As I was going through Romans 14 this morning, something became clear to me. While I don’t plan to go back to writing more than one post a week, I am going to make an exception today because this is fresh on my mind.
Many Christians believe that when the Bible says “do not judge” it means we shouldn’t judge anyone at any time. This has been what they have been taught.
However, upon closer inspection, we realize that this is definitely not what the Bible says. This misinterpretation is what happens when one reads only one verse (or even one sentence) and doesn’t consider context.
There are two things to consider when it comes to this matter of judging others–
1. We must be as hard on ourselves (or harder) as we are on others. When we recognize our own sinfulness and weaknesses, our judgment takes on a whole different spirit, does it not? There is no pride and arrogance when we see ourselves as we really are.
Matthew 7 starts off with “Judge not” but then moves on to how important it is that we remove the plank from our own eye in order to help our brother remove the speck from his eye. The chapter then later goes on to talk about how we will know believers by their fruits (vs. 20). This necessitates judgment of said fruit, does it not?
So humility is the key to godly judgment. With humility comes sorrow instead of arrogance upon our recognition of sin in a fellow believer’s life.
The need for a humble spirit can’t be overestimated in this matter of judging.
Might I add here that we don’t even need to bother to judge unbelievers. They are lost and without hope. We should feel nothing but grace and love for them. God’s wrath is coming and we should feel an urgency to share the Gospel with them. They need Jesus. That’s the heart of the matter, plain and simple.
2. Romans 14 is another place that talks about not judging others. But we can see clearly, as we read the chapter in context, that Paul is not talking about sin here. He is referring to issues that are non-biblical preferences, such as what to eat or how to observe a holiday.
We know this is not referring to sin because Galatians 6:1 (and several other passages, as well) clearly tell us that we are to confront a brother or sister if they are in sin. In order to do this, we must judge that sin, must we not?
So Romans 14 is talking about non-sin issues only.
And so we have to understand that we are to judge. And, in fact, we all judge quite naturally. Those who proclaim that we shouldn’t judge are always the harshest judges. Sometimes screaming at us and calling us names for “judging”. Or talking about us behind our backs, judging us for judging others. (I always find that rather amusing.)
However, as believers, God has clearly shown us in His Word how to judge in a godly way as opposed to the human way that comes so naturally.
To sum it up, biblical judging, in order to please God, must come from a humble heart and should be about sin issues in the life of a believer. These are the two things we must keep in mind. There is never, ever any place for a critical, arrogant spirit in any situation.
This has been a hot button topic in these past few years, as we are told that any judgement is sinful. I hope this has been helpful for some of you.