This is one aspect that is quite possibly (a) a crucial mistake when applied in ignorance; and (b) a manifestation of the last “bullet” from a desperate defeated foe.
It is only logical that we cannot exercise a sound judgement without judgement. First we must comprehend that Judgement is not condemnation and that judgements can be positive or negative.
Note that a certain accurate knowledge is crucial – Hos 4:6; Rom 10:1-3; 2 Pet 1:2-4.
So, we should perhaps first contemplate the purpose of The Bible in 2 Tim 3:16-17 (Rev 22:18-19). It clearly says we are to help each other right from the Bible – admonish, reproof, for correction of errors, discipline and obedience… But first we must apply introspection and the same admonishing to ourselves. Take some time here to consider Lk 18:9-14 (Phil 3:9); Eph 5:1-17; 1 Thess 5:14-15 (Rom 12:14,19); Phil 2:3-13; Col 3:12-17; 1 Tim 3:5; 6:2-5; 2 Tim 2:24-26; 3:12-17.
It seems only logical and fair that a loving Father would approve of this if this is why He gave us His Word (Jn 1:14) in the first place (2 Tim 4:1-4; Gal 1:3-12; Phil 2:4; Heb 12; 1 Cor 15:1-5). Consider especially Mk 8:38; 1 Tim 4:7; Rev 3:5,15,16; Eph 5:17; 6:13 (Hos 4:6; 1 Ki 8:7-8); 1 Ki 18:21 (Eph 4:13-20, (Lk 8:14; 9:62); 2 Cor 10:5-6; Rom 1:16-23; Ps 18:25-26… All these with also the following in mind: Ps 18:27; Mt 7:1-5; 1 Pet 5:5; Rom 14:10 (Jn 5:24!). So, arrogance is equally misinformed and not to be confused with the conviction in- and commission of/from Jesus Christ (Mk 16:16-20; Jn 17:15-20; Mt 28:18-20…).
Then, before reading further, very carefully contemplate Mt 6:12,14,15; 7:1-5; Jn 3:17-21; 8:15; 12:48; Acts 17:28-31; 1 Cor 4:1-4; 5:11-13; 6:2-3; 11:28-31 with 2 Tim 4:1,8; Heb 10:30; 12:23; 13:4; and 1 Pet 4:5. Don’t continue [superficially] without pondering the above verses! (Ps 119:104,130,144)
Consider, (a) the following notes on popular Scriptures on the subject of judging:
Note on Mt 7:1. Referring to verses 2 to 5, the context is to not judge hypocritically, but observe and appraise we certainly should. On other occasions Jesus reiterated this and told people to judge (Lk 12:57; Jn. 7:24). The disciples told people to judge as well (Acts 4:19; Rom 14:13; 1 Cor 5:12; 6:2; 10:15; 11:13; 14:29). Paul judged (1 Cor 5:3; 2 Cor 5:14). There are many examples of people judging (Ps 15:4). Paul prayed that our love would abound more and more in all judgment (Phil 1:9). In the light of these scriptures, it is evident that there must be a right and wrong type of judging. In Luke 12:56-57, Jesus uses the words “discern” and “judge” interchangeably. As defined by the New American Heritage Dictionary, “judge” can mean many things from “condemn” to “appraise, to form an opinion about; to think or consider.” There certainly is nothing wrong with discerning or appraising a situation or person. Quite the contrary, we need to try the spirits (1 Jn 4:1). Judging, when done as discernment, is good. Generally speaking, do people actually bring judgement upon themselves (Jn 3:17-21; Tit 3:11; Ez 3:27).
It is the condemning and hypocritical type of judgment that is wrong. This is denounced in other scriptures (Rom 14:4,10,13; Js 4:11) because of the reasons stated in Mt 5:22. We can defer passing sentence on people to God and know that He will have perfect judgment (Rom 2:2; Rev 20:13).
