By Doug Bell
1“Judge not, that you be not judged.
2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
3 Why do you see 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,’ when there is the log 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.”
“Judging” has become a controversial topic among Christians. It shouldn’t have, but it has. Why? Because true Christians (and ’self-deceived’ goats) aren’t reading their Bibles! The Bible is consistent and clear on the subject, but misunderstood by many.
In our passage above, Jesus is not forbidding Christians from judging, He is giving a ‘warning’ about how we are to be judging. First, Not in a ’rash judgment of, interpreting men's words and deeds to the worst sense, and censuring them in a very severe manner; even passing sentence on them, with respect to their eternal state and condition.’ Only God can see into the heart of men, knowing their true motives, and actions! This manner of Judging is what is forbidden us and reserved for God alone.
That’s why in the next verse he says, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Is this the way you want to be treated and have others judge you? Of course not, so why do you think you can do this to others? (As Jesus tells us later in this passage; “12 ”So, whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”) And so He gives us the hyperbolic example of the persons with the speck and the log in their eyes (vs. 3-5).
The secone problem, as I see it, is that most can’t distinguish judging from having real discernment. Judging who is saved or lost is reserved for God alone (Matt. 5:22 “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You [godless] fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”)
But discernment is not only allowed, but is Commanded and Necessary! In the very next verse after saying the above. Jesus says, 6 ”Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” How do you know who you are “not” to give what is Holy and your pearls to if, you don’t make a judgement (distinguish) who is or is not a dog and a pig? Discernment by the Holy Spirit is one of the gifts God has given to His children.
(cf. John 16:13 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come”).
In this life Christians must have an even ‘greater’ discernment than ever before. Matthew 10:16, ”Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” “Do NOT Judge” has become a weapon in the hands of our enemies and we mustn’t allow them to use it against us! It is not only our right to preach the truth in love, but our Obligation! May God give us the courage to stand up to this false narrative! And May God allow us to stand boldly for the Gospel, the Truth, and those who are unable to speak for themselves!