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Building Bridges between God and Man

Judgment

Bonnie Morris

In an earlier article: (A Fuller Meaning of the word Name) we discovered that the word NAME meant more than nature; it also means authority… To know someone well is to know their nature and their authority…

Let’s look at one of the words that falls into the category of God’s authority: JUDGE

The understanding of the word judge, must be taken from the whole of scripture. To just pull out a couple of scriptures and try to build a picture of the judgment the scriptures speak of, simply does not work.

So, let’s begin with a sovereign judgment by God:
John 12:31-33 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.

We see by this, that God judged the world when Jesus died. Here was the result of this judgment: God declared ALL of us innocent and reconciled ALL of us unto Himself. Herein is love…not that we loved God, but He loved us. This was a one time judgment, wherein God included all of humanity. We understand from this what is meant by the scripture that says…God is no respecter of persons. It has to do with salvation for everyone. He is the savior of all - especially to those who believe. This judgment was NOT condemning any person and was motivated by God’s love for the world. It took care of Sin as a noun/ a thing.

Because of this scripture, many believe that judgment of any kind ended on that day. But, this is not what scripture bears out. When the bible speaks on a certain subject at least 785 times, to think that one scripture will give you the whole picture is ridiculous.

I declare: “There are times, when we, as Christians are to make judgment calls and times when we are not”. I believe it is imperative for the sons of God to learn judgment. WHY? 1st. Cor. 6:2a Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? Obadiah 21: Saviors shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esau. There is the understanding of sin as a verb/action after the initial experience of salvation. Just like there is a grace extended in salvation whereby works have nothing to do with it. However, if you make Jesus the Lord of your life, the grace of God that is then extended to a believer is to empower believer to walk uprightly…For faith, without works is dead. When He comes to live through us, grace is the ability to do the will of God. He continues to forgive us when we sin, but hopefully that becomes less and less as we grow in our understanding of His nature.

I would never imply that we should always judge. In fact, it’s possible someone is not mature enough to judge. However, I cannot go along with many who say that we are to never judge. Scripture simply does NOT convey this. John 7: 24 says: Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Over the years, I have come to see the importance of, (at least) these 5 conditions before judging anyone.

1. All judgment must be motivated by love. In this scenario, Someone may feel condemned, but it is not because of the one judging; it is because they do not believe. Jesus said: “He that believeth not is condemned already…And this is the condemnation: that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light”. Yes, I only used a portion of this scripture because in context it is speaking about those who do not know the Son… but I desired to show you the principle that is at work when we, as believers, don’t believe what is written or spoken about judgment. So, if someone comes to me with a judgment concerning something I am doing that is damaging me and I don’t believe them, I may very well feel condemned. Without mercy, judgment will never produce the desired results (which is correction unto Life). Remember the words of Jesus in Matt. 7:2 “For with what judgment ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.“ If you are swift to judgment, you are NOT merciful. God has been merciful to us; likewise, we should exercise mercy towards others. A Japanese proverb says to “search seven times before you judge”.

2. Judgment must be according to the word of God!
The primary stipulation given for Christians regarding judging is that we are NOT to proclaim our own judgments (based on our own opinions) but to pronounce the judgments of God (based on truth). Jesus serves as the best example on this matter.

Jesus speaking:
John 5:30: I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. This is NOT a judgment after the flesh which Jesus opposes as He states in John 8:15-16 that only judgments that come from God are true: “Ye judge after the flesh: I judge no man. And yet if (when) I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. In context, Jesus is saying that he does not judge any man after the flesh.

3. An understanding/wise heart is necessary for judging.
1st Kings 3:9 “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and UPBRAIDETH (insults or rebukes…for asking) NOT; and it shall be given him.

4. A truly fair judgment is blind and deaf to any outer influence. Proverbs 24:23 “These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment“.
For example…letting your children get away with something that you would judge as error in someone else’s child.

5. Judge yourself first…1st Corinthians 11:30-31 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. We are to judge and improve ourselves as the people of God.

There are several words in the Greek language that all mean judge when translated into English. I liken it to the Greek word Love… Love has 3 greek words that describe the different meanings of love and yet we always use just the word love. It is still love, but concerning different aspects of it. So when the KJ bible uses the word judge, it often is describing different aspects of the word, however it still means judge.

The biggest problem with the word judge is believing it always carries with it condemnation. One of the reasons for this is that our Webster’s dictionary never equates discernment with judging. The majority of the time judging does not carry with it any condemnation. God judged sin and condemned sin in the flesh. Man is condemned by the natural penalties in government. But, the word judge or form of the word judge is used at least 785 times in the bible and very few have any connection with condemnation. It is sad that we have connected judging with condemnation as it has prevented growth. I think the reason we have is because often the person receiving the correction feels condemned…But judgment of God does not condemn them; they simply feel condemned because in their rebellion, they do not believe.

I have personally, been in Christian circles who teach it is always wrong to judge and sin runs rampant in those circles. Unfortunately, I have also been in Christian circles that judge unrighteous judgment and in those places, the body of Christ could find no peace. It is safe to say that judging has NOT been handled correctly by the body of Christ and has created horrible atrocities. Too often, the baby has been thrown out with the bath water. It is up to each one to learn proper judgment. We are teaching balance today.

