“Judge not, that ye be not judged?”

SHOULD WE SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE WORLD’S SINS? THEN, WHAT DID JESUS MEAN, “JUDGE NOT, THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

In this day and age of “political correctness,” the Bible-believing Christian is being intimidated to keep silent about sin. As long as people are happy doing whatever they are doing, they should be left alone, and we are expected to stay quiet, no matter how vile or disrespectful the action is. Sadly, Matthew 7:1 is often used against the Bible believer who exposes sin for what it is. “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” What did Jesus mean here? Was He teaching that we should be totally silent about the world’s sins? That we should not stand up for what is right and godly? Before someone “judges” the Bible believer in this regard, the critic needs to note the context of the verse to which he or she clings.

It is usually haughtily said to the Bible-believing Christian who exposes sin for what it is, “This is the way God made me, so stop judging me. Jesus said not to judge.” Then, Matthew 7:1 is appealed to: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” In fact, in the recent past, the world’s most prominent religious leader commented about homosexual clergy within his church. Pope Francis stated, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? We shouldn’t marginalize [prevent from having attention or power] people for this. They must be integrated into society.” Such apathetic, pathetic words from someone who claims to be “the vicar of Jesus Christ” (which Jesus Christ?; 2 Corinthians 11:3,4). If anything, even the pope seemed to be using Matthew 7:1 to conclude that we should not defend godly behavior and that we should not speak out when moral decay waxes worse and worse.

Naturally, when God’s Holy Word pricks the conscience, the desperate sinner will then “take cover” behind any available “fig leaf” (his or her parents did it back in Genesis 3:7-11). Perhaps nothing is more absurd than when the unholy sinner uses God’s Holy Word to justify his or her sin—completely disregarding the Bible’s purpose (which is to expose sin so man can see his need for the Saviour Jesus Christ!). Rather than being held accountable to God Almighty for wresting (twisting) His Word to make it say something so as to bolster our sin, why not leave it alone and believe it, setting aside our pride and admitting our fault, our unrighteousness, our sin, like the Bible so clearly proves? Rather than idly speculating what type of “judging” to which Jesus referred in Matthew 7:1, it would spare us much heartache and shame if we would—who would have guessed it?—simply read the context!

We will not understand what Jesus Christ meant in Matthew 7:1 unless we read the context: “[1] Judge not, that ye be not judged. [Because/Explanation/Reason] [2] For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. [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? [4] 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? [5] 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” (Matthew 7:1-5).

By simply reading the verse with its context, the clarity is astonishing! When any dear soul attempts to argue, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” politely remind them that there are four succeeding verses to quote too. If you happen to have your King James Bible in hand, let him or her read those verses. To what type of “judging” is Jesus referring? According to Jesus, He is talking about a hypocrite (verse 5). Certainly, Jesus knew what He meant, did He not?

Before we proceed any further, let us define “judge.” To “judge” means “to form an opinion or conclusion about.” God’s Word, the Holy Bible, enables us Christians to form sound conclusions about various life issues, doctrines, beliefs, practices, and so on. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Surely, God intended us to “judge,” for His Holy Spirit inspired the words “prove [test, discern, examine] all things” and “hold fast [seize, take, grip] that which is good.” Unless we “judge,” how will we determine what is “good?”

What Jesus Christ was discussing in Matthew 7:1 is that we should not judge hypocritically. Our Lord is referring to hypocritical judging. Romans 2:21-22 provides an example: “[20] Thou [Jew, verse 17] therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? [22] Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?” The Jews should have taught the Gentiles the Word of JEHOVAH God. Alas, the Jews were equally guilty of breaking God’s laws as the Gentiles—the Jews acted liked the Gentiles who did not even know JEHOVAH!

What Jesus Christ meant in Matthew 7:1 is that in His kingdom on earth, no hypocritical judging will be tolerated. Whatever standard by which a Jew condemns others’ actions, his own activities will be evaluated by that same standard. For instance, he will come under God’s condemnation if he ridicules a thief, when he himself has been dishonest (a fact he ignores). He emphasizes the sin of one person (the “mote,” or speck), but he has many sins (the “beam,” or log)—in fact, he is guilty of the same sins!

This, however, does not mean we Christians are to remain apathetic—silent—about sin. Clearly, Jesus, in Matthew 7:1, was not teaching we should be silent about exposing sin (He merely forbade hypocritical judging; verses 2-5). The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul preached against sin in order to show lost people they needed to be saved from those sins through the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:26-41; Acts 14:11-18; Acts 17:16-31; Acts 24:25; et cetera). Notice the Holy Spirit’s references to specific sins which gender His righteous wrath—murder, envy, pride, homosexuality, drunkenness, fornication, idolatry, witchcraft, disobedience to parents, theft, hatred, gossiping, cruelty, lying, and so on (Romans 1:21-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Timothy 1:9,10; 1 Peter 4:1-5). Notice Paul’s divinely-inspired instructions about having no relations with Christians who are fornicators, covetous, extortionists, idolaters, railers, and drunkards (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

Christ declared, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day (John 12:48). God in His Word has already declared what is and what is not sin. Technically, we are not judging the world; God’s Word does that when we believe it and preach it! Remember, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15,16).

Dearly beloved in Christ, let us be bold to speak out against sin by sharing God’s Word with others, but let us do it in meekness and love (2 Timothy 2:24-26). Our goal is not to be unkind to lost people, but to tell them the answer to their sin problem is only found through the shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ! By preaching this Gospel of Grace, we remind ourselves we were once where they are.

Also see:
» Why is there sin in the world? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Is not hell only reserved for “bad” people? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Do all religions worship the same God? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

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