Do Not Judge?
"Judge not, that ye be not judged." I imagine this verse has been said in nearly every ELCA church forum on homosexuality. But what does this verse really mean?
Below are two "Daily Devotions with Greg Laurie"
Discerning, Not Condemning
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”
— Ephesians 4:15
It seems as though every nonbeliever knows Matthew 7:1: "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged." Generally, it goes something like this: The Christian approaches a compromising Christian or a nonbeliever and talks about his or her need for Christ. At some point, the Christian will say that a certain thing is a sin. The other person will respond, "Who are you to judge me? Doesn't the Bible itself say, 'Judge not, lest you be judged'? "
So what does this verse mean? Is Jesus suggesting that we are never to speak truthfully to someone, even if what he or she is doing is wrong? Is that indeed judgmental? Does this mean that Christians are never to be critical or make an evaluation? What did Jesus mean when He said, "Judge not, that you be not judged"?
Some people believe that to be a real Christian, you must love and accept everyone. You must be tolerant of everything and never register an opinion. But is that what a Christian is? No, it isn't. That assumption actually contradicts what we read in other passages of the Bible.
People often say that Jesus was a great humanitarian, loving and caring and sharing. He was those things, but Jesus also was a revolutionary. Jesus confronted people. He had some choice words for the Pharisees, calling them vipers and hypocrites and dead men walking. When confrontation was necessary, Jesus would speak the truth to a person.
We must do the same, but we need to do so lovingly. As Ephesians 4:15 says, "Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church." That is what we do with those we love. We should be discerning, but not condemning. (see here)
Is It Ever Okay to Judge?
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
— 1 Corinthians 6:2
Is there a place for judging? Are we to judge one another, and if so, on what basis? Jesus said, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you" (Matthew 7:1–2). The Greek word Jesus used for "judge" means, "to separate, choose, select, or determine." In context, we see that Jesus is dealing primarily with motives. You cannot judge my motives, nor can I judge yours. We may have an evaluation of someone, but we can't see his or her heart.
The better translation of this statement would be, "Condemn not, that you be not condemned." I am to make judgments and evaluations, but I am not to condemn. Some people are hypercritical. They are just looking for people to slip up. They are quick to jump to conclusions. As one of my favorite preachers, the late J. Vernon McGee, said, "The only exercise some Christians get is jumping to conclusions and running down others."
Sometimes we are quick to jump to conclusions and quick to believe the worst instead of the best about someone. Jesus is saying we should not do that. So if someone says to you, "Well, doesn't the Bible say, 'Judge not, that you be not judged'?" your response should be, "Yes, but I don't think you understand the meaning of that statement." The reality is that Christians are to make judgments. A judgment is an evaluation, and we make them every day.
We are not in a position to see a person's heart, and we are not in a position to bring final judgment on someone. Our objective is to never to condemn and put down; it is to help and restore. (see here)
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1 Thessalonians 5:21
Former ELCA seminary student and former ELCA member who is fed up with the ELCA's consistent mockery of God's Word.
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