judge the civil matters of the Church.  Interestingly, as you see here, we are not to judge the world but only Christians in this life, but in the next life we will judge angels and the world, but not other Christians.  In the next life, God only will be the Judge of Christians with no council.  

1 Timothy 1:20, Paul says, “Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.”  Paul judged others.

Let’s look at other verses.  2 Thessalonians 3:6 reads, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother [Christian] who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.”  Verse 14: “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him.  Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed.  Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.”  In 2 Timothy 3:1-4, Paul gives a list of despicable sins in God’s eyes including lovers of money, boastfulness, pride, abusiveness, unholiness… He goes on to say in verse 5, “having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.”  He says that these are churchgoers.  They have a form of godliness.  They say “Amen” in the pew and jump and shout in church for their favorite church song.  But, Paul says, that if their way of life reflects verses 1-4 to have nothing to do with them—and that is a form of judgment: choosing who to hang out with and who to avoid.  Again, if these are non-Christians, then we are not commanded to avoid them, but if they are Christian wannabees (“having a form of godliness”) these people, Paul says, to avoid.  These are Christians who refuse to listen to a rebuke.  

1 Timothy 5:20 reads, “Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.”  In Galatians 2:11-13 Paul openly rebukes the Apostle Peter before everybody for his two-faced hypocrisy of eating forbidden old covenant meat that Jesus made clean in the new covenant, only around Gentiles, but would deny it when his Jewish friends came around.  These verses clearly say that we are to judge.  Even Leviticus 19:17 states, “Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.”  That implies that if you do not rebuke him, God will also judge you for their sin.  

Jesus, the one who said “Judge not lest ye be judged,” says in Luke 17:3, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”  So when people reject a rebuke and protest, “You can’t judge me,” that is not a biblical retort.  And we must look within and be able to take a rebuke ourselves.  We must keep in mind Proverbs 27:5-6: “[5] Better is open rebuke than hidden love. [6] Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” These verses say that the person giving you the rebuke is rebuking you to help, not harm you.  It takes a non-judgmental humility to be able to accept a rebuke.  Do not judge the one bringing the rebuke. Assume they are speaking truth in love.  The key to all rebukes is to speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).   Truth spoken without love is caustic and destructive.  Love without truth is a lie.  To say nothing about someone’s sin who is on the road to self-destruction is a lie that suggests that person is doing an acceptable thing.  We have to be able to both give rebukes in love and receive them in humility.  And judging in love is another way to avoid hypocritical judgment.  

2 Timothy 4:2 posits, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”  Note that rebuking should be connected to correction, encouragement, great patience and careful instruction.  Titus 2:15 says rebuking should include encouragement and done with all authority without letting anyone despise us.  Rebuking with all authority means that the source of your rebuke is not your opinion, but what thus saith the LORD according to the Word of God.  Never rebuke when the source is your own judgment or opinion.  Rebuking must be based on truth (God’s truth) to be legitimate.  

Our judgment should be in love and never be more severe than the crime.  2 Corinthians 2:5-8 reads, “If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent—not to put it too severely.  The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him.  Now instead, you ought to forgive him and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.”  And Galatians 6:1: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”  

I am going to conclude this by covering the verses I opened up with: the verses young minded Christians use to throw off rebukes.  Again, their infamous retort is “You can’t judge me.  The bible says judge not lest ye be judged, and he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  These are the 2 passages I am going to conclude with.  

Matthew 7:1 reads, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”  This verse is so simply written that it can be understood by all; however, if taken by itself, the full meaning of it is missing.  Most Christians learn the verse without the context.  Reading the full passage, Jesus is not saying do not judge, rather, he is saying be careful HOW you judge because how you judge could incur judgment on yourself (or it may not if the judgment it legitimate.)  A legitimate judgment according to this passage is when one takes out the log from their own eye, then he or she will be able to see clearly to take out the splinters in other people’s eyes.  But reading verse one and stopping there, most Christians miss the true meaning of this entire passage.  The meaning is simply, do not judge hypocritically.  It is okay to judge non-hypocritically in truth and love.  Verse 2 says, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  If you judge in love, God will judge you in love.  We saw in Leviticus 19:17, that if you do not judge, you will be guilty of the sin you turned a deaf ear to.  Jesus also said this elsewhere.  In Revelation 2:20, Jesus rebukes the Church for NOT judging those who were sinning.  He says, “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess…[verse 23] I will strike her children dead.  Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you [church members] according to your deeds.”  Again, it is a sin to NOT judge other Christians of their blatant sins.  It is a sin to tolerate sin.  But back to Matthew 7; Jesus says in verse 5, “You hypocrite [“hypocrisy” being the point of the passage], first take the plank out of your own eye, then you will SEE CLEARLY TO REMOVE the speck from your brother’s eye.”  Whether you are in the business of removing planks or specks, both are judging.  But one is judging hypocritically, the other is legitimate.  Jesus, even in this passage (that people conclude says do not judge), actually says to judge legitimate specks from your brother’s eyes that you see clearly because you removed the planks or logs from your own.  Jesus does not want us to leave other’s specks unremoved so that we all may see clearly.  

The final passage is in John 8:1-11.  It is interesting that the earliest manuscripts do not have John 7:53-8:11, though I believe that this is rightly included in John as a divinely inspired text.  It is a well-known story of the bible.  The culminating verses are when Jesus speaks.  In verse 7 He says, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  I am not going to give an extended commentary on this passage because it is not the topic of this writing.  Let me remind the readers that the rest of the bible clearly says that we are to judge other Christians, but to do so in love and encouragement.  Casting a stone does not result in reformation; it results in death.  The Jews were not concerned for that lady’s reformation.  Jesus’ point is clear.  Do not bring down another if you too are guilty of the same crime.  Casting a stone at the lady is a semblance of hatred, spite, and everything opposite of love.  We are not to judge that way.  Never judge by casting a stone at another because that reflects you are attacking the person in hatred with the intent to only bring them down.  When we judge another, it must be in love and there are no stones involved when we judge in that manner.  God bless you.
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