LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR: PART IXJUDGING
A. Introduction: When Jesus was on earth, He said the greatest commandments are love God and love your neighbor. Matt 22:36-40
1. In recent lessons, we have focused on what it means to love your neighbor.
2. In this lesson, we want to deal with another aspect of loving others, judging.
a. Judging others is one of the most misunderstood topics in the NT.
b. Judging = we point out something in someone which we think is wrong.
1. Do we have the right to do it? Do people have the right to do it to us? 2. What about something that is clearly wrong according to the Bible? 3. How do you reconcile judging people with loving people?
3. As with every other Bible topic, accurate knowledge from God's word taken in context, will give us accurate understanding of the subject. That knowledge applied will help us live and love even as Christ. I John 2:6; John 13:34,35
B. First, some general statements about judging before we get to specific scriptures.
1. The word judge (or derivations) is used 166 times in the NT.
2. The Greek word most often translated judge in the NT is KRINO.
a. KRINO=to distinguish, ie. to decide (mentally or judicially) by implication, to try, condemn, punish-avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at law), ordain, call in question, sentence to, think. (Strong's Condordance)
b. The above list shows all the ways the word is used (translated) in KJV.
c. In other translations, we find these uses: to separate; pick out; see as distinct; to approve or esteem; to be of the opinion; to determine, resolve or decree; to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong; to pronounce judgment or subject to censure (censure=to find fault with; criticize as blame worthy).
d. KRINO has several different meanings depending on context.
3. We could say that to judge means to form an opinion because you see something as distinct or different from you or the standard you live by.
a. Forming different opinions = natural consequence of human interaction. b. We respond to each other's words and actions based on our own personalities and standards, and the result is differing opinions.
c. When you say: He's doing a great job, you're judging!! (Judge a contest)
4. Since we are specifically dealing in this lesson with finding fault, we must make an important distinction. There are two kinds of faults we see in others.
a. Things that are wrong according to our opinions = non-moral issues.
b. Things that are wrong according to God = moral issues.
5. The Bible recognizes the fact that we do form differing opinions.
a. The Bible also recognizes the fact that we will see people doing things that are wrong according to God's word and will have opinions about that.
b. In other words, we judge each other.
6. Nowhere does the Bible tell us not to judge. It tells us HOW to judge -- or how to form our opinions and what to do with them once we've formed them.
C. Matt 7:1--The classic passage on judging. This verse cannot mean don't judge.
1. If that is what the verse means, then it is also telling us that by not judging others, we can get out of being judged. But, we will all be judged. II Cor 5:10
a. After v1 says "don't judge", v2 tells us how to judge = with what measure.
b. You cannot obey v6 or v15 if you cannot exercise judgment = judge.
1. v6--Tells us we must be able to differentiate between those who will listen to the wisdom of God and those who won't.
2. v15--Tells us we must be able to identify false prophets.
2. Matt 7:1 warns us against critical judgment where you find fault with or in a person and then deal with them from a position of superiority.
a. W.E. Vine's dictionary -- context means to assume the office of a judge.
b. A judge is superior to everyone else in court, and condemns, and declares guilt. Do not sit in judgment. (20th Cent)
c. Other translations of the word judge in this verse include: criticize (to find fault; see and point out the bad); say what is wrong; subject to censure (blame or find fault; condemn; pronounce guilty); condemn; find fault; look down on; hold in contempt; mock; blame.
3. v3-5 give us a description of what is involved in the judging we are not to do-- one person is pointing out the fault of another while oblivious to his own fault.
a. v3--Why do you keep looking at the speck in your brother's eye, and pay no attention to your own? (Goodspeed)
b. v3--How is it that thou canst see the speck of dust which is in thy brother's eye, and art not aware of the beam which is in thine own eye? (Knox)
4. There is a speck or problem in another person's life. We can't tell from he context if it is a moral or non-moral problem.
a. Jesus doesn't focus on the guy with the problem, but rather on the one noticing the problem.
b. Why is his problem a mote and yours a beam? His problem (fault) is not your concern; your problem is your concern.
5. Notice, Jesus has two questions for the one pointing out the other guy's fault.
a. v3--Why are you looking at the other guy's faults?
b. v4--What right do you have (How is it) to speak into his life?
6. This man appears to be pointing out the fault for the good of the one with the problem. But, that can't be his genuine motive because Jesus calls him a hypocrite. Notice what Jesus is getting at:
a. What is the reason behind your awareness of the other fellow's faults?
b. What are you doing with your opinion? Why are you speaking to him?
7. If your true concern is the cause of righteousness, why don't you deal with what you have direct control over -- you and your beam!!
D. Jesus is not taking issue with judging, forming opinions, or even believing that what the other guy is doing is wrong. Jesus is dealing with motives, hear attitudes.
