Learning When And When Not To Judge

            A hand holding a mirrror and and eye being reflected
               I imagine that many of the ones that will read this article have heard something similar to the following:  “You are not my judge”, or “We are not to judge”.  Sadly, this exposes the ignorance of many of those who say such things.  More than likely, the idea that all judging is wrong comes from a misunderstanding of Scripture.  Let us take the time to learn when it is right to judge, and likewise, when it is wrong to judge.

               First, when is it wrong to judge?  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught plainly, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7:1).  For some people, that is all that they seem to know in regard to judging.  Sadly, many either ignore, or are ignorant about the four verses that follow Matthew 7:1.  If an individual would take the time to study the whole discussion, he would see that Jesus was prohibiting a specific kind of judging.  Jesus continued, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:  and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:2-5).  Jesus was not teaching that all judging is wrong!  How wonderful it would be if we could teach every person to understand that!  Jesus taught that hypocritical judging is wrong.  What does that mean?  In the given Scriptures, Jesus explained that each of the two brethren had a problem with his eye.  One of the brothers had a “mote” in his eye while the other brother had a “beam” in his eye.  The idea of the “mote” is something small and not easily detectable.  It is there, but it takes some effort to notice it.  Think about a speck of sawdust.  When it contacts the eye, it is certainly bothersome and needs to be removed.  However, to locate the speck of sawdust, one has to do some intensive looking at the eye.  On the other hand, the idea of a “beam” is something large and easily noticeable.  This time, think about a 2×4 piece of lumber.  If that piece of lumber were to become somehow lodged in your eye, it would be a serious issue that needed immediate attention.  It would not be difficult to identify the problem, after all, the lumber would be protruding from the eye socket.  Those two ideas are similar to the examples given by Jesus.  It would be wrong for a brother with a “beam” in his eye to ignore his obvious problem.  Further, it would be even more of an issue if he nit picked his brother about the “mote” in his eye.  The brother with the “beam” should look at self first.  Correct the problem that is in your life before you start condemning someone else.  That is what Jesus taught.  He never did prohibit all judging from being done, or else how would we be able to determine our own faults?

               On another occasion, Jesus again taught about the wrong type of judging.  Our Lord had done the wonderful thing of healing a man on a sabbath day.  Some Jews were upset with Jesus, making the incorrect judgment that Jesus had done wrong by healing on the sabbath day.  Our Lord explained to them, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).  It is wrong to make a judgment without sufficient evidence.  In this case, the Jews had not learned God’s Word adequately enough to make judgment.  Jesus told them to judge “righteous judgment”.  What is “righteous judgment”?  The Psalmist wrote, “My tongue shall speak of thy word:  for all thy commandments are righteousness” (Psm. 119:172).  If all of God’s commandments are righteousness, then “righteous judgment” would be judging according to God’s Word.  That not only explains the error of judging by what something appears to be, it also teaches us the proper, and commanded, form of judging.  Yes, that is right, we are commanded to judge righteously.  How many people do you think know John 7:24 the way that they think they know Matthew 7:1?  Not only that, but do you remember the brother with the “beam” in his eye?  Jesus explained that when that brother took care of his noticeable and serious problem, he then was to remove the “mote” in his brother’s eye.  In other words, once a man handles his noticeable and serious problems, he is then in the proper place to judge his brother righteously.  Friend, will you apply these simple truths to your life?  Also, will you please teach others this simple truth.  Maybe we can help to stop the false teaching that all judging is wrong.
~ Corey Barnette