Judge Not!

Judge not! Way too many irresponsible Bible readers wield these words like a Jedi master wields a light saber. The context is usually some theological disagreement or the condemnation of sinful behavior as such. But doesn’t Scripture instruct us to be discerning? Are we not told to use ‘right judgment?’ It sure does. John 7:24; 1 Thessalonians 5:21 & 1 John 4:1 are great examples.

So what’s the problem here. Does the Bible contradict itself. No. Even a cursory examination of Matthew 7:1 quickly reveals the problem.

Mat 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Mat 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Mat 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

This is a classic example of how an out-of-context quotation can be made to mean whatever you like. Jesus did not say, “Judge not.” He said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” We’re being told not to make hypocritical judgments. What Jesus says in the four verses after our infamous statement goes on to explain this. The standard by which you judge another will most certainly be used against you and may reveal a bigger problem in your own Spiritual walk. Again, this is not an injunction against judging and discerning. It’s a warning against hypocritical judgment. It’s a warning against placing yourself on the low end of the ‘curve’ while holding others to the high end.

So the next time someone says to you, “Judge not!” You can tell them “No, judge not, that you be not judged!”

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