Originally published Wednesday, 08 April 2015.
We are all familiar with the verse in the Bible “Judge not lest you be judged.” But have we really taken into consideration what this actually means for us as believers?
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5 NKJV)
The word “judge” in this passage means “to condemn” in the Greek, which is something that God forbids.
When we operate in condemning others, we are not walking in mercy and definitely not walking in love. We are called to be imitators of God who is slow to anger and abounding in mercy and love.
Be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV)
That sacrifice is the greatest act of mercy that the Lord could show upon us when we truly deserve the judgment and wrath of God.
For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13 NKJV)
As believers, our speech should be as one who has been forgiven. We have received the gift of mercy from on high which has triumphed over our dooming judgment. When we do not show mercy to others, and condemn them for their sin, we will not receive mercy.
In the great Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Jesus says that we are blessed when we show mercy and abstain from judging others.
I saw this quote the other day on Facebook and it really hit home:
“Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.”
We have no ground to point fingers at other’s behavior, lifestyle, or habits because there is always something that we should be working on. God sees all sin the same, and so should we. There is no partiality in God (Romans 2:11). None of us are above the law to be able to even judge the law because none of us can keep the whole law. That is why we all need the blood of Jesus and must remember to keep a pure, repented heart at all times.
“We give mercy to the measure that we understand we’ve received mercy. If we come up short at showing mercy, the way to increase our merciful responses towards others is to meditate on the mercy we have received from the Lord.” –Tammy Riddering , Director of Gateway House of Prayer in St. Louis, MO
We must guard our mouths from speaking evil against one another and walk in mercy with one another.
How do you know if what you are saying is judgmental?
Ask yourself: Would I say it to the person’s face? Would this hurt their feelings at all if they overheard me?
Titus 3:2-7 instructs us:
to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (NKJV)
But there is another type of judgment Jesus encourages us to operate in.
Jesus says, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24 NKJV)
What is “righteous judgment?”
“Judgment” in Greek in this particular verse means “the concept of determining the correctness of a matter.”
All righteousness stems from love and mercy: Loving God and loving people.
We do not have to love sin, false doctrine, or demonic activity that produces confusion and unrighteousness in believers’ lives.
Use the word of God to discern what is false and what is unrighteous (Hebrews 4:12).
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5 ESV)
For if we continue to walk in love and mercy, we will have no room in our hearts for deceit, sin, or fear (which is lack of faith in God). We use the Word of God as our weapon against such things because the Word of God strengthens our faith in what Jesus has died to give us: freedom from sin and death and righteousness before God the Father.
Let us judge rightly and use the gift of discernment to judge the kingdom of darkness and avoid operating in condemnation to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ with hate and offense which only causes disunity in the Body of Christ.