This is part 2 to “Self Righteous Judges …”
First, let’s just clear the air on what a “Self Righteous Judge” is.
According to Merriam-Webster Self-Righteous means:
convinced of one’s own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others : narrow-mindedly moralistic (also look up righteous” 1 : acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin 2 a : morally right or justifiable b : arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality 3 slang : genuine, excellent synonyms see moral — righ·teous·ly adverb — righ·teous·ness noun)
And Judge means:
1 : to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises
2 : to sit in judgment on : try
3 : to determine or pronounce after inquiry and deliberation
4 : govern, rule —used of a Hebrew tribal leader
5 : to form an estimate or evaluation of; especially : to form a negative opinion about <shouldn’t judge him because of his accent>
6 : to hold as an opinion : guess, think <I judge she knew what she was doing>intransitive verb 1 : to form an opinion
2 : to decide as a judgesynonyms see infer
— judg·er noun
Hmmm interesting … So a Self-Righteous Judge would be someone who basically “has formed an opinion about [something] through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises and is convinced they are acting in accord with divine or moral law, especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others.”
AAAAAHHH!!! A Self-Righteous Judge could also be known as … <hand over mouth, whispering> a Christian!
You know what else, I think the Bible is filled with Self-Righteous Judges, why, I nevah! <grin>
Now we are going to look at some scriptures, let’s hear what God has to say about those Self Righteous Judges. Is it Biblical? What about that tree in their eye? What would Jesus do?
Ok, let’s deal with the tree in the eye scripture in Matthew 7 (AMP):
1DO NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. 2For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you. 3Why do you [a]stare from without at the [b]very small particle that is in your brother’s eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam [c]of timber that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, Let me get the tiny particle out of your eye, when there is the beam [d]of timber in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first get the beam of timber out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the tiny particle out of your brother’s eye.
Ok, lets hop to the the last verse, verse 5. You see here that it says “AND THEN,” and then you will see clearly to take the tiny particle out of your brother’s eye. So it’s not wrong to try to take the speck out of a brother’s eye – it just important that we get the log out of ours first. So if you are going to confront someone on pornography, lying, cheating, stealing, etc, etc, make sure that you are not doing that very thing.
It also says in verse 2, with the very same measure, isn’t the Bible the measure for all Christians? If you are a Christian, don’t you know that you WILL be measured by what is in the Bible? Then that is the measure you should use. There is no where in the Bible where it says that something has to be this color, tied this way, served on this plate, wear this style, etc. So you can’t judge those things. If it isn’t in the Bible, you can’t judge it, period.
Now lets take a close look at that word “judge.” In this particular passage, Roberts Word Pictures describes the words used here:
“Judge not (mē krinete). The habit of censoriousness, sharp, unjust criticism. Our word critic is from this very word. It means to separate, distinguish, discriminate. That is necessary, but pre-judice (prejudgment) is unfair, captious criticism.”
John Gill writes:
This is not to be understood of any sort of judgment; … nor of every private judgment, which one man may make upon another, without any detriment to him; but of rash judgment, interpreting men’s words and deeds to the worst sense, and censuring them in a very severe manner; even passing sentence on them, with respect to their eternal state and condition.
Ok, so do we got that? If you’re a thief, you can’t call out another thief. And if you THINK someone is a thief, you can say something to them about it, but you can’t condemn or punish them just because of what you think. Same thing is meant in Luke 6 starting at verse 36; Romans 2; Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 4 (The censorious habit was ruining the Corinthian Church.).
I think the key here is to look for the right scriptures, because the Bible does not tell us to “judge” as we seem to think of the word judge today. The Bible call it ‘rebuke’ or ‘reprove.’ Rebuke which means to tax upon, that is, censure or admonish; by implication forbid: – (straitly) charge. Or convict which means: to confute, admonish: – convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove. Interesting how the bible’s version of convict and our version of judge has kind of swapped meanings.
Luk 17:3 3[a]Pay attention and always be on your guard [looking out for one another]. If your brother sins (misses the mark), solemnly tell him so and reprove him, and if he repents (feels sorry for having sinned), forgive him.
2 Timonthy – 2Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.
2Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture [is] God-breathed and [is] beneficial for teaching [or, doctrine], for verification [or, reproof], for correcting faults, for instruction in righteousness [or, the behavior that God requires], (17) so that the person of God shall be fully qualified [or, perfectly fit], having been completely equipped for every good work.
