Judge Not…Really?

Judgment…judgmental…”don’t judge me”…all of these words and catch phrases are plenty popular in American culture and around the world. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:1, “Judge not that you be not judged.” Christians are often accused of being two things: hypocritical and judgmental. Now what does that mean to be both hypocritical and judgmental? It means that we turn the sharp edge of the sword to others – judgmental behavior in a condemning manner – and we turn the blunt edge toward ourselves – hypocrisy. We love it when others get the strong hand of justice applied to their necks, but grimace, complain, hide, and/or deny when it comes knocking at our door.
For the next three weeks I’ll be serving up a healthy dose of judgment talk from the seventh chapter of Matthew. Part one is titled, “Kingly Advice on True Judgment: Judging Ourselves.” We must, must, must as believers in Christ begin any judgment inside of our hearts. There’s no other way around it and that’s where Jesus started. Jesus didn’t say we can’t be discerning, wise, or judgmental about behavior, sin, etc. That’s not what He meant and there’s ample evidence. He uses the word “judge” in Matthew 7 in a “once-and-for-all condemning” style of judgment, which Christians are absolutely NOT supposed to do. That’s reserved for the King of kings and Lord of lords alone. But we are absolutely called to judge behavior in ourselves, and inside and outside the church.
It’s been said that once you cut off a person’s nose, don’t give them a rose to smell. If we’re going to present the rose of Christ and Him crucified to this world, we cannot then lop off the noses of those who need this good news. Too often we’re over eager in judging and condemning others while being timid and dishonest with cutting the chains that bind us! And we’ve all made mistakes in this arena, myself included…too many times if I’m being equally honest. But we don’t stop trying because we serve a mighty and loving God who will judge each one of us one day.
I pray that this series will serve as a reminder that we are to judge, but with “righteous judgment” (not by outward appearances) as John 7:24 states. It’s become a sport to hammer Christians over the head with cries of “don’t judge me.” And yet, if we first judge ourselves and humble ourselves before our holy Lord Jesus Christ, we can, with tenderness and love, reach a world who needs righteous judgment.
Prayerfully in Christ,
Pastor Branden T. Robertson