1. Remember, one of the things Jesus is doing in the Sermon on the Mount is exposing the Pharisees whom He often referred to as hypocrites. Matt 5:20
a. In chap 5 Jesus exposed their misinterpretations of the Law (letter vs spirit; correct out actions vs inner motives).
b. In chap 6:1-18 Jesus spoke against their hypocritical public displays of alms, prayers, fastings.
c. No doubt, He still has them in mind in chap 7 when He deals with judging. d. In Luke 18:9-14 Jesus gives us an example of critical judging.
2. In Matt 7:1-5 Jesus is warning us against harsh judgment of others from a position of superiority and disdain for that person.
3. Remember, we couldn't obey Matt 7:6 or 15 if Jesus is saying that judging (opinion forming) itself is wrong. In the next lesson we will get to verses which make it clear different opinions are allowed.
4. As we continue reading, we see Jesus is not yet finished with judging.
a. Matt 7:7-11--We have one of the most wonderful descriptions of our Heavenly Father in the NT. Although it doesn't seem to relate, it does. We'll come back to it.
b. v12--The key to the issue of judging: treat others as you want to be treated.
1. When someone finds a fault in you, how do you want to be treated? Like a stupid idiot? As an object of humiliation? As you deserve? Do you want them to tell 27 people about it?
2. When someone has a different opinion than you, how do you want to be treated? Like a stupid idiot? Or as a person who has good reason for what you're doing?
5. The bottom line on judging (seeing differences and faults in others) is love, a love that treats others the way we want to be treated, and as God treats us.
6. That's the connection with verses 7-11. Look how God treats us.
a. Do we deserve such treatment? Is God aware of any flaws or short comings or faults in us? Are His opinions different than ours in any areas?
b. Does it say--to him who is perfect the Father gives good gifts?
c. Then, v12--THEREFORE=because of how God treats you, here's how you are to treat others.
7. In Luke's account of the Sermon on the Mount (chap 6), we get more insight.
a. v37--Judge not -- neither pronouncing judgment, not subjecting to censure -- and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released. (Amp)
b. The context of this verse is loving those who don't deserve it. v36--LEARN to be merciful just as your Father. (20th Cent)
8. These verses give us additional insight into why we ought no judge harshly.
a. v37,38--There are consequences to be reaped.
b. v39--Me trying to be judge over someone is like the blind leading the blind. I'm no more qualified to criticize him than he is me.
c. v40--Master = teacher. Jesus, my teacher, is not now judging people. John 3:17--Condemn = KRINO = judge. Neither are we to do it.
9. How do you know if you do this kind of judging (opinion forming)? Consider:
a. Are you determined that things be done your way because all the other ways are stupid?
b. Are you quick to point out peoples' faults? They do ten things right, but you focus on the one wrong thing.
c. Are you ever a little bit glad when something bad happens to someone who has done something you believe is wrong?
d. Do you talk about people with whom you have no direct dealing and make harsh judgments about them?
e. Do you form opinions without getting all the facts or taking time to understand the circumstances?
f. Do you assign motives to people which you have no way of knowing?
E. Let's consider some standards we can use as we form opinions about (judge) others.
1. Keep in mind that human beings are self focused, and part of growth is identifying selfish areas and turning away from self to God and others.
a. Our flesh likes to feel superior and gets comfort from knowing someone else messes up more than we do.
b. Our first response to people is often based on that tendency.
2. Don't make hasty judgments. They have a side, too. And, we don't necessarily have all the facts. John 7:51;24; John 8:15
3. Is what that person is doing any of my business? Does it affect me directly?
4. Jesus gave us one instruction about how to treat each other -- love one another.
a. I Cor 13:7--Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person. (Amp)
b. Even if you think someone is doing something stupid, why not assume they have a good reason for doing it.
c. If you hear something bad about someone, refuse it or find the good in it.
5. When in a position where judgment (forming of an opinion) is called for, show mercy. It's a command of God. Matt 5:7; 6:15; Matt 18:21-35; James 2:13
6. Recognize there is a direct connection between critical judging and your mouth.
a. One meaning of the word judge is to comment on the faults of others.
b. We judge someone when we speak ill of them, criticizing them. James 4:11
1. Stop talking against one another, brothers. Whoever is in the habit of talking against his brother and criticizing his brother, you are not a practicer, but a critic of the law. (Williams)
2. [My] brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law but a censor and judge [of it]. (Amp)
c. You may have reason for what you say, but you have no right to say it.
d. Love covers sin. Prov 17:9; 10:12; I Pet 4:8--Love has a way of not looking at other's sins. (Everyday)
e. The minute you express your opinion in my ears, it influences me and ceases to be just your opinion.
7. Remember, you can do these things because you are a new creature with a new nature, the love nature of God. Rom 5:5F. We have not said all there is to say about judging, but remember these points:
1. We can judge (form an opinion), but we must remember our guidelines.
2. But we are not to become a judge. A judge sits in a position of superiority. A judge condemns = finds guilty and pronounces sentence; they deserve to suffer.
3. When in doubt, show mercy.