The question is, are we to judge one another?
I’ve heard so many people say, ‘Don’t judge me,’ when you comment on something they are doing. Or ‘Who made you the judge?’ And I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people talking about this verse …
Mat 7:1-5 “Stop judging, so that you* shall not be judged, (2) for with what judgment you* judge, you* will be judged, and with what measure you* measure, it will be measured to you.* (3) “But why do you look at the speck, the [one] in your brother’s eye, but you do not notice the log, the [one] in your own eye? (4) “Or, how will you say to your brother, ‘Allow [me], I shall take the speck from your eye, and look!, the log [is] in your own eye?’ (5) “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.
The speck and the log, if I only had a dime for every time I have heard that one. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about judging. Starting with this first verse.
What is judging, in today’s world, the word means: ” the cognitive process of reaching a decision or drawing conclusions; evaluate: form a critical opinion of”. The word used in the Bible it has a much longer defintion. In fact, there are several, but for this particular scripture the meaning would be: “to judge; to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong; to be judged, i.e. summoned to trial that one’s case may be examined and judgment passed upon it; to pronounce judgment, to subject to censure; of those who act the part of judges or arbiters in matters of common life, or pass judgment on the deeds and words of others.” Our word critic is from this very word. It means to separate, distinguish, discriminate.
So you can see there is a big difference between today’s definition and the Bible’s. This verse isn’t about forming opinions. It isn’t about letting someone know when they are not living appropriately. Yet, it is important to take a long look at ourselves before we can look at others.
Here is another one that is pretty well known:
Luk 6:37 “And stop judging, and by no means shall you* be judged. Stop condemning, and by no means shall you* be condemned. Be forgiving, and you* will be forgiven.
The word Judge here is the same from above. The word condemn means to: pronounce guilty.
Rom 14:10 But why do _you_ judge your brother? Or also, why do _you_ despise [or, look down on] your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
I think it is clear that we are not to judge people. By the meaning in the Bible: to try, condemn, punish: – avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.
So, what do we do if we see someone doing something they shouldn’t? Should we even do anything? The Bible is also quite clear on this subject as well.
Luk 17:3 “Be watching yourselves! Now if your brother sins against you rebuke him, and if he repents forgive him.
It does not use the word Judge, it uses the word Rebuke. The word here means: to tax upon, that is, censure or admonish; by implication forbid: – (straitly) charge. Let’s see what other verses we find.
2Ti 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season [and] out of season [fig., whether the time is favorable or not], convict, rebuke, [and] encourage, with all patience and teaching.
The word translated as convict here means: to confute, admonish: – convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove. This is with proof.
I think this verse sums things up pretty nicely:
2Ti 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.
So ringing in the truth that we shouldn’t “judge” people (as defined by the Bible). It is not up to us to issue penalties or punishment which is implied by the word translated as “judge” in the Bible.
That doesn’t mean that we should turn our heads and ignore everything. It’s about how we do it, and what we do with our opinions. And most importantly what we use to form those opinions. It is important that when someone is living in sin, we clearly confront them as Paul did several times in his writings. We are instructed to Reprove (to convey one’s disapproval of), Rebuke (an act or expression of criticism and censure), or Admonish (caution: warn strongly; put on guard) using the Word of God (not our own set of guidelines) and let God do the judging (punishing).
Ring out the old, Ring in the new
Ring out the false, Ring in the true
Ring out sorrow, pain and care
Ring in happiness everywhere.