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ADD TO YOUR LEARNING - The Philippine Teaching Ministry

ARTICLES

DO NOT JUDGE?
By Rolan Monje, for MMCC April 2003

We have heard it time and again that we "should not judge". But what does it really mean? The point is that the line "Do not judge" is one of the most abused religious lines ever. Let's look at the famous line from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.
MT 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

The point of the Sermon

When we look at the Sermon in its entirety, we begin to understand what "Do not judge" is supposed to mean. It does not forbid all judging of any kind. In fact, the Sermon challenges us to think critically and make good decisions for ourselves. One case of this is in line with the warning against false prophets (vv. 15-20). The call is for his followers not to be judgmental (cf Ro 14:10-13). Those who judge like this will in turn be judged, not by other people (which would not really matter much anyway), but by God. Anyone who engages in such judgment is close to "acting" God.

We thus see that people often oversimplify things, either deliberately or inadvertently. In any case, a good analysis of Biblical text is missed. What we often get is a bad shortcut. Judging (Gk. krino is the root word here ) by itself is simply making a conclusion. In line with Matt 7 it is a hypocritical kind of judging . But this word can also be used in the solemn judicial manner of judging (Jn 18:31;Ac 24:6) or the judgment of God (Ac 17:31, Ro 3:6). Krino is also used of Christ's action in 2 Ti 4:1. In contrast, katakrino means "to condemn" and is used in Mt 12:41-42 and Luke 11:31-32.

Different kinds of "judging"

When we look at the rest of the Bible, we actually see different kinds of judging.

The Bad Kinds, discouraged in the Bible

Hypocritical judging (Matt 7:1-5, Rom 2:1)
Superficial judging (John 7:24)
Judging someone wrongly in disputable matters (Rom 14:1)
Doubting someone's motives (1 Cor 4:3-5)
Thinking of another person/group as inferior (Jam 1:3-4)

The Good Kinds, encouraged in the Bible

Discerning when someone is receptive (Matt 7:6)
Coming to a correct conclusion (Luke 12:57)
Spiritual judgment (1 Cor 2:15)
Disciplining someone (1 Cor 5:12-13)

The Divine Kinds, left to God alone

Judgment by vindication (Heb 10:30)
Completely Unbiased judgment (Gal 2:6)
Final judgment (Jn 12:48, 1 Pet 4:5, Heb 12:23)

Let us all mature in our understanding of judging.


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© 2004-2008 Rolan Monje. All Rights Reserved.