I think that pretty much sums it up.
Here’s where we have a problem when it comes to “Self-Righteous Judges.”
In 1 Corinthians 6 we are told to judge those in the church. But this is in a structured, open environment, where both parties have a chance to present their case, their evidence. We run into trouble when we don’t do these things somewhat “out in the open.” That doesn’t mean standing up in church and calling someone out. It doesn’t mean, talking to a group of people. It means, going straight to the person (added emphasis by me).
James 4 – 11[My] brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law and judging the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law but a censor and judge [of it].
Ephesians 4 –31Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). 32And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.
1 Peter 2 – 1SO BE done with every trace of wickedness (depravity, malignity) and all deceit and insincerity (pretense, hypocrisy) and grudges (envy, jealousy) and slander and evil speaking of every kind.
It’s important for these things not to become gossip or slander or backbiting. Don’t talk behind peoples backs. If you can’t say it to their face, maybe it’s better left unsaid.
We are even called to call ourselves out in James 5:
16Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].
Another quick note, 1 Corinthians 5 says:
12What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]? 13God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].
Judging, as the Bible describes it, is very similar to what our judges today do – it’s kind of like a conviction. They issue the sentencing. Many times, the trial verdict is not decided by the judge, only the sentence is. We are really not supposed to ever judge – in this definition of the word. Because if there is someone in the church doing something, this scripture tells us to send them out of the church, which then makes them part of the “outsiders.” We have to be careful in what we are really doing – no matter what we want to call it. There is a plan of action (see Matthew 18), go to the person, go to the person with 2 or 3 others, take the person to the church, then you come to the point that this scripture is talking about. You don’t just decide someone did something and throw them out.
What would Jesus do? Well, everyone likes to think of Jesus with the kid sitting on his lap, all nice and cuddly. But, let’s look at that scene for just a minute in Matthew 19 (AMP).
13Then little children were brought to Jesus, that He might put His hands on them and pray; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to Me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such [as these] is the kingdom of heaven composed.
Was that a little bit of harshness in Jesus’s voice? Bet He didn’t seem so nice and cuddly to the disciples. Guess He sure did tell them, didn’t He? How about this one in Matthew 23 (NIV):
29“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers! 33“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
Did Jesus just call someone a name? And this is just the last of this multi-versed chewing out of the leading religious people of the day. And this one in Mark 9 (MSG):
19-20Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.” They brought him. When the demon saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a seizure, causing him to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth.
Do you hear the exasperation and frustration? Doesn’t He seem a little tired of the people not getting it?
You know, as you look at the “Great Commission” given to us by Jesus, I think He has already answered the question of, “Who do they think they are?” Let’s look at Matthew 28:
19Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them [b]into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you [c]all the days ([d]perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. [e]Amen (so let it be).
Who do they think they are? They think they are the people told:
- To go into ALL the nations, that means everyone – everywhere – or maybe a better word would be anyone – that includes YOU and ME.
- To make disciples – the word there is mathēteusate, a pupil; transitively to disciple, that is, enroll as scholar: – be disciple, instruct, teach
- To baptize unto the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
- To Teach observation of everything that Jesus have commanded – have to read the Bible to know what He commanded. So if it’s in the Bible, then we are to do it and teach it.
- To do all this with Jesus – which is through the Holy Spirit because He also tells us that the Holy Spirit is who he sent to help us. John 16:7
So, who do they think they are? They think they are who Jesus told them to be. Maybe they just haven’t gotten it all down just right, maybe they can be a little too direct (like Paul), a little confusing sometimes (like James), a little thick headed (like Peter), or a little too detailed (like Luke). Maybe they were a little harsh, called you a name, or was exasperate, frustrated, and a little tired (like Jesus). It’s just important to look at their fruits, see what their tree looks like, because only a good tree bears good fruit and only a tree planted in the best soil can do that. If they are rooted in God, then maybe, just maybe, you should take a little listen to what is being said. After all, I can assure you, some other tree has been looking at their fruit and is pruning them as well. What goes around comes around. <wink>
Oh, by the way, for all those Self Righteous Judges out there, you may want to take a look at this one, Please Pass the Salt