When to Judge, or how Not to Judge (Matthew 7:1-6)

One of the outlooks of contemporary life is that everyone should be free to do what they want. A consequence has been that most people are aware of verse 1, whether or not they know that it comes from the Bible. It has become very difficult to say that certain activities are wrong, especially if they are not harming anyone else. We should not be judgemental, we are told. Does Jesus support such an attitude in his teaching here about judging?

This particular instruction has been taken out of its context and used in a manner that forbids any critique of what others say and do. It is obvious from other biblical passages that the disciples of Jesus must assess what they hear and see, which means that they have to judge. If there is a biblical statement that forbids a particular practice, then the biblical statement must be obeyed, and it is appropriate for others to judge those who disobey it. The alternative is to allow everything and to accept that nothing is wrong.

In what kind of situations must we judge? Here are a few examples that the Bible mentions:
  • All believers are to assess the contents of the teachings they hear by the Bible. They are not to assume that what they hear is the truth (1 John 4:1).
  • The elders of a church, on behalf of the church, are to judge if a member should be disciplined and to what extent he or she should be disciplined (Matt. 18:17). An example of this occurred in Corinth (1 Cor. 5:9-13).
  • Church members should assess when other believers are causing problems and should respond to them in a biblical way (1 Thess. 5:14).
  • An individual Christian, when he sees a brother do something that is wrong, should make every effort to restore him (Matt. 18:15). But he cannot do this unless he has judged the activity to be wrong.
On the other hand, there are some situations in which we should not judge another believer. Here are some of them:
  • We should respect the consciences of individual Christians regarding issues that in themselves are neither right or wrong. Paul describes how they should be treated when he discusses weak and strong believers in Romans and 1 Corinthians.
  • We should not judge people by appearances. James warns his readers not to assume that rich, well-dressed people who attended the Christian gatherings would help, and he also warned them not to despise the poor.
  • We should not judge the service that another Christian gives to the Lord as long as that believer is following biblical guidelines (1 Cor. 4:1-5).
  • We should not attempt to judge another person’s motives. After all, only God knows the heart.

Read more http://greyfriarsreadings.blogspot.com/2017/11/when-to-judge-or-how-not-to-judge.html

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