Monday, April 25, 2016

Is it a sin to judge? Please explain Matthew 7:1.

One passage of Scripture that both Christians and non-Christians are familiar with is (Matthew 7:1). It reads “Do not judge so that you will not be judged”. This article is going to answer four questions regarding this passage.
  1. What is the context of (Matthew 7:1)?
  2. Is judging always sinful?
  3. When is judging wrong?
  4. When is judging allowed?
What is the context of Matthew 7:1?
This verse falls in the middle of Jesus’ famous “Sermon on the Mount”. The main idea of this sermon is found in (Matthew 5:20) which states “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven”. The scribes and Pharisees would often bind heavy burdens on people, judge them hypocritically and condemn sinful actions while they themselves were guilty of sinful attitudes and thoughts. The Pharisees would often hold people to a standard that not even they could keep. When you observe the verses following the 7:1 this becomes more clear. 
“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? “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”.
Jesus’ statement is intended to be absurd. The illustration is of one trying to remove a splinter out of another’s eye while have a large beam protruding from their own. This is how the Pharisees and scribes carried themselves. They were so concerned about the sins in everyone else’s lives that they could never see the giant sins in their own.

Is judging always sinful?
Got expects us to make what we would refer to as “judgment calls”. He also at times requires us to notice and deal with the sins in another’s life. The idea of approaching a person when they are sinning does go against our normal feelings of “mind your own business”, but as Christians, we are to help others leave sin and follow Christ. At times, to help a person out of a sinful situation you must “judge” a behavior as wrong. In the following passages it will be observed that “judging” is a requirement.
  • “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.“So then, you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:18-20)
  • "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)
  • “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Galatians 6:1)
  • "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother” (Matthew 18:15).
In all these passages we are told to identify sin in the lives of others. This is not to be done in a mean or cruel way, but nevertheless a person must “judge” in these situations.

When is judging wrong?
According to Matthew chapter 7,judging would be wrong if it is done hypocritically, we must first remove the “plank from our own eye”. Judging another is also sinful when a persons intentions are being doubted or if a conclusion is drawn solely by the appearance of another (just because a person “looks like a sinner” does not mean they are). When we make judgments that God would not make we are sinning. Another point to consider is that we must make sure we are not passing judgment in a boastful or ungodly way (if our ego is inflated through passing judgment on another we are sinning). 

When is judging allowed?
We can pass judgment if it is done in a godly way with godly intentions. At times we have to confront a person in sin and identify sin in their life. This is acceptable if it is done in a loving way. If you are going to judge, make sure you judge in the same way that you would want to be judged; make sure that your standard of consistent judgment is the Word of God.

God is final judge in all things, only He can be a completely righteous judge. Remember, you are not God! God judges man according to His standard, the Bible. If we allow God’s Word to judge the actions of another as sinful, in a loving and godly way, that is acceptable. Just always be sure to make sure you consistently apply God’s Word to yourself and not just others. 

By Cliff Sabroe - Quotes from NASB95 Bible