Question of Judging Others
Professor Rev. Dr. Stephen K. Massey, M.A. Economics, M.Th. M. Div., Th.D. Phone (905) 876-1210
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 to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote (Splinter, Sawdust) 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? or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out 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 thou then shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye (Matthew 7:1-5)
This is an illustration of Pharisaic practices which pertains to judging. The Pharisees were judging Christ and finding Him to be inadequate. He was not offering the kind of kingdom they anticipated or asking for the kind of righteousness they were exhibiting. So they rejected Him. However, Jesus warned them against severely hypocritical judging.
This passage does not teach that judgments should not be made. Matthew 7:5 does speak of removing the speck (mote) from brother’s eye. The Lord’s point was that a person should not be habitually critical or condemnatory of a speck of saw dust in someone else’s eye, when he has a plank – a strong hyperbole for effect in his own eye. Such action is hypocritical. Though judgment is sometimes needed, those making distinctions, to distinguish and thus to decide. They must first be certain of their own lives. One must exercise care to do what would be appreciated and beneficial. One should not entrust holy things to unholy people (dogs) and should not throw pearls to pigs. Dogs and swine were despised in those days.
According to John Vernon McGee, “Judge can mean to decide, to distinguish, to condemn, to avenge” and it actually can mean to damn.” These verses do not mean that a child of God is forbidden to judge others, but it does mean that we are not to judge the inward motives of others in the same sense of condemning them. God does not forbid our judging wrong or evil actions. Some people are always highly critical and live in the realm of fault finding. Some people have made it their life’s work to find fault with others, to judge them and criticize them. Herschel Ford gives good example, London is a marvelous city. But one day a famous cat went to London. Do you remember the report?
Pussy cat, pussy cat where have thou been?
I’ve been to London, to look at the queen
Pussy cat, pussy cat what did you see there?
I saw a little mouse under the chair.
Pussy cat saw a mouse, because that was all that she was looking for. Some people major on the matter of fault finding.
The Full Life Study Bible discusses this important topic. Jesus condemns the habit of severely criticizing others, while ignoring their own faults. A believer must first submit himself to God’s righteous standard before attempting to examine and influence the conduct of other Christians (Matthew 7:3-5)
Christ is not denying the necessity of exercising a certain degree of discernment of making value judgments with respect to sin in others. Else where we are commanded to identify false ministers in the church and to evaluate the character of individuals (Matthew 7:6, John 7:24, 1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Corinthians 5:12, 1 John 4:1, 1 Timothy 4:1)
A distinguished professor of Princeton University Charles Hodge also discusses this controversial passage. To him, it is a peculiar command: Judge not.
According to him, the word means simply to pronounce on the conformity or non-conformity of an act to the law. As intermediate between official judgment and mere expression of approbation or disapprobation, is decided condemnation of our brethren on pronouncing them guilty before God. The former is expression of our own judgment; the later is a declaration of what is judgment of God. In the first sense there is of course no sin in judging. As to the second sense, it does not belong to us. We have the right and duty to declare what God’s judgment is, so far as it is revealed e.g. that no one who denies Christ or says that Jesus is accursed, is of God; that no unclean person or unjust or murder or drunk and hath any part in the kingdom of God. The known sins of the society, community and church should be brought to light and condemned such as sexual impurity, shameful lusts, adulteries, fornications, abortions, lesbianism, because we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The function of reproof is with the church. If the church does not perform this function, it is dysfunctional church.
The Bible mentions the adulteries of the sons of the Eli:
1. They were sons of Bilial
2. They knew not the Lord. They refused to obey the Lord.
3. They desecrated the sacrifices of God and made the man to abhor offering. They robbed the meat of the offerings with a three-pronged fleshhook in their hand, while the meat of the offering was in the pan or kettle.
4. They committed adultery with women, who came for worship.
5. They refused to obey the truth. God said. I will judge Eli’s house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth, because his sons made themselves vile and he restrained them not. The sons of Eli were slain (1 Samuel 3:13;4:11)
We have no right to pronounce sin, which God has not so declared-meats, days, etc. We have no right to judge the heart or to pass sentence upon motives. Paul refused to be thus judged by the Corinthians
a. We are utterly incompetent for this office
b. This is not the time for judging
c. We have no authority. It is an office which belongs to Christ.
It is a usurpation of our part.
There is a second kind of judging viz, the expression of approbation or disapprobation. This is right, when done with competent knowledge. There are adulterous elders or leaders in so called church shops (social clubs), which are ethnic churches, who play music sing song play musical instruments on church pulpits. These church shops lack purity in Biblical standards. Most of the Indo-Pakistani Church shops are in the hands of business or trade contractors (“thakedars”) who manage, select their elders or deacons on the basis of selfish ends. They promote their business or trades through these church shops. Divorced church leaders and elders run these church shops. These church shops are ministered by untrained pastors or ministers, who do not know the Biblical Doctrines and Standards and how can they teach the congregation? Once an untrained pastor was asked to pray for a woman who had died. The pastor prayed: Sister is in heaven and she is watching and she is watching as to how many people are attending her funeral?
St. Paul rebuked Peter and others (fully trained) for their hypocrisy and false doctrine. But when Peter was come to Antioch I (Paul) withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came to James he did eat with Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision (Galatians 2:11-12).
St. Paul writes if the church has not set up proper and orderly ways to evaluate and judge prophecies and teachings, it has forbid to follow Biblical guidelines: Let the prophets speak Two or three and the other judge (1 Corinthians 14:29). Many times these untrained ministers prove to be false teachers (Matthew 24:24). Many Pentecostal workers think that the Holy Spirit is in their pocket and they can use Him whenever, they like. Note it, He is God, not a puppet or stooge. We have to fear and tremble before Him. They receive money like rivers of water and iner-alia they have become carnal, sexy and luxurious in life style and call themselves as king’s kids. The whole world is looking to Penticostal movement for the proclamation of the Gospel, hope and deliverance.
Further St Paul points out the glaring sin of the Church of Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:1-8)
In the Old Testament, Nathan went to David, rebuked him for his sin of adultery and condemned him for the murder of Uriah the Hittite and pronounced judgment upon him (1 Samuel 12:1-23)
It is wrong to condemn, when we are not competent to form a right judgment.
When the motive is bad to gratify malice, to wound the feelings or to amuse others.
Professor Charles Hodge gives reason against judging
1. We shall be judged here and thereafter.
2. We are guilty of folly.
3. We cherish evil feelings ourselves.
4. We promote them in others.
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan deals with this subject in sections. Let us turn to the consideration of these sections. First is our Lord’s description of attitude of the subject to those who are without. The first 5 verses forbid censoriousness and the 6th verse insists upon a careful discrimination. The one commandment is contained in the first words. Everything that follows explains and argues for obedience to that command. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, ye shall be measured unto you.” That is a graphic illustration. The King decrees that whatever measure ye take the other man will use the same.
A careful understanding of the use of the word judge, it is very necessary, because in the second section when our Lord says, give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine. He commands us to judge; and upon another occasion He distinctly said that to His disciples judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). So that this command, judge not that ye be not judged must not be taken superlatively as though we were not to use the reason and the powers of discrimination. Which are ours within the kingdom of God. We must therefore understand what our Lord really meant by the word and how he used it in the particular connection.
According to Dr. Morgan, the strict meaning of the word “judge” is to distinguish, to decide and the variety of applications possible to such a word is evidenced by the fact of the variety of ways, in which it is translated in all these ways: Avenge, condemn, decree, esteem, go to law, ordain sentence to, think, conclude, damn, determine judge, sue at the law, call in question. There is no value in that grouping save it reveals the fact that the simplest thought in the word is that of distinguishing decision. Sometimes the decision may be adverse, sometimes it may express itself as a decree determined upon, sometimes it may express itself as a sentence to be carried out. Sometimes it runs out into action, sometimes it conditions a passive position. Therefore its particular sense must always be determined by the context. Here, evidently the Lord did not use the word “judge” in the sense of forbidding us to discriminate, to distinguish, to decide.
Dr. Morgan forbids to his subjects the usurpation of the throne of final judgment about any human being. He tells them that they are not to judge in the sense of condemnation. He warns us from that spirit of critical censoriousness. Our Lord gives reasons against severe judgment. First retributive judgment will fall back upon the man who exercises such judgment. Of course there are different interpretations of the meaning of the words, with what judgment we judge, ye shall be judged. Does He mean with what judgment we judge our fellow man we shall be judged by God. Some commentators tell us so. We may judge our fellow man falsely; God cannot. We come to wrong conclusions, because of the limitations of our being. God can not come to wrong conclusions. That can hardly therefore be the meaning.