Note on Mt 5:22. Jewish teachers apparently taught [thought] that only actual murder was forbidden by the sixth commandment. Jesus, however, is not referring here to mere passing of syllables or words, or even the fact of committed acts; but the expression of states of feelings, the thought-life and His [God’s] higher standard as pointed to in Mt 5:21-22 and verses 27-28 (Rom 3:20,23) for those who overlook their own self-righteousness in the futile attempts to justify themselves by externally following a set of rules (Refer here to Rom 3:28; 5:4,28 and Phil 3:9. The meditation “The Covenant and The law” expands on this). The use of words such as “Raca” [vain, contempt, to be spit upon] and “fool” seems in this context not so much applied only literally as in Mt 23:17,19 or even Paul of a Greek materialist in 1Cor 15:36, but against a deep settled false doctrine and false worship where hatred against such wicked and reprobate unbelief (Jn 16:9) is justified (Ps 14:1; and Rom 12:9 with Prov 8:13; 11:20-21; 12:17,28; 16:5; Is 5:18; Jer 23:10-14-23 with Jn 14:23-26; 1 Jn 2:4 and Jn 14:6). God is shown as the higher authority than any group of human judges, and so the statement “But I say unto you” would have been understood by Rabbical teachers that Jesus had this matter determined and that their false notions and their vain and vague excuses were being refuted by His teaching. “Hates the man not the thing he would not kill?”
Notice therefore that in these scriptures, Jesus is not forbidding judgment, but rather is warning to be careful with our thought-life and subsequent judgment because we will be judged accordingly. This same principle is stated in Rom 2:1-3 and Js 2:12- 13. There are certain cases where we have to pass a condemning sentence as Paul did (1 Cor 5:3-5; 1 Tim 1:20) or as a judge would today. Pastors and elders are charged with rebuking and even disciplining church members (1 Tim 5:20; Rev 2:12-16,18-20), but it is not something to be done lightly. This warning constrains us to be certain that we have heard from God and are not simply venting our own frustrations. Note also, scriptures such as 2 Jn 1:10-11; 1 Tim 5:22.
God might say to us: you tare up your debtor’s IOU’s, and I will tare up yours…
“As we forgive others”, reflect (Mt 3:8; 6:12,14,15; 7:12) our motives, our heart. Whether we can truly show God’s grace, love, longsuffering; and most of all, whether we trust Jesus to be the Perfect Judge (Jn 5:22,23). That is, whether we have an eternal perspective, or whether we show shallow short-mindedness [self-centredness]. His cross was the ultimate judgement!
Basically, we do not want to find us in the seat of the Judge, neither in the accuser’s box. We can, and must however, be able to discern between good and bad, right and wrong, light and darkness… to discern between Satan and Jesus Christ the Truth and the Light [Life of men]. We are admonished to have nothing to do with double-mindedness and must not allow perpetual sinners in our midst (as our own minds must remain faithful and committed to/in Christ, 2 Cor 10:5-18) – Js 1:5-8; 2 Cor 6:14-18; 2 Thess 3:6,7; 2 Tim 2:16-26 – the principle Jesus warned against in Mt 13:33!
If Jesus had not prayed Lk 23:34 (Mt 6:15); He would not have ascended out of hell again (Mt 11:23-30; 16:18); and we would not have been here. Only Love [God] can escape hell (Jn 1:1-5; Col 1:15-17) and proves all our sin was forgiven and Jesus’ blood truly fully paid for all sin.
Consider the following Scriptures: Jn 20:21 (17:15-20) – 23; Ps 18:25,26; 2 Cor 2:10,11; Lk 5:22-26; Job 42:10; Rom 2:1-29; 8:30,31; 1 Thess 5:9; 2 Pet 3:9; Lk 5: Jn 20; Mt 5:48. You can only accuse by law (Jn 5:45), this means you are – by your own choice – in Gal 5:4!! Forgive [love] – be free!
Note on Mt 7:5: The symbolism in verses 3-5 is very clear; don’t be hypocritical in your judgment; straighten yourself out first. Be genuine – God is! However, it does need to be emphasized that this is further comment on judging, which Jesus mentioned in the first two verses. Although there are many applications of this truth, it was not given as an unrelated statement.
Notice also that in the parallel passage in Luke 6, verses 43-44 are tied in to this illustration about casting the beam out of your own eye, by the conjunction, “for.” That amplifies this point by saying that if you are corrupt yourself, you can’t produce good fruit. Our reputation is built upon who we are, not who we correct (v. 44).
