Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged!
By: John Duncan
The most misquoted verse in the Bible is probably Matthew 7:1, "Judge not
that ye be not judged." We hear this verse multiple times a day. At Troy State
University in Alabama, a professor we met even said that it was one of the Ten
Commandments. Too often we have heard sincere, misinformed Christians and
unbelievers alike say, "I donít want to judge anybody, but..." Ironically, the
one who screams "judge not" is often the one passing judgment on
Letís See What the Bible Really Says About Judging:
mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment."
"With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy
mouth." (Psa 119:13)
"Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the
cause of the poor and needy." (Prov 31:9)
Jesus commended Simon, "Thou
hast rightly judged." (Luke 7:43)
"Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge,
wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt show her all her abominations."
"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself
is judged of no man." (1 Cor 2:15)
"Do ye not know that the saints shall
judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to
judge the smallest matters?" (1 Cor 6:2)
"Know ye not that we shall judge
angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?" (1 Cor
There are many other passages and verses in the Bible about
judging. While God is our ultimate Judge, He has also commanded us to judge
according to the Word of God.
According to the Websterís Dictionary, to
judge means "to discern, to distinguish, to form an opinion, to compare facts or
ideas, and perceive their agreement or disagreement, and thus to distinguish
truth from falsehood." Therefore, when you say that your neighbor is a "good
person," you are passing a judgment (forming an opinion) just as much as when
you say that the thief is a "bad person."
If there were no
All the prisons would be empty and thieves, serial
killers, drug dealers, rapists, and murderers would be loose in your
You could not discipline your children and teach them not
to steal, lie, do drugs, or give in to peer pressure.
School could not be
mandated (by parents or govt) but if children did attend, they could not be
evaluated as to their progress. Everyone should graduate regardless of their
advance. Students could not be graded or disciplined.
You could not judge
any false doctrine and would have to allow it to be taught from your churchís
pulpit ("discerning" is the same thing as "judging").
You should leave
your children with anyone who said was qualified to be a baby-sitter. You should
not bother to check his/her background. Later, you should not be upset if this
baby-sitter turned out to be a child-molester, because "thou shalt not
You should marry anyone that asked. You shouldnít worry about
his/her character or beliefs. What if he beats you up? What if she runs around
on you? You shouldnít get so mad because "thou shalt not
Hopefully you can see the folly of such silly doctrine by
now. The devil has been successful to push the church further and further into a
corner, while everyone else comes out of the closet with their sins. Most often,
those who tell you "not to judge" them do so because they are either hiding
something or want to continue doing it without reaping negative effects for it.
In the campuses where we have been, students say that we shouldnít judge (form
an opinion of) fornicators, drunkards, liars, homosexuals, or the like. However,
they fail to realize that sin harms them and their neighbors. A caring, loving
Christian will judge all situations according to the Word of God and call
sinners to repentance.
The church has become intimidated by the opinions
of the world as they scream, "You religious bigots, hatemongers, and intolerant
people (which are judgments in themselves), do not judge me!" However, God
clearly commands us to judge so we wonít be deceived. Why would the command to
judge be so vehemently attacked in society? Obviously, if the church stops
judging and using our common sense, we will no longer be able to distinguish
good from evil, we will buy into the politically correct idea of moral
relativism (whatís good for you may not be good for me), and we will bow down to
the devilís wishes to deceive us, our family, and our friends.
disturbing is to see church leadership saying, "do not judge." Many pastors lead
their sheep astray and keep them under their manipulative control by telling
them that they have a "critical spirit," they are "prideful," or "judgemental,"
while all they are trying to do is to discern the truth. If you find yourself in
such a church, FLEE for your (spiritual) life!
Now letís take a look at
the famous verse that is so misquoted today and put it in its PROPER context. If
we are intellectually honest when looking at this passage, we will find that it
is actually teaching us to judge, not to refrain from judging! We have inserted
a few comments in brackets.
Mat 7:1-5 "Judge not, that ye be not judged
[do not judge others if you do not want to be judged by others; everyone will be
judged by God]. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with
what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again [if you judge others,
they will judge you by the same measures]. And why beholdest thou the mote 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 [how can you judge someone when you are
guilty of the sin yourself]? Thou hypocrite [this is the audience in the
context; a hypocrite is one who is not living what he is preaching], first cast
out the beam out of thine own eye [FIRST judge yourself and get your own life
cleaned up]; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy
brother's eye [THEN after you get your life straight, you will be able to
discern clearly and you are commanded to help clean your brotherís
Other misquoted Scriptures:
Romans 14:3-10. This is
about dietary preferences, things that are not essential to salvation.
Romans 2:1-3. We have the same scenario of Mat. 7. We should not judge
others if we are guilty of the same things. We must first clean up our own lives
through repentance and faith, then we are qualified to judge
James 4:11 says that we are not to speak evil of other "brethren"
-- those who are obediently doing the will of God (Mat 12:50). This does not
apply to those living in willful sin.
How Are We to
1. We are to judge righteously. Jesus commands in John 7:24,
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous
Judge by the Word of God and Its principles, not by someoneís
skin color, whether they are tall or short (inherited physical traits),
2. We are to judge without hypocrisy. "And thinkest thou this, O
man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt
escape the judgment of God?" (Rom 2:3)
Judge yourself first to see if you
are guilty of that sin. Live what you preach. Only after you get your life
cleaned up by turning from your sins and receiving pardon through repentance and
faith in Jesus (i.e. you get saved) you can go and help others to be saved too.