Sunday, August 29, 2010
This one is going to make some people angry.
That is not the reason why I am writing it, though. Lately I have seen so many people getting bent out of shape and yelling that Christians can’t judge them. “Only God can judge me!”
By the way, if you are having to constantly make yourself feel better by saying that, you are probably doing something wrong.
Is this idea true? Can only God judge? Well, if you want to be technical, Jesus said that God has passed all judgment on to Him. But are Christians forbid from judging? Every time someone’s Facebook status is “Only God can judge me,” they usually follow it up with Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
Standing alone, that verse certainly seems like a universal command to not judge anybody. But the passage goes on to say that we will be judged back by others when we judge (I thought only God judges us!). The whole “get the log out your own eye before you judge the speck in mine” argument is really foolish. Jesus finishes that verse by saying to get the log out your eye, THEN you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.
How do you know there is a speck in your brother’s eye? By making a judgment.
What Jesus is condemning is hypocritical judgments—those made by people living in sin themselves. This is like a man who looks at pornography or a woman who sleeps with her boyfriend judging a homosexual. You are in no position to make a judgment when you yourself are living in sin.
Judgment is also condemned when it is done for the purpose of trying to make the person feel bad, or to make you feel better about yourself. Jesus said to remove the speck in your brother’s eye; we do this to make them better.
Don’t pretend you never judge people. If you wake up at 2:00 AM to a noise outside your window, and you investigate the noise and see a man dressed all in black wearing a ski mask and holding a giant bag with a dollar sign on it, what would you do? You’d better not call the cops. After all, only God can judge him.
In John 7:24 Jesus said “Judge not according to the appearance of man, but judge righteous judgment.” What? A command to judge? From Jesus?
*For the record, the outward appearance here doesn’t refute the armed robber from the previous paragraph; Jesus is referring to judging a book by its cover and writing people off. By the way, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge it on its content.
The reason we prefer the “judge not” sermon over the actual command of Jesus is that the former frees us to live however we want to without conviction, while the latter puts the ball in our court to keep any logs out of our eyes. It also sets us up to be judged back.
Most people are familiar with the passage for church discipline found in Matthew 18:15-20; that is the passage that says we go to someone one on one, then with a few witnesses, then before the church. Verse 15 clearly says that if your brother sins against you, go to him privately about the matter. Yet whenever that happens today, all we hear about is, “You can’t judge me!”
Remember, we are not the judgment police, constantly on patrol to find someone to judge. I know we are constantly branded as being agents of hate who think we are perfect, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The only reason we “judge” is to make people better. If a professing Christian is doing something wrong, Galatians 6 tells us to help them get right.
When people lovingly show me an area where I need to get better, I may not like hearing it, but as a Christian I ultimately appreciate it and welcome the chance to become more like Christ. What Christian wouldn’t?
So if there is a log in your eye, remove it. And once you have, if you see a speck in your brother’s eye, lovingly help them remove it.
If a brother is lovingly helping you remove your own speck, don’t blast them (or use a Facebook status) about not being able to judge; they are just doing what Jesus commanded and trying to make you better.
If you plan on leaving a negative comment, please remember that only God can judge my blogs.
(Read Dogmatic Christians here)
(Read Close-Minded Christians here)