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:
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.
2. Judgment must be according to the word of God!
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“.
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.
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:
4. Concerning who has God’s authority to judge
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
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.