To rightly divide when it is right to judge and when it is not:

1. Concerning your own life:

1st Cor. 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. The Greek word for judge here is diakrino and it means judge, discern, make a distinction and is used as a verb. Psalms 139: 23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. I like to pray that God would show me what I believe that is not true… it is a way of judging my understanding.

1st Cor. 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. This word “judged” in the Greek is “anakrino” and is used as a verb: judge (in both a general and a legal sense): judged, judgeth, examined, asking question, searched.

On the surface, these two scriptures seem to contradict themselves concerning judging. But, if you will read them in context, you will see that we should judge our own selves and we will find that we are not condemned with the world and that we have the grace to live uprightly. When Paul said he wasn’t going to judge himself, he had reference to the thing that man was judging him for and this, in context seems to me to be concerning the end of his stewardship. We cannot examine and pass sentence on the fulfillment or non-fulfillment of our own stewardship, or anybody else’s for that matter. This judgment is the Lord’s. He is the One appointed to determining the results of our lives. 1st Cor. 4:4 He that judgeth me is the Lord. 2nd Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. This has reference to rewards.

2. Concerning those weak in the faith:

Romans Ch. 14 discusses meat and drink, esteeming days and unclean things. Ch. 14 makes a point about those who are weaker in their faith; they cannot do some things that others have the liberty to do. Do not judge anyone who MUST worship on a certain day, who CANNOT eat certain things without it violating their conscience, etc. Happy is the man whose heart does not condemn him in that which he allows. The Greek word for judge in Rom. 14 is krino and it means to decide, consider, as preferring one thing over another or determining the correctness of a matter. By extension: to judge, pass judgment on, condemn in a legal sense: sue at the law. Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days. These are NOT subjects worthy of your time, so let’s not make judgments on these non moral issues.

3. Concerning the religious:
Romans Ch. 2 speaks to the religion in man and the hypocrisy of it. If there is something you are doing and you judge another person as wrong for doing it, you are in error. Rom. 2:1: Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another thou condemns thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. Although, at the time, Paul was addressing the Jews (who were very religious) and telling them that they were judging the Gentiles for the same thing they were doing, the principle still applies today that when we judge others we should make it a rule to examine ourselves on that very point.

4. Concerning who has God’s authority to judge
1 Cor. 5:15 He who is spiritual judgeth all things… The word judge in verse 15 has reference to examining or trying … in the amplified it reads: But the spiritual man tries all things… that is, he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things. Vines dictionary points out that this is a discerning judgment of all things to their true value. This word judgeth in the Greek is also “anakrino”. Vines goes on to point out that this man who judges all things is not judged by any man (speaking of mere man) for the merely natural mind can’t estimate the motives of the spiritual. Paul said in 1st Cor. 7:25b that he had obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful and in context it is speaking of giving his judgment on something wherein there was no specific commandment. It appears that obtaining mercy to be faithful is a qualification for judging.

If judging is not squarely based on God’s word (as it is the authority of the believer: scripture means authoritative writings) and love for our brethren or humanity, then It is best to keep thy mouth shut!

In conclusion let’s remember 2 scriptures: Psa. 37:30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgment. Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment…. Why?… v.10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

Following is a question from Janelle to Gary Sigler. It so echoes what I have written that I asked Gary to let me include it for your consideration also.

Good morning Gary,

I want to ask you what you see about judging and when it stops being discernment and truth to being opinionated and stubborn. Can a person never say something about a matter that is damaging a person unless they are judging? I have my own thoughts about this, but I would like to know what you feel. Thanks


Janelle,

How many times have you heard someone whine - judge not lest ye be judged. This verse of scripture from Matthew 7:1 is often quoted out of context by people who never want to hear any form of correction.

There seems to be a lot of misperception about judging. Some say we should never judge but then you hear them making judgments often. We all make judgments every day and yet we know Jesus did say judge not that you be not judged. Some who say we should never judge are quick to let you know when you are discerning something wrong that you shouldn’t judge. If we are never to make a judgment about anything that happens this world would be a much darker place. When Jesus taught that you should not judge he was not saying that you should lose your discernment or that you should never bring correction in a situation. We all need and should desire judgment. The scriptures are full of judgment.

With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I see thee early; for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Isa: 26:99

We should not judge except in a righteous way. If you are judging someone and your emotions are involved and you are acting out of anger, you should stop immediately. Our judgment should be from a heart of compassion and a desire to bring righteousness in the situation. We can be harsh if need be, but with a heart to bring peace and restoration.

As God’s ambassadors we have a responsibility to do as we feel is best for the community as a whole. Usually the ones who cry “you should not judge” are the ones who cause disruption and then say we are judging them when we bring correction. We should never judge someone and then think we are better than them or that we are not capable of doing the same thing. Usually when you judge someone wrongfully is when you may later find yourself doing the same thing that you are judging another for. That is why Jesus said not to judge. He never said to throw out discernment or correct a bad situation. When you truly have the heart of the Father you do not want to hurt anyone and you want to please each person but you realize that is impossible. So, we do the best we can do according to what’s in our hearts.

Hope this helps Janelle.