Wrong Bible text… part 2

In this second part of the series on misused / misunderstood / abused bible verses, we’re going to have a look at this one:

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

The more popular version is:

Who are you to judge me, only God can judge me.

And you probably heard this one.. .in church… a lot… but there is something wrong in 99% of the times when you hear this “verse”…. It’s pulled out of context, 99% of the time and when you hear it… be aware! Why?

Let’s dive into the bible passage itself. Not just that one verse, but the whole passage:

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Matthew 7:1-6

When you read closely… Jesus calls the people “hypocrite”, and that word is key in this passage….. Let’s look at an example of clear judgement, person to person, in the bible. And it’s a very rough one. This is Paul, in a letter to the Corinthians… Sorry, it’s a long passage, but it’s a clear example of biblical judgement in the church:

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

1 Corinthians 5: 1-13

Wow! BAM! Sexual immorality in the church… and some people are even proud of it? Did they even boast about it?

Does Paul judge? Oh yes, he does! You can almost see the fire coming out of his words. Wow…

And there you see it… in verse 12 and 13….

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?

In this case, it’s apparent that we have to judge behavior like that, that hurt people in our church and hurt God. Full stop. We have to, I repeat: we have to judge when things like this happen. There is no way around it.

Are you not to judge those inside?

Not only was this behavior hurting a sister, it was also hurting the church of God. They made a mess out of God’s church. And if you see that happening: you have to act. Full stop. It’s God’s sister, it’s His house, it’s His temple, and we have to protect it. Again: full stop.

And when you do so, and people come up with the “do not judge” verse… BE VERY AWARE!! There is something VERY wrong when you hear that “verse” in those situations. They are protecting something that is most likely not from God. Ego? Their own kingdom? Their reputation? I don’t know… but be VERY aware when the “do not judge” card is pulled in those situations…

So, as you see, it’s not simply “do not judge” and that’s it. On the contrary. When we go back to Matthew 7, you see that, before we judge somebody, we should have a good look at ourselves. It does not simply say: don’t judge at all.

The bible passage uses the word “hypocrite”. When we look that up in a dictionary, it says:

Hypocrite: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

So, before you judge somebody… let’s have a close look at the specific topic you would like to judge somebody on. Are you in sexual immorality yourself? If so… it might be better to shut your mouth….., who are you to say that somebody should stop with Sexual immorality if you watch porn yourself? Or worse… you get the idea?

But… if you see somebody sin in church, or make a mess out of God’s temple.. and you are confident that you don’t do that yourself? Do judge, with God’s love and wisdom.

The second thing when you want to judge somebody in church is written in verse x What is your motivation when you judge?

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Only if you take the plank out of your own eye, you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. It’s hard to do an eye operation if your own eye is blocked with a plank. If you really want to help your brother, you might as well be sure that you are equipped with the best tools, eyes, to do the job. And if you do so, so operate.

If your brother has a problem with his eyesight, and you are a good doctor with good eyesight… you must operate. Or do you think that it is ok to let your brother with a problem with his eyesight go blind… while you could have helped them?

Not convinced yet? This is Jesus himself:

Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.

John 7:24

Jesus does not say: do not judge. He says: judge correctly.

But we are not there yet… When you look at:

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

1 Corinthians 5: 1-13

It’s apparent that we can and must(!) judge sinful behavior in church or from fellow Christians. However:

God will judge those outside.

What does this part mean? If we see a non-Christian stealing? That we can’t say: that’s wrong, stop? No, that would be silly, right? As a Christian, we should definitely call out sin.

However, this is the part where we sometimes hear people judge somebody’s faith like this:

Look at him, I don’t think he is a real Christian like he says he is…

And that’s indeed a thing where we should not(!) judge. We don’t know the whole story, (God does), we don’t know the intentions (God does), so that question: is somebody saved? That’s not for us to judge… that’s up to God. Full stop. God know’s who is saved…. or not.

And the last thing we should not judge somebody else is his / her spiritual maturity. When you look at 1 Corinthians 3 you see that Paul is talking about different levels of spiritual maturity. And the same as it’s not for us to judge if somebody is saved, it’s not up to us to determine somebody’s spiritual maturity. Do you know the whole story? No, you don’t… God knows… and it’s up to Him to judge that.

So, it’s not simple “do not judge” it’s more than that. It’s “do not judge like a hypocrite”, but do judge if you see somebody else sin and with God’s love and wisdom on your side.

And yes… you will probably get a lot of flack when you so do… you will hear the “do not judge”… but when you see somebody else make a mess out of God’s church: do judge. With His love, His knowledge and His patience. Why?

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.

Revelation 20:11-12

If a person does sin… and is making God angry with his or her behavior… and does not repent… God will judge… So, it’s better to have a good chat about their behavior now (although they will probably not want to hear it, and you will most likely get some flack over it) than to keep shut… keep the sinning at God going… making God more and more angry…

And so, we come to the end of this blog… If you can make somebody repent and stop their wrong and sinful behavior… this is the time… otherwise… God’s judgement is coming…and you don’t want that to happen to anyone…

And once again. When you hear anybody use the phrase: “Do not judge” (without the context that we discussed), even from a pastor… be aware.. very aware… that’s sadly too often not a good sign…

We even see examples of “pastors” going off the rails… and people were not allowed to say anything about anyone because “do not judge card” was used… and it went from bad to worse… and in the end the church was not a church anymore but a “church”… without God.. and Gods holiness…

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