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Judging Righteous Judgment




One of the most frequently quoted passages of the Bible is Matthew 7:1 : “Judge not that you be not judged”. People often use this passage to say that we have to be tolerant of sinful lifestyles. But what does the Bible really say about allowing those that are in the wrong to continue that way?


First, we must understand what this passage is saying. if we look at the whole context, you can pull a more perfect meaning out of the passage than simply don’t judge. In the very same passage, Jesus preaches correction, simply not hypocritical correction.


“ can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in you own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:4-5


We cannot judge somebody justly if we ourselves exhibit the same behavior. If we are to help others get out of sin, we need to make sure that same sin is not in our lives, lest we be disregarded and counted a hypocrite. Using the very same passage that others would cite to exclude all judgment, we can see that Jesus was rather referring to hypocritical judgment. In fact, he even explicitly states that once we have handled our own sin, it is our duty to help others with theirs. If we can “see clearly”, then we should try to remove the speck from our brother’s eye, and together we are made more perfect.


 But what other passages can we use to see this illustrated? In John 8, we read of a woman that was condemned to death due to her adultery. Her sentence was death, but Jesus saved her by telling the accusers that only one without sin could cast the first stone. In the end, only she and Jesus remained. Although he too did not condemn her to death, he did warn her of her sin, saying “Go. From now on sin no more.” This shows that though we may find someone undeniably in sin, and we have full right to condemn them to worldly punishments, mercy can go a long way to help them come out of it. We still must be adamant that they come out, however; go and sin no more. We should guide them on the path to righteousness, and help them come to Christ.


Additionally, we have other passages that tell us about the right way to handle a brother in sin. Galatians 6:1 states “Brethren even if  anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” This tells us that we must, if one is caught in sin, be willing to bring them back to the way of righteousness. We must be gentle and understanding, as well as cautious not to fall into the same trap.


We are to conform to the will of God, being perfect and good in all the ways that we can. 2 Peter 3:9 states “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, not wishing for any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” We need to do everything in our power to try and save everyone and bring them to repentance. People of the world see this as an invasion of their rights to live as they please, but we do this out of love. Peter continues in verse 10 that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” On that day, all will have to provide account, and it will be too late for those that have been left in sin. We must do all that we can to save them.


            People tell us not to ‘judge’ them because they want to live the way they see fit. They think that people that tell them otherwise are trying to harm them, and that they always know what is best for them. But we aren’t condemning them. We are trying to save them from judgment. This is an act of love, not one of hate or spite. We need to practice the art of correction, but we need to recognize that it is just that; an art. We need to be careful, and gentle, not being rude or hypocritical. This is one of the most important, but also one of the most delicate responsibilities of a Christian, and we need to make sure others understand the gravity of their situation.


Andrew Hellinger