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Christian Counseling - Do not Judge! Never?

"'Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?"' (Matthew 7:1-3) And James 4:11,12 says, "...(h)e who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it...who are you who judge your neighbor?"

The simple and safe solution to judging is don't do it, ever.

Yet, that creates a problem. Without judging a person could never discern or form any conclusion about any person's character or behavior--good or evil, right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate. How then could anyone decide to associate, or not, with a particular person, group, church, business or government? How then could any church vote on accepting someone's membership, or discipline a member? How then could a person decide to whom they will make contributions, or for whom they will vote, hire, or fire? No, the simple solution to never judge doesn't work. So, what is it that God means when He says don't do it? The answer is found in the definition.

In Greek, the same word for judge can mean two very different things. The first meaning is to take actions that try, condemn, punish, damn and avenge someone. Second, it refers to thinking, determining, concluding, and calling something or person into question. The first use of judging is condemned in the Bible, but the second is expected and required.

Biblical support for judging is found in the following verses:

Luke 12:57 tells us, "'And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?"'
In John 7:24 Jesus tells us to, "judge with righteous [in Greek, justice or equitably]
Romans 2:27 says we are to make judgments about what the law means.
I Corinthians 5:12 gives us permission to judge those in the church, but not those outside of it.
I Corinthians 6:1-5 informs us we are to judge small or significant issues regarding people or

Judging, as punishing others or even oneself, is not right. Judging, as trying to figure out what is true or right, is always good. Therefore, judging others can be right or wrong. Looking a little more closely to self-judgment, the same thinking applies. It can be either good or bad. Self-judgment is good because it is necessary to see the log in one's own eye, to confess sin and to evaluate if one has turned away from it. But what scripture condemns is anyone who takes God's place and acts like a judge who tries, condemns and punishes oneself. Right self-judgment is limited to discerning the rightness or wrongness of one's own thoughts, feelings and behavior. We then take this and confess it to God who, as the righteous judge, decides on any chastisement. Sinful self-judgment is visible when people carry around a load of guilt and when they condemn themselves to limited joy and pleasure. This is often the result of holding on to false beliefs like, "I don't deserve to be happy" or "I am a bad person."

One reason God tells us not to judge (condemn and punish) is that our judgments tend to be short-sighted. They are based on what we want or desire to satisfy or control some thought or feeling, such as hurt or angry. Jesus said in John 5:30 that His judgment was just because He didn't seek his own will, but that of the Father. Also, we tend to "judge after the flesh" (or carnally), says John 8:15.

We need to understand God's judgments (how He thinks and arrives at His decisions, and not as an authority who takes actions against someone or ourselves). We do this the best we can, apply those learnings in our everyday life and ask God to take any righteous actions He deems necessary.

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Anonymous wrote:
the explanation about the Greek meaning of the word is helpful. thank you.

11/05/2009 @ 11:57 PM

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