Monday, November 9, 2009

Matthew 7:2 To Judge or Not To Judge

As we have seen in the study of this chapter in Matthew, Jesus did not intend in chapter 7 verse 1 to forbid Christians from all judging. The immediate context demonstrates this pretty clearly. The broader context of the New Testament also proves this unquestionably. We are left then with the question “How are we to judge?” I believe, as we look at chapter 7 verse 2, we can see a clearer picture of the kind of judging Jesus is talking about.

First of all, observe that Jesus tell us that we will be judged. He says in this verse “…you will be judged…” and “…it will be measured to you.” Now, He doesn’t say who is going to do this judging. Obviously, He may have had two things in mind—the judgment of God and the judgment of man. Perhaps He intended both here.

Now, He further clarifies not only that we will be judged but how we will be judged and in so doing gives us our parameters for judging, if you will. We see here that the kind of judgment we will have applied to us is the same kind of judgment that we use. Now, the question then becomes “What kind of judgment do we want applied to us?” Let’s look at some examples from scripture and see.

  • Psalm 139:23- Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
  • Job 31:6- Let Him weigh me with accurate scales, And let God know my integrity.
  • Psalm 26:2--Examine me, Lord, and try me. Test my mind and my heart.

I could go on, but I think we see a pattern developing here. If our desire is to live a life that pleases the Lord, we invite the judgment of our heavenly Father. When He judges, He does so according to perfect righteousness and that perfect righteousness is revealed in scripture. Therefore, when we judge, it should be according to scripture. However, we must be humble and bear in mind that we are not omniscient (we don’t know the minds and hearts of people) and therefore must be cautious in any judging that we do.

Jesus is not issuing a blanket prohibition on judgment by Christians but rather giving us guidelines in exercising that judgment. As we apply those guidelines, we should bear in mind that it is God alone that judges perfectly and while we should never bend or waver on defending the truth of scripture and of the gospel, we must remember that there are some battles worth fighting and some where we must agree to disagree.


Anonymous said...

Good explanation of an often misquoted, misunderstood passage!

Joe Blackmon said...

Thank you.