Sunday, September 9, 2007

Do Not Judge!

Judge not, that ye be not judged (Mt 7:1). The problem with this verse is that many people take it in isolation. In isolation, we are bound to misinterpret it. Without even horizontal studies, just staying in the text, we will translate and interpret it correctly. However, let me draw your attention to some things that will force you to give that interpretation a second look from the common interpretation of “don’t judge”. The Bible says that Christians have to judge the Christians and the outsiders are left unto God (I Cor 5:12-13). But if the Bible was against Christians judging each other then the Bible is very contradictory because in Matthew it says: “don’t judge” and it inspired Paul to tell us to “judge those within”. How are we going to fulfill I Cor 5:12-13 if we don’t judge?

“Judge” as used in Matthew 7:1 means to condemn or call to question with sanctions from the Greek /krino.
Both in Matthew and in I Corinthians, the word has the same meaning. So there is bound to be a contradiction. Thank God, if we go back to the proceeding verses in Matthew 7:1 we extract the meaning. Jesus explains in the proceeding verses what he means. Remember verse one is like a topic sentence. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 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? 5 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.

In verse two, he says the same way you judge is the same way you will be judged. Hence, the problem here is not the act of judging but the method of judging. Then in verse three, he illustrates with an analogy. You have a more serious problem why are you concerned only with your brother who even has a lighter issue? How will you go to a brother who does not have a much bigger issue to say let me help you when you have a more serious problem that needs to be taken care of first before you go to help him.

Take for instance; you had sex with your boyfriend before marriage. God did not reject you but when he cheats, all hell breaks lose and you want to divorce. You forgot that both of you have cheated against God but he did not cast you out. During President Clinton’s impeachment many Christians said he should resign because he has committed adultery. The same Christians were practicing racism, abusing kids and committing other more heinous crimes than the consensual sex the gentleman had with the intern.

Or when you hear that a brother was pulled over by the police for speeding. You jump on him meanwhile; you are driving with a radar that helps you evade the police when you are speeding. According to Jesus, because you are doing the same thing, you are unworthy to judge him.

More so, it should also be recalled that each time there was a judgment there was a verdict. So the problem here is not just criticism. Christians take this verse as a blanket against rebukes for their libertinage lifestyle. If we are our brothers and sisters keepers how will we do that if we cannot call you to order. Any attempt to call you to order is judgment. No it is not. It is rebuke and exhortation. The Bible encourages us to rebuke those who are living in sin (I Tim 5:20; Titus 1:13) Paul rebuked Peter and the other Jerusalem Christians (Gal 2:11, 14).

Until then, criticism is not judgment.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk

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