A common expression in our day is “Don’t judge. The Bible says you are not to judge.” My question to you is this: Does the Bible really teach us that we are not to judge? What is the Bible criteria for judging? Is there a difference between judging and condemning? We must let the Word of God and the Holy Spirit be our teachers. We must be willing to set aside the opinions of other men and women if their opinions conflict with what the Bible teaches.
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
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?
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?
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.
The proper understanding of words and their true meaning is essential to knowledge and wisdom. If you attach the wrong definition to a word, you will be subject to deception. Satan is a liar and he will misinterpret the word of God so as to cause you to believe his lies. Satan has many false prophets and teachers who will misinterpret God’s word There are many people who are simply ignorant of what the truth is and what the Bible teaches. There are others who knowingly lie to the people because they are covetous and their hearts are evil.
What does the word “judge” mean as it is used in Matthew 7:1?
NT:2919 GREEK krino (kree'-no); properly, to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); by implication, to try, condemn, punish: Translated as the following words in other KJV verses: - avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law.
The Greek word “krino” as it is used here in Matthew 7:1 means more than just forming an opinion. This word mean that a decision has been finally made. A judgment has been reached. A condemnation has been decreed. Who among us is authorized to condemn and damn another soul? None among us has the wisdom, knowledge and authority necessary to condemn another soul. Jesus only is able to save or condemn. It is possible to know that a person is a sinner without being the source of judgment by which the sinner’s spiritual condition is made known.
When Jesus was here on this earth He said in:
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
God has established His laws, His commandments and His judgments. If you knowingly and wilfully disobey His commandments, you have condemned your own soul by your own decision to rebel against the will of God. Although Jesus did not come to condemn, the light of truth which He revealed to others brought condemnation because their conscience was guilty of willful disobedience.
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
If you love your enemies, you will not want to condemn them. If you love them, you will be merciful and not judge or condemn. You may and perhaps must correct them and exhort them to be righteous and keep the commandments of God; but, you will not condemn them or judge them in the sense of the word which means damnation. To damn someone means that you personally have concluded that they are wicked and spiritually lost. To condemn someone means that you have decided and passed judgment that they are not a child of God. That is a very serious act which has grave spiritual consequences.
I have personally experienced the condemnation of certain men who claimed to be ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They insisted that I was a sinner and judged me as being lost without the grace of salvation while I insisted that I had not sinned against God. They judged me and condemned me without any proof of willful sin. They did not want me to be the pastor of the congregation because I did not agree with them on certain symbolic scriptures in the Bible. They refused to accept my testimony of salvation based on another person’s belief that I was not sanctified and being led by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus said “Judge not” this is the very thing that He was talking about.
If we are not to judge someone as being lost, what should we do when we think that someone is lost? We must exhort and instruct with love and patience until we can reach a mutual understanding of the true condition of the individual’s soul. If we cannot reach a mutual understanding, we must submit the situation to God and let the Holy Spirit reveal the true condition of the heart.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-16
10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
Many individuals, who claim to be justified and sanctified, do not have the patience, love and mercy to labor with someone who is disobedient or lacking in understanding. We ought to remember the patience and mercy of God toward us when we were disobedient and out of order with God. Do we manifest the loving character of God toward those who are confused, deceived or disobedient?
1 Thessalonians 5:12-15
12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
As ministers and teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must teach people the truth. We must exhort and admonish. We must instruct and command. But we are not to condemn, damn or conclude souls to be lost except when the Holy Spirit has revealed this terrible condition. Too many people are hasty to condemn and judge a person to be a sinner when they do not know the very thoughts and intents of the person’s heart. Some ministers have been too hasty in condemning an individual whom they deemed to be a sinner. God has not called us to sit in the Judgment Seat of Christ and condemn the souls of others.
There are some strong words used to describe the responsibility of ministers to those whom God has appointed them to oversee. Let us define these words which the Bible uses to describe our responsibility to others:
Admonish: to put in mind, i.e. (by implication) to caution or reprove gently. When we cause a person to be mindful of their actions and attitudes which are contrary to the righteous principles of God, we are not judging their soul. A word of caution or reproof is not the same as condemnation.
Exhort: to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by imploration, exhortation or consolation). It is good to call people to be obedient and righteous.
Warn: This is the same Greek word as “admonish”, to put in mind, i.e. (by implication) to caution or reprove gently. This must be done without passing judgment on the condition of the soul. Do not join the devil in accusing the children of God.
These words describe the grace and mercy of God at work to save the sinner and to reconcile the confused and unlearned.
2 Timothy 4:1-5
1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
In Paul’s counsel to Timothy he uses some stronger words to describe the responsibility of the ministry toward that person whose conduct is out of order. Paul tells Timothy to be prepared to reprove and rebuke.
Define these two words.
Reprove: to confute, admonish: KJV - convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove. To confute means to “prove a person to be wrong.” To reprove a person, one must have sufficient, reliable evidence to prove a person to be wrong. This involves more than just a personal opinion based on incomplete circumstances.
Rebuke: to censure, forbid. To require a person to refrain from certain acts and to command them to live by certain rules is not judgment or condemnation. A rebuke is a method of correction and instruction.
If a minister cannot attend to the teaching, correcting, reproving, rebuking and admonishing the members of his congregation without condemning and judging the souls who have submitted to his rule, then he has not been called of God to pastor the people.
A sanctified person will avoid the snare of condemning and damning the souls of others. It is likely that God has not given Holy Ghost discernment to know the thoughts and intents of another’s heart as often as this gift of discernment is claimed.
We know that a sinner is not a child of God. But, they are a sinner because they have wilfully and knowingly disobeyed God. They are not a sinner merely because they have disagreed with our opinion or doctrine.
We know that a person cannot be a Christian and deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only Redeemer of souls.
We also know that a person cannot be guilty of a long list of sins which are naturally known to be contrary to holiness and be a Christian. (Galatians 5:19-21). However, to reject a person’s testimony of salvation without a provable sin charge is an offence which carries a serious threat of self-damnation.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
According to this verse, if you condemn a child of God and cause him to give up his crown of salvation, you are in danger of hell.