OceanSide church of Christ

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Matthew 7:1, Judging Others

Victor M. Eskew


It is common to hear this statement in the religious world:  “It is wrong to judge.”  This is usually said to someone who has confronted a doctrine or a behavior that is contrary to God’s Word.  The primary passage used to support this contention is Matthew 7:1.  “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

Those who use this verse to condemn all judging have several obstacles to face.  First, they must face the obstacle of their own hypocrisy.  When they condemn others for judging, they, too, are judging.  If it is wrong to judge, it is wrong to judge those who judge.

Second, there is the obstacle of the context of Matthew 7:1 that must be overcome.  In Matthew 7:1, Jesus does not condemn all judging.  He condemns hypocritical judging.  It is wrong to judge others when we are guilty of similar sins.  “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Matt. 7:3).  This was one of the faults of the Jews.  They were quick to condemn the Gentiles, but they were guilty of the same sins (Rom. 2:21-24).  When an individual hypocritically judges another, God will mete out the same measure of judgment upon the hypocrit that he placed upon others.  “For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged:  and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt. 7:2).  Only when we clean up our own lives are we free to judge others (Matt. 7:5).

            Third, there is the obstacle of other passges that authorize judging that must be tackled.  One of these is John 7:24.  “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  Note those last three words:  “…judge righteous judgment.”  As long as our judgments are true and accurate, they can be made.

            If all judging is wrong, we would have serious problems as Christians.  We could not preach the gospel to the world for this would indicate that we have judged them to be lost.  We could not restore the erring because we would be judging them to be in the wrong.  We could not rebuke the gainsayer and the heretic because this would involve our judging their doctrines to be against the truth.  Dear readers, some judging is wrong, but righteous judgment is a must and is divinely authorized.