To Judge Or Not To Judge
The more you know the more you know you don't know. Such as writing about judging the other day. Even society can quote do not judge but we never finish reading the verses. So here is the "rest of the story". The word "judge," in its various forms, (judgeth, judging, judgment, judges, etc) is found over 700 times in the Bible. One book of the Bible is titled "Judges" because it was written when God raised up judges to lead His people.
Believers are warned against judging others unfairly or unrighteously, but Jesus commands “right judgment” We are to be discerning. In Matthew 7: 6, immediately after Jesus says, “Do not judge,” He says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs” A little later in the same sermon, He says, “Watch out for false prophets. . . . By their fruit you will recognize them”. How are we to discern who are the “dogs” and “pigs” and “false prophets" unless we have the ability to make a judgment cal?
We make judgments every day. We judge between right and wrong, dangerous choices from safe ones, etc. Jesus is cautioning us to not judge others in a hypocritical way. God expects His people to judge. Malachi 3:18: " And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not." What about Revelation 2:2? "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false."
I think God gives us tremendous responsibility with judging. I need to spend time with strong Christians who help me grow in my spiritual life. Can I have friends who are not believers? Absolutely. In order to spread God's love we have to be with all people. But I think you always have to be aware as to whether you are influencing them or if they are influencing you. There are also times when we have to be aware of false prophets. We cannot know this if we are not studying the word. We have to be able to discern the difference between good and evil. God tells us that there will be false teaching.
As Christians, we need to be discerning. The Bible tells us how to judge. We are not to be hypocritical. We are not to judge hastily or without evidence. We are not to judge unlovingly. We are to restore those who fall away in gentleness and humility.
Discernment is the ability to judge well. It is being able to think biblically. Spiritual discernment is the ability to tell the difference between truth and error. I believe that this is a God-given awareness. "Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth." Ephesians 4: 14
Proverbs 3: 21 sums this up, "My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion..."