Judge Not

I have attached a list of Scriptures below that should be studied together to see what the Lord had instructed concerning the common directive that is so often quoted out of context.  The phrase is “Judge not lest ye be also judged” and is used to silence those who disagree or would condemn an action. 

The verses (Matthew 7:1 and Luke 6:37) were a part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount, where Jesus was instructing those who would live righteous in this world.  They were not given as prohibitive and all encompassing laws but rather the prohibition of devaluing others.  The words “judge not” simply means do not pass judgment or condemnation and has to do with a person’s worth.  It does not mean to have no opinion or discernment about an action but rather to not allow that discernment to lessen that person’s value to you or to God. 

A good example of this is iron in its natural state is rust mixed with soil and has no apparent value.  When that Iron is mined and processed, the impurities are removed and heat is added, along with other minerals is specified amounts, it becomes steel that becomes quite strong.  Because we see others in their raw and impure form we should not consider them of no value, but God knows what He has in mind for each of us and that is of great value to Him.

When placing these verses along with the other verses such as I John 4:1 where we are commanded to “try the spirits”, it sounds like a contradiction, but it is not.  Even though we are forbidden to pass judgment on a person’s value, we are commanded to measure the spirit behind the action and to know if that spirit is of God.  These are two completely different responses to two completely different applications for two completely different reasons.  Judging deals with another person’s value in his service for comparison, while discernment addresses the spirit behind the action for the benefit of the fellowship.

Further, discernment is based upon the fruit of the individual which exposes the spirit directing the action.  Mt 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.   Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  Jesus went on to say in John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.  It simply cannot be that we are directed to “judge not” in one place and then “Judge righteousness judgment” in another place unless there is a difference of application.  The answer is that we are forbidden to pass judgment based upon appearance (respect of persons) but we are commanded to discern the force behind the actions.  We are commanded to examine the fruit and the witness of the Spirit of God. 

Another point is that we should listen and follow those whom God has placed as our spiritual leaders who have given their lives into His service and have grown into spiritual maturity.  These gifted leaders are chosen by God and given to the church to equip the membership.

In summary then, we are not instructed to disregard sinful or evil activity, but rather, to stand on principles and against evil spirits, not against people.  The person is not the problem but the evil spirit must be confronted.  This is why we should pray for our pastor and church leaders as they stand between evil forces and the church and we are to support them.

Mt 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

 Lu 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

 Joh 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

 1Co 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. {judgment: Gr. day}

******************** versus *********************

1Jo 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Mt 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

 Mt 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

Joh 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

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