Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Don't Be Judging On Me Maaaaan!

How many times have you heard someone who has probably never cracked open a bible use Matthew 7:1, to defer judgement of what ever it is they're doing:
Judge not, that ye be not judged
I used the King James version because it sounds more ominous, but it reads the same in other versions: Do not judge so that you will not be judged. (NASB)  Generally this one line is used as a Logic Hammer to crush any conversation that would point out that whatever the person is doing is wrong. If that person actually stopped and looked at what he just said he may never use it in defense of anything ever again. Logically it's a double negative: Don't judge and you won't be judged = Judge and you will be judged. I suppose that's a good defense for someone who thinks that I'm afraid to be judged, however being a Christian I KNOW I'm going to be judged, we all will be judged:
12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books,  according to their deeds. (Rev 20:12)
So knowing that I'm going to be judged that gives me the right to judge those around me, right? Well, no. Just knowing that you're going to be judged doesn't give you the right to do anything but be judged. But can one actually judge the actions of others? In today's world of Political Correctness the answer is a resounding "No!" Unfortunately for the world of Political Correctness, I'm not Politically Correct, and I'm highly intolerant of people who demand tolerance for deviant activities. It's kind of like I'm not of this world.

Let's go back to Matthew 7:1 - Jesus did not say "Don't judge people". Here's one of the major issues with quoting the Bible without fully understanding what you are quoting. When reading the Bible you can't take a single verse out of the book without looking around, look before it and after it and study the context:
1 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You 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. (Matthew 7:1-5)
Jesus gives us several lessons in five short lines, First he says don't judge so you won't be judged. But we know we're going to be judged, and more importantly in verse 2 we're going to get an added judgement for we will be judged according to the way we judge here behind enemy lines on Earth, what we hand out in judgement will be handed back to us. So for example if you're going to judge someone for swearing with the words: "Hey watch your language! It sounds like #@&*$!!!" * you're going to be judged, really judged. 

And that example leads us to the rest of the quote which quite often is conveniently ignored when using Matthew 7:1 as a defense - Matthew 7:3-5. These verses are not first aid instructions, they're an admonition against hypocrisy. As you read through the Gospels you'll see that Jesus really, really hates hypocrisy. He's constantly hounding the Pharisees about their hypocrisy. The root of hypocrisy is pride, and if you read my blog entry God Hates... ME?!? you'll see that the sin God hates the most is pride. The root of all sin is pride because sin is a form of putting ourselves in the place of God. But in the case of hypocrisy pride is based on one's position or status. There is no virtue in position or status but it goes to our head and we feel that we are better than other people and make judgments based solely on this false notion.

What Jesus is saying is first clean yourself of that pride and false arrogance, get rid of your hypocrisy so you can clearly and cleanly judge the situation. Make sure you have your act together before correcting someone else. And Jesus doesn't just say "Point out the speck in your brother's eye" he says to "take the speck out of your brothers eye" He's now admonishing us that if we're going to judge someone we also need to also help them out.

What else does the bible say about judging? A bit:
Open your mouth, judge righteously,And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. (Pro 31:9)
"And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then cause her to know all her abominations. (Ezek 22:2)
Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? (1Cor 6:2)
Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?(1Cor 6:3)
I've skipped a lot of verses that use the word discern or distinguish rather than judge in the NASB bible such as Malachi 3:18 because I want to use the word judge to keep the issue clear. The bible is full of directives to judge.We must be able to distinguish between good and evil, between right and wrong, between the path to salvation and the road to hell if we are to be accepted into Christ's home. However we need to judge with discernment (or we need to judge our judging) at Christ's command:
Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. (John 7:24)
I know some people that really enjoy judging and being judgmental, and they really shouldn't be. We can get so blinded to our causes and passion for Christ that we lose sight of what we really are - Christians. I knew one fellow that was so blinded by rage with homosexuality and abortion he wanted to take matters in his own hands in a very unchristian like manner. These are the people we need to take under our wing and correct them. "Come on dude, those are sins, and so is what you're planning to do to those sinners." He didn't get it. Unfortunately he moved on to a different church to spread discord (see my list of what God hates in my previous post) before we could take the speck out of his eye.

Here's God's Seven Rules of Judging:

1. Judge Righteously. We can only do this by following the standards God set for us in the Bible.

2. Judge Scripturally. Our standard is God's words, not our feelings, not our opinions, not any outward appearance of what we are judging. The final word of what is right and wrong is the Bible

3. Don't judge when God's word is silent. If God doesn't think something is a big deal, it's not a big deal. Don't miss out on a wonderful part of life because you're worried it's a sin. If God says something's wrong, it's wrong, otherwise it's ok.

4. Pray for good judgement ability. We should always ask God for His help when making tough decisions.

5. Don't respect persons. Too many times people get away with some form of sin by using their position of power or popularity. We are living in a weird cult of personality where a person's popularity seems to mean more to people that what they say and do.

6. Judge in truth. If you must judge make sure you have all the facts, a true judge is one who seeks the truth.

7. Judge mercifully. Don't forget the lessons of Matthew 7:2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.

Most importantly Judge Yourself. If you are a true Christian you belong to Jesus, you are God's child. If you refuse to judge and improve yourself as a child of God then God will take it upon himself to do it for you. 

* I've actually heard people say this

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