Have you ever been confused concerning the question of a
right or obligation to judge, or to refrain from judging? Have you ever
felt ill at ease when you either heard a believer judging someone or
it was obviously needed, refraining from doing so? I certainly have,
because of personal experience and listening to scores of saints, an
addressing the issue seemed in order.
Too often Christians fall into one of two traps
relating to the issue
One is to refrain entirely, giving as a basis
Christ's words of "judge
not lest you be judged:. The other is to render a verdict on every
and situation that comes to one's attention.
Clearly both approaches are defective.
However, both judging and not judging are included
in the New Testament
mandate for believers. Any solution to the problem then, must include
parts in the picture. A solution which does not solve anything is to
the pieces of the puzzle to make them fit:. This approach involves the
implicit or explicit denial of one or the other. In fact, many
surrender and emphasize one aspect of the paradox to the exclusion of
other; but the result is always some serious defect in their Christian
walk. Let's examine the results of both.
Don't Judge Anything or Anyone
On one hand is the saint who fights under the banner
of "judge not lest
you be judged". This person does quite well at not condemning and not
verdict on either fellow Christians or on the unredeemed. This aspect
positive. However, when spiritual discernment is required, or an
is demanded, or a stand for or against something is called for, the
saint is usually unable to come through and take sides lest such a
judge the opposition.
Such a person is left defenseless and has no ability
to rebuff any person,
teaching, or practice which might in fact be contradictory to the New
Thus the "non-judging' Christian is left in seriously defective
when it comes to the necessity of discriminating between right and
Judge Everything and Everyone
The second type is the Christian who errs in the
opposite aspect. This
individual is convinced that he or she is called to be judge,
attorney, jailer and executioner. Such a person totally ignores or
away the biblical injunctions concerning not judging. This type of
specializes in beam and mote extractions (always in someone else's
and thinks himself competent to perform all manner of spiritual
Blanket condemnations await those who fail to meet
the high standards
of his or her assessments. And as if God needed some of His court
reduced, this person has already helped Him out by committing to
judgment vast multitudes of individuals.
A Two-Part Solution
What then is the solution to the problem? If in fact
the matter is a
paradox, and not a contradiction, where is the resolve to be found?
are two major parts of the solution.
The first is in understanding the various words used
in the Bible to
describe judgment, judging, etc. A quick look through a concordance,
one that cross-references to Greek and Hebrew words, will show that in
fact many of these words mean "appraise", "discern", "evaluate", and
Many modern translations are helpful because they
render these words
as such, instead of lumping them all together, as the King James
does, and using the term "judge/judgment" for all of them. If you have
a question of this nature, check the word's meaning in a Bible
or other help. This will help to clear up possibly two-thirds of the
relating to the issue.
The second part of the solution is to correctly
understand what kind
of judgment Christians are supposed to render. The answer to this is in
comparison with the judgments of God.
God judges in the temporal arena, and the eternal.
In this life God
will judge a person's actions, but always (except when the person has
rejected Him) holds out the chance for turning back and repenting. Only
on the Last Day, at the great white throne judgment will God pronounce
eternal judgment on a person, forever determining his or her destinies.
From this judgment, there is no appeal or second chance.
The Christian, on the other hand, is never given the
right or the responsibility
of eternally judging anyone (unless they have clearly rejected Christ
Christians cannot correctly weigh action, motives, opportunities, nor
all things about any individual: God alone is capable to do so.
However, in this, Christians are to make decisions
and even take corrective actions) but even judging in this aspect is
to be remedial, and leaves the door open to the person for repentance
reconciliation. Any judging on the part of a Christian which does not,
is a false aspect of Christian judgment. But conversely, we are called
upon to "judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24) and failure to do so is
to be negligent in a crucial aspect of our Christian calling.
Note: this was part of an
outside apologetic site, but had too
much trouble being bounced around on site to give direct link . Best
from the original for the section
Additional Note: The article at the above URL mentions Mike
Warnke as one of their examples. As a point of interest,
please go here
for the facts about that scandal and the encouraging updates on Warnke
and his restoration process.
Other good outside links/articles on this subject for your
Judge or Not to Judge by G. Richard
by Robert Longman Jr. http://www.spirithome.com/discrnmt.html
The Way to Touch God's Anointed by
Watchmen Fellowship http://www.watchman.org/reltop/acctblty.htm
food for thought: Christians
Can It Be Biblical? by Bob and Gretchen Passantino
Go to 'Prophet
'Un' School' free of charge!
See also our
Page for the subject
of spiritual abuse