Note at Mt 7:6: Not everybody will receive instruction (Prov 1:7; 15:5,32). We need godly wisdom to judge who is receptive and who is not. When we perceive someone who is scorning our witness, we should heed the advice of this scripture and Proverbs 9:7-8 lest they mock the things of God and then turn on us. You see this often when – especially unbelievers or hypocrites – say: “why do you judge me?” They deny that they actually have [already] brought judgement unto themselves – John 3:17-21.
Note at Mt 7:21: Jesus makes it very clear in these statements that it’s the doers of God’s will, not just the professors, who enter into [see and live] the kingdom of God. This same principle is stated in many other scriptures, and the whole second chapter of James is devoted to this subject.
However, there is an apparently opposite teaching in the Word, which is just as well documented (Examples: Gen 15:6; Dt. 9:4-6; Mt. 9:11-13; Jn 8:4-11; Rom 3:22-24; 4:4-5,16; 5:2,8,17; 9:10-12; 10:3-13; 11:6; 1 Cor 15:10; Gal 3:1- 3,7,9-12,21-26; Eph 1:5-12; 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7) that states we are justified by faith in what Jesus has done, and not according to our goodness. None of us are good enough (Rom 3:23) in ourselves [in attempts of self-righteousness, following laws and rules]. God’s standard is perfection (Js 2:10). Therefore, we need a Savior (Rom 8:3-4; Titus 3:4-7). But read further than Rom 3:23, try vs. 22, 24-27.
Both of these doctrines are true, and, instead of contradicting, they complement each other. We are saved by grace through faith alone (Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7), but saving faith is never alone (Js 2:26). Just as gold can be distinguished from other look-alike metals by examining its physical properties, so true faith can be distinguished from mere profession by examining fruit (vv. 16-20). The results on prayer [fruit in Jn 15], brings a joy unspeakable, and rest.
It is very dangerous to make a final judgment of someone’s spiritual condition (v.1), because we look on the outside while God looks on the heart (1 Sam 16:7). But for the purpose of discerning so that we might act and talk [or keep quiet] wisely, we can use a person’s actions [lifestyle, habits, preferences, dislikes] as an indication of his spiritual condition.
Note at Jn 5:45: Jesus will not have to accuse the unbelievers in “the day of judgment” because the Word of God testify against their own unbelief and distrust (Jn 5:39; Dt 31:21).
Note at Jn 17:21: Jesus is praying that all believers would be one as He and the Father is one. This goes far beyond what many promote as unity today. Paul besought the Corinthians to “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor 1:10). This is God’s standard of unity. The Church must still get to preach the same God (Eph 4:5)!
Note at Jn 17:21: This oneness among the believers is what Jesus said would cause the world to know that Jesus was the Son of God. This is the greatest tool for evangelism that the church has. Yet we pour millions of dollars and much effort into other evangelistic efforts while we are at each other’s throats, often ignoring the words of Jesus completely, defending our own ideas and own shuffling to get into positions of popularity and power. Christ-ians?
Note Jn 13:35: Jesus didn’t say that all men would know we are His disciples by our doctrine, our rituals, our hatred for sin, or even by the way we express our love for God. He said very clearly that the one characteristic that would cause the world to identify us as His followers was our love one for another. He died for all… yet most live only for themselves. This same night, the Lord prayed to His Father using this same thought saying, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (Jn 17:21). The only way that Christ’s body will be one as the Father and Jesus are One is through God’s kind of love.
Unity of the believers, that can only come through a genuine God-kind of love, is the greatest tool for evangelism that the church has or will ever have, according to Jesus. No wonder Satan has had the believers at each others’ throats. We spend billions of dollars yearly on evangelism through television and radio, conventions and crusades, and yet, the world is not evangelized because the body of Christ is not united in love, and they misrepresent the Father and twist the Word of God [Jesus Christ].
The early church didn’t have the massive organizational structures that we see today or the ability to travel anywhere in the world in just a matter of hours. They certainly came nowhere close to spending as much money, in proportion to us, on spreading the gospel. And yet, the pagans of Thessalonica said of Paul and his companions, “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6). They had evangelized the known world in less than thirty years. Since then, there seem to have been a lot of positioning and strife, even “de-nomination”. De-nomination of what? What God nominated (1 Pet 2:1-10; Heb 3)?