Last of all I will not ignore the explanation of Prof. F.F. Bruce of Manchester University.
He says judge not that you be not judged with two amplifications of this injunction: You will be judged by the standard you apply in the judgment of others (Matthew 7:2) and you should not try to remove the speck (splinter) of saw dust from someone’s eye when you have a whole plank in your own (Matthew 7:3-5) There comes a saying which is a further amplification of the principle or rather a correction of it: you must not sit in judgment on others and pass censorious sentences on them, but you ought to exercise discrimination. Judgment is an ambiguous word in English as in Greek: it may mean sitting in judgment on people (or even condemning them), or it may mean exercising a proper discrimination. In the former sense judgment is deprecated and the later sense it is recommended.
David - a man after God's own heart
"I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will." Samuel 13:13-14.What an awesome thing it is to be referred to as the beloved of God.
This reference of God concerning David has always fascinated me. I draw personal inspiration from this account and want to fashion my life accordingly. It is my desire that as you peruse this article, that you would be inspired. But before we study the attributes of King David, it would be important to know who David really was.
King David of Israel was known for his diverse skills both as a warrior and as a writer of psalms. In his 40 years as ruler, between approximately 1010 and 970 B.C., he united the people of Israel, led them to victory in battle, conquered land and paved the way for his son, Solomon, to build the Holy Temple. He was the eighth and youngest son of Jesse from the kingly tribe of Judah. He was also a direct descendent of Ruth the Moabite. David began his life as a shepherd in Bethlehem. One day, the prophet Samuel called him out of the field and anointed him without the knowledge of the current king, Saul. David returned to his sheep and waited for the appointed time when he would be enthroned. He is most famous for killing Goliath nine foot giant with a single stone when he was just a teenager.
So what were some of the attributes of David that set him apart from the rest of the people?
DAVID LOVED THE WORD OF GOD
Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. - Psa 119:97
1. In this psalm, David expresses his sentiment found elsewhere, we find one who has a great love for God's Word - Psa 119:47-48
2. This love for God's Word is due to the fact that...
a. It protects him from sin - Psa 119:11
b. It revives him in affliction - Psa 119:50
c. It gives him great peace of mind - Psa 119:165
DAVID LOVED TO PRAY
A. "I WILL CALL UPON HIM AS LONG AS I LIVE" - Psa 116:1-2
1. His love for prayer was based upon the fact God had answered his prayers before - Psa 116:1-2
2. It was based upon the fact that God had greatly blessed him - Psa 116:12-13
3. It was based upon the fact that prayer brought God close to him - Psa 145:18
DAVID LOVED TO PRAISE GOD.
"SEVEN TIMES A DAY I PRAISE YOU" - Psa 119:164
1. He praised God because of His righteous judgments
2. He praised God because of His greatness and loving kindness - Psa 95:1-7
3. And he was determined to sing praises as long as he lived - Psa 104:33
DAVID LOVED UNITY AMONG BRETHREN
"BEHOLD, HOW GOOD AND HOW PLEASANT IT IS..." - Psa 133:1
1. David knew the value of good friendship and unity, as exemplified in the relationship he had with Jonathan - 1 Sam 18:1
2. He also knew the terrible pain of division within a family (cf. his sons, Amnon and Absalom - 2 Sam 13)
DAVID HATED EVERY FALSE WAY
"I HATE EVERY FALSE WAY" - Psa 119:104
1. His hatred was based upon his understanding of God's precepts Psa 119:104
2. His hatred affected his selection of activities and friends Psa 101:3-4,6-7
DAVID ENJOYED CLOSE INTIMACY WITH GOD.
This in my opinion is the most important attribute that made David a man after God's own heart. David clearly
enjoyed close intimacy with God. He spent hours in prayer in personal communication with God. 1 Sam 13:14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command." (NIV)
After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: `I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.' (NIV)
In closing, we note that like David we too can find a special place in God's Heart. David was not perfect. Like all of us he fell again and again. Yet every time He fell, his response was immediate repentance. This act restored his relationship with God. God knows our short-comings. That is why He sent His Son Jesus. He has paid the price for all of us for all times. Once born again all we have to do is to learn to enjoy the very Real Presence of God in Prayer, in the Word and in Fellowship. I am confident that since God is no respecter of persons, He will make us people after His own Heart too as we learn to spend time with Him.