Who's To Judge?
"Judge not, that you be not judged." Matthew 7:1 This is perhaps one of the most misused Scriptures in the Bible. When a sinner is confronted with his sin or when he is rebuked, most of the time he will answer "don't judge me," and he'll quote that verse. Are we indeed never to judge? Let's look at some other passages on the subject. "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Galatians 4:16 If telling the truth makes me an enemy, that means there's an unpleasant truth to tell. Sinners want to hear words of love, grace, mercy, anything that will make them feel better, but a lot of the time, truth hurts. If you're my friend I won't lie to you hoping that you won't view me as an enemy when I speak the truth, the hurtful truth. Bear in mind that the hurtful truth has been spoken to me first. The beginning of anyone's walk with the Lord will be all about repentance. When I have been broken in repentance, then I will see clearly, and if you're my friend, I will urge you too to come to repentance. The Lord tells us to EXPOSE the works of darkness. To expose them, I must know them. The world has an entirely different set of values, and among them is lawlessness. What is good they call evil, and what is evil they call good and that aptly describes the world. That leaves the responsibility to believers to point out evil for what it is, and to expose it. That is not hate, as they retort. Speaking of repentance comes from love. I don't want you to go into judgment. I don't want you to miss salvation. I care about you enough to speak truth. "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather EXPOSE them." Ephesians 5:11 Preparation for right judgment has to be from a thorough knowledge of the Word of God, for that is the only authority upon which right judgment is founded. A believer who is not grounded in the Word of God will not be able to judge rightly, for he will judge according to his own set of values and that differs from person to person, so it cannot be the basis of judging. The Word of God is the ONLY rightful authority, so it necessitates that judgment be by the Word of God and by no other. "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; CORRECT, REBUKE, EXHORT with all long suffering and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:2 In Matthew 3:7, John the Baptist called both the Pharisees and Sadducees “a generation of vipers.” Pretty hard words. And he openly rebuked Herod the king. Obviously he's making a judgment when he says those things. Today, he would be accused of being called a hater, unloving, unkind, with no respect for leaders and most of all un-Christian. Yet Jesus said that of all the prophets, John was the greatest. Brothers and sisters, we are called upon to expose the works of darkness. The world wants to keep believers "meek and mild," and any variation from that they label with all sorts of sarcastic names. You will not be loved for exposing sin. John was thrown into prison and murdered. Jesus Christ, the author of righteous judgment was crucified. Yes, there will be a penalty for speaking up, but that must not make you cower into the "meek and mild" pansy that the world insists you be. That is NOT Christianity. The world demands that believers "love," but they falsely define love. Very falsely indeed. "Love," to them, is tolerating their sin and backing off from judgment. That is the voice of the world. Reject it. And when you are rejected, brush the dust off your shoes and walk away. One of the retorts of the sinner against the believer is to point out wherever he or she sins, thus making their own sin no worse than yours in their eyes. A believer does not live in sin. The very beginning of the believer's life in the Lord is all about repentance and the believer lives a life of daily repentance. He will fall, all do, but his heart is set on continuous repentance as the Holy Spirit sheds light on the hidden things of darkness. "Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:22 It's a life-long process as more and more light is shed. Any believer who is not walking in repentance had better not be in the position of exposing the sins of others. In fact, any believer who is not walking in repentance is highly suspect as not being a believer at all. Repentance has to be the foundation of the believer's life. Only then can he expose the works of darkness to the world. Above all, the believer must abstain from all appearance of evil. He must remember always that he represents Christ to an evil world, and if he is walking in obvious sin then he defiles the image of Christ that he bears before the world. Believers are commanded to judge and expose evil. Just remember that we are to maintain a life of repentance ourselves.