Note at Hos 4:4. This is not saying we must not reprove another at any time, it is saying that it is pointless to waste your time with mutual recriminations without making any progress closer to the Truth of God (Mt 7:6,14). Here the [false] prophets and priests have rejected truthful knowledge (today, Rom 10:1-4). God said His contention was with those false teachers (Js 3:1-2; Mt 18:6) but we see that the thoughtless following of these people (assemblies) were not to be excused (Hos 4:9; Rom 1:16-23). Observe how Jesus repeatedly explained that “… it is written… but I (Jn 1:1-5,14,17; Heb 1:1-2) say unto you…” An example would be how the religious Jews (Israelites) missed the intention of the Law (10 Commandments), for it was at any rate rather to address compensation than retaliation (Mt 7:12) and to point out that self-righteousness will always make you arrogant, hurtful and in ignorance, self-reliant as your own god and thus ultimately self-destructive – Mt 5:38 (Prov 24:29; Rom 12:16-21). This is expanded on in the meditations on Law and the OT on this website.
Note at Tit 3:9. This is not to be read that we are to be without opinion and may never reprove or correct someone’s error from Scripture! This is clear from even just the following verses (10-11). It was addressing a party-spirit operating (Gal 5:18-20) through the misunderstanding [role, purpose] of the 10 Commandments. (Refer to the meditation “The Covenant and the Law” on this website). To confirm this understanding, self-study the following prayerfully (Js 1:5-8; Lk 9:62; Rom 10:1-2): Prov 24:25; 27:17; Acts 17:2,17; 18:5-6; 19:6-10; 20:31; 21:14; 24:25; Mt 22:29 (1 Pet 1:23); Mk 3:5; 3 Jn 10; Is 45:21; Jn 8:30-52; Is 1:18; 1 Tim 3:3; 2 Tim 2:23-26; 6:20-21; Col 4:3-6; Pet 3:15; Eph 4:14; Rom 15:14; 18:5; 2 Cor 6:6-8… … Ez 3:27 (Mt 11:15; Mk 8:18; Lk 8:10-17 (verse 18 is referring to accurate Spiritual knowledge that will induce more and deeper life-changing insight, as opposed to obstinate Spiritual blindness that is self-denying Spiritual revelations; 1 Sam 15:23!); Jn 1:10-12,17; Col 3:16; 2 Tim 3:5-7; Rev 22:11…
From the meditation “Myths, Legends, Lies”, the following note at Col 2:16-23: It is out of context to use this Scripture in an attempt to get approval from God to smoke or use drugs (thinking this Scripture says no one can tell you you’re wrong if you do something unwise). This is either ignorant (deceived, grossly misunderstanding the context) or plain trying too hard to falsely “justify” a habit detrimental to your health. God will not approve something detrimental to your health! This letter to the Colossians is about the Apostle Paul admonishing the Colossians about Gnosticism (a fusion of religion and philosophy of all matter being evil that caused them to claim that Jesus was thus not real or God); warning against the danger of legalism (Judaizers that held strict rules on kinds of food and drink permissible, religious feast days and circumcision); so modifying the Gospel (Gal 1:6-12) to a point of danger. Paul warned them against empty philosophical heresies and to be properly integrated in the pattern of true Christian living, to be circumcised in the heart, meaning that they should be stripped of the corrupt fleshly carnal nature with its [detrimental] passions and lusts (Col 2:11). The people who Paul said could not sit in judgement of them [that were changed to a new, higher spiritual life that laid down fleshly desires], were the people still trapped by fleshly desires and/or Jewish Law, rituals and religious symbolism. It had nothing to do with justifying smoking a cigarette or using drugs or getting drunk, but rather quite the opposite. Verse 16 should be read with scriptures such as Gal 4:10-12; that reads with Col 3:16-17 and 1 Cor 10:31 (2 Tim 3:16-17; 4:2-4); 1 Cor 6:15,19-20. 2 Cor 5:17 says that a re-born [Christian] will show that the old [desires] have gone and the new have come… If parents do things detrimental to their bodies, what example [message] does it give to the children [or non-Christians]? How young can they start doing this, for if it is acceptable [right] then they surely can start as young as possible to imitate you? 1 Cor 10:31? Mt 18:6-7?
Think about the next possibility (b):
First contemplate Jn 5:37-47. Now look at Jn 16:11 with Col 2:15 and Eph 6:12 in mind.
