Have you heard the comment: “You should not Judge.”? Or maybe the comment: “Jesus did not Judge, you shouldn’t eiither.”? In this post I want to look at these two questions together: Should you Judge? Did Jesus Judge?
Lets start off by looking at what Jesus taught on judging: 7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:1-5
Does it say that we should not judge? No, not exclusively. Look at the whole passage, it teaches how to judge. Here are some of the underlying principals I think are being taught here:
1) Do not be a hypocrite, judge yourself by the same standards that you are judging others. Because you are going to be judged by the same standards.
2) Judge yourself first, address the same problem in your own life before pointing out the problem in other people’s lives.
3) Judge others with caring; judging should be used to help and not hurt. In this context Jesus’ teaching is still telling us “to take the speck out of the your brother’s eye”.
Lets’ look at another teaching on this topic by Jesus: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24
So we can add:
4) Do not be judgmental (tending to judge people too quickly and critically). Judge with right judgement.
This finial passage looks to make the case: that the teaching is on how we are to judge, vs not judge at all.
This teaching is logically valid. If one was to say to you: “You should not Judge!”. Then you should rightly ask the question: Why are you judging me for judging? The statement “you should not judge” becomes circular reasoning and leads nowhere (invalid reasoning). The teaching of Jesus does not violate this logical reasoning.
Some one may end up saying: well Jesus never judged. I strongly suggest you point them to Matthew Chapter 23 then ask them this question: In this chapter what is Jesus doing to the (judgmental) Pharisees? (Side note: After reading this chapter in Matthew, I recommend staying away for being judgmental.)
If they come back and say: Well Jesus is God maybe it is only OK for God to Judge not us. Well let’s take a look at a few example of judging in the NT:
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he is speaking about believers grievance against another: “Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!” – 1 Corinthians 6:3
In Acts we read about one of the followers of Jesus, Stephen, say: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” – Acts 7:51-53
That is just two prominent followers of Jesus from the early Church. They sure looking like they are doing a lot of Judging!
In the end we have all have to making judgments, you are making a judgement right now as you read this post! So we cannot stop making judgments.
What we are called to do is change how we go about judging, not stop entirely.
I’ll end with a video of Dr. Frank Turek from the One Minute Apologist: