Character … Judging (Doctrine of a Disciple)

This one can tend to be a hot topic. And given things going on in our world today (and all over social media), it may offend some people. But here we go…

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Matthew7:1-2

We’ve all seen or heard this verse, even non-Christians know this verse. I would venture to guess, most of us have USED this verse at least once in our life. But do we really know what it is saying? Let’s find out.

Today, the word judge is defined as meaning:

form an opinion or conclusion about.

If that is what judge means in the Scripture, we are all probably in trouble! However, in the Scriptures, the word is defined by Strong’s as (I added emphasis):

κρίνω  krinō  kree’-no – Properly to distinguish, that is, decide (mentally or judicially); by implication to try, condemn, punish: – avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.

Thayer puts it this way:

5) to judge
5a) to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong
5a1) to be judged, i.e. summoned to trial that one’s case may be examined and judgment passed upon it
5b) to pronounce judgment, to subject to censure
5b1) of those who act the part of judges or arbiters in matters of common life, or pass judgment on the deeds and words of others

There is a subtle difference. Today, judge means to form an opinion or conclusion. It doesn’t require any facts. We have contests where judges judge things such as talents, tasks, and skill. All of these are subjective to the personal opinion of the person judging. There do not need to be any facts to support the judgement. It’s simply opinion. The word ‘critic’ comes from the very same word.  But this isn’t what the Scripture is talking about, it goes a little deeper.

In the Scripture, the word implies a trial, condemnation, and punishment.

John Gill writes:

This is not to be understood of any sort of judgment; not of judgment in the civil courts of judicature, by proper magistrates, which ought to be made and pass, according to the nature of the case; nor of judgment in the churches of Christ, where offenders are to be called to an account, examined, tried, and dealt with according to the rules of the Gospel; nor of every private judgment, which one man may make upon another, without any detriment to him; but of rash judgment, 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.

So when Jesus said, “judge not,” He wasn’t saying you couldn’t have an opinion. He wasn’t saying you couldn’t say something to someone when they had obviously done something wrong. What He’s saying is, don’t try, condemn, and punish someone without evidence or proof. Don’t think the worst of someone and treat them as such without just cause.

Today, Scriptural type judging is happening BEFORE a trial, someone forms an opinion or conclusion and people are punished. People are loosing their jobs because of conclusions being made, with no hard evidence, no trials being held, no facts. Lives are being destroyed simple based on people’s opinions, or conclusions.

Have you participated in any of this type of behavior? Condemning someone without having all the facts? Slandering someone (we’ll learn more about slander but it means to speak evil of someone, defamation)? How about gossiping (uttering untruth)?

And what if we do?

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew7:1-2

Jesus says, however you treat others, you’ll be treated too. So if you unjustly interpret someone’s words or deeds, censure them, or pass a sentence on them, the same thing will happen to you. Basically, you are putting yourself into bondage and are not able to live truly free.

Oh, and you can’t be using this quote if you are caught doing something wrong and someone confronts you. It almost seems as though most of today’s social media posts, news stories, and cooler conversations are setting people up for a whole lot of backlash.

Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if social media wrote a filter to delete such posts, would any of your’s be deleted? How often during the day are you setting yourself up to be judged?


3 thoughts on “Character … Judging (Doctrine of a Disciple)

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