We observe that once a fowl spirit such as rejection, rebellion (Eph 5:6,7), religion, etc. are exposed in a play-actor [even sometimes a sincere but misled Christian], that they utter the words implying that “you are judging me, and you cannot judge me”! This is likely to only be a desperate final attempt to get you “off their case” [if you are ignorant of the notes we discussed in point (a) above]. This is a lame and self-injuring thing to say to someone that is trying to enlighten a misguided person in real love (2 Tim 3:16,17; Eph 4:11-22; 3:17-21; 1 Cor 3:16-21; 1 Tim 1:12-19; 2 Tim 3:1-8; and so on).
What this spirit is desperately trying to do, is shout in the persons mind the accusation that you are judging them [ordering, condemning them to hell] , in the hope that you will back off, thinking you are now trying to be God [is blasphemous]. Instead, all that happened was that you identified and exposed a spirit hiding in a “high place” [the mind of a Christ-person/follower of Jesus Christ]. Remember that as a Christian you have direct access to the throne of grace of God to obtain mercy (Heb 4:16). This is not the case with the devil (Rev 12:9). The only way the devil and demons [manifesting as thoughts] can get in a high place, is in your mind (that’s probably why prayers for saints are necessary Eph 6:18).
And remember, as far as spirits go, even just 2 Cor 10:5-6 with Js 4:7 and 1 Jn 4:4…
Think again on Is 5:18-21, and see the correlation with, for example, 2 Tim 3:1-8; Rom 1:18-32. In other words, will you observe that once you – for example – address the issue of homosexuality with a homosexual [or ignorant “supporter”], will they resort to “you cannot judge”! The fact is, they already judged themselves (Jn 3:17-21; 16:11), and you are merely pointing that fact out to them, you were able to identify, observe, see [“judge”] the obvious. But alas, the spirit of rebellion will reject Truth.
Before we can ever fulfil the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20, even 1 Cor 15:26; there is going to have to be a renewed [genuine] love in the church where doctrine and ritual take a “back seat” to the love of one for another – yet, above all, the love for the Lord Jesus Christ and awe for His Truth, His Spirit Word and His everlasting Life. In this love, we should all be united as one brotherhood. We should all have one testimony, and that testimony should be that which came from the lips of Jesus Christ. Let Him be the judge of that. We should just believe and cling to His Spirit Word. Amen?
Then there is the matter of our enigmatic inferior judgement (Jer 17:9). God is (a) not a manipulator, and (b) cannot make anything defect. Yet he gave us our seemingly defect will [innate inability to choose right]! Is our ability to choose in fact defect or is self-induced self-righteousness [haughtiness, malice, deceit] the self-destructive factor as illustrated also by king Saul when he admitted in 1 Sam 26:21 “I have played the fool…” The meditation “The will of man vs The Will of God” and “The Covenant and the Law” tries to expand a little more on this by contemplating the possible purpose of the Law (The 10 Commandments). Gal 3:19 and its context will show it was to reveal to man the futility of any attempt at self-righteousness, whether by trying to earn your own way by claiming any merit of your own – whether by works or by lineage. God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons or nations (Acts 10:34-35); we can only approach Him today through His Salvation Plan – Jesus Christ!
We’ll conclude this discussion with the following comment from The Amplified Bible on 1 Sam 26:21, “When for a moment a man is off guard, in all probability you will know more truth about him than in all his attempts either to reveal himself or to hide himself. The ever-present consciousness, habitually hidden, flashes forth. Later he may apologize and say he did not mean what he said. The fact is that he was surprised unto saying what he was constantly thinking. In all probability Saul had never said that before and would never say that again, but he had been thinking it for a long time – ‘I played the fool.’ There is no escape for any man, as long as reason continues, from the naked truth about himself. He may practice deceit so skilfully as not only hide himself from his fellowmen, but in his unutterable folly to imagine he has hidden himself from God; but he can never hide himself from himself. In some moment of stress and strain he says what he has been thinking all the time… Ere Saul knew it, he had said, ‘Behold, I have played the fool.’ That is the story of the man” (G. Campbell Morgan, cited by J. Sidlow Baxter, Explore the Book).
There is only One Who’s right it is (Ez 21:27); and there is only One Way (Jn 14:6). And, it’s our choice…
Peace and joy to you in Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:23!).