How Judging Righteously is Different Than Passing JudgementLeif
The Difference Between Judging Righteously and Passing Judgement
When it comes to discernment, there is a difference between judging righteously and passing Judgement. Being able to judge or discern according to Scripture is not the same as passing Judgement against someone. Judging is being able to distinguish between something. For instance, have you heard someone say, “judging by the distance…?” The person is gauging the distance between two points. The same can be said when someone is evaluating or reviewing something. For instance, when I went to purchase a new car. I was trading my old vehicle in and the car salesman told me, “judging by the condition of your car” they were figuring out the trade-in value of my vehicle, based on the condition of the car and the available features. They were evaluating, and just like the examples listed above, we are called to evaluate as well.
While judging has to deal with discernment, Passing Judgment is totally different. Passing Judgment is the assumption someone is guilty and we hold them to the verdict. Like a Judge who sentences someone for a crime they committed. This is an area that we don’t want to be in. We are not called to pass Judgement on others, to decide the fate of who is going where. We are called to forgive and forget, just as the Father has done for us and our sins. God is the one who knows the heart, who knows the verdict for His children. We are not the judge of this world, we have One Judge who can pass Judgment and He sits on a mighty throne. We need to make sure we steer clear from the passing of Judgement.
The Topic of Judging in Scripture
In Matthew 7:1, Jesus says we are not to judge others, or you too will be judged. Your footnotes should include the term, “Condemn.” To pronounce to be guilty; to sentence to punishment; to utter sentence against judicially; to doom; opposed to acquit or absolve; with to before the penalty.
This is a verse that is commonly taken out of context. Many people, both Christian and non, will use this verse as a personal Scriptural shield to prevent someone from giving wise counsel. No one likes the taste of Truth Juice, so they battle back. The verse has a single purpose and that is to be aware of condemning others. However, you’ll find that it’s more commonly used as a verse to open the eyes of the person giving counsel, making them think about what they said, as if they were in error.
This is not what Jesus meant. Jesus was warning us about the condemning others for their actions, or Passing Judgement on that person.
If we look a few verses further into the teachings of Jesus we will see that Jesus gives us another warning. In fact, Jesus gives us many warnings. All of which are meant for discernment. To know what is from God, and what isn’t.
In Matthew 7:6, Jesus states that we are not to cast our pearls before swines, lest they trample them. Jesus was explaining that the pearls are the Gospel and the swines are those who detest the Word, who stomp on it with their feet. It’s through the power of discernment we can conclude our direction with that person. By judging (evaluating) are able to tell who wants to receive the message of the Gospel and those who want no part of it. We are told to know the difference.
Another warning of discernment is when Jesus talks about false prophets in Matthew 7:15-20. If you study the New King James Version of the Bible, the title of the chapter is labeled, “You Will Know Them By Their Fruits.”
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
How are we to be aware of a false prophet if we are called not to judge? It’s because Jesus wasn’t referring to Passing Judgement, He was talking about discernment. Jesus even summarized the person being a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Someone who looks godly on the outside, but isn’t. Jesus states we will know them (false prophets) by their fruit. This means we need to discern what type of fruit a prophet has. Is it the Fruit of God, or is it the fruit of the world? We will know who is connected to the vine and who is not because the Bible gives us clear knowledge of what IS good fruit.
Through the power of the Word, we are given eyes to see and ears to hear, it’s from the gift of the Spirit we can judge which type of fruit a person has. These warnings are intended to save us. We need to be able to discern between what is of God, and what isn’t.
To show we are given the ability to discern or judge a situation, yet not pass judgement against someone. We find a verse in John which gives us a clear directive.
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
We need to make sure we understand the difference between judging righteously and passing Judgement. Otherwise, we can fall into a trap.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
2 Timothy 3:16 – Judging Righteously
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God
Romans 14:10 – Passing Judgement
I am sure we all have been a sounding board for someone, whether it’s a friend, loved one or maybe even a co-worker. The conversation can cover a multitude of topics, the most common of course would be work, family and children. As the conversation goes from surface level to deep meaning, trials are brought up. The person speaking shares about the hardships they are facing and the challenges which keep appearing in their walk. As you listen intently to the conversation unfolding, Bible verses start coming to mind and you find yourself thinking of parables or historic accounts which deal with the very topic.
NOTE: It’s not a coincidence that you are having a conversation. God has you connecting with this person for a reason. To point to the power of the Cross and share your belief about the One who stands beside us if we believe in Him. The One who endured a debt we could never pay, so we could be free from the bondage of this world.
Sharing our experiences is necessary even if the message deals with looking in the mirror. In all conversations, make sure your counsel is coming from a place of love. None of us live a perfect life, only Jesus did. We all fall short from the glory of God. If someone you know is facing hardships from being caught in the world, the best thing you can do is let them know. Don’t separate yourself, draw yourself closer and love on them. Let them know with a heart of love that Scripture calls us to walk in a certain way, otherwise we face unnecessary trials and hardships that draw us away from the blessings God has in store for us. Encourage them with Scripture and prayer, resting your hope in the Lord who will carry out His work in them.
Looking in the Mirror
For those receiving wise counsel, those who are facing a trial, the words can be hard to listen to. Ideally, we would like to believe the trials we endure are randomized and are part of God’s plan to strengthen our walk, which is all true, but there’s also the fact we bring trials into our life that could have been avoided if we didn’t act as the world does.
NOTE: Friends, more often than not, when I look at the trials before me I see my hand being involved. It’s hard to hear the reason I am facing a hardship is because I reacted instead of responded. Or, I walked in the way of the World, instead of taking the Narrow Path. It’s hard to hear but it’s important to recognize and deal with.
This was the case with a conversation I had with a brother in Christ. We talked about trials he was facing. With each stone being turned over, I recalled verses in Scripture that dealt with the same hardships and helped me seeing the error in my ways. I shared similar experiences in my walk, doors which were open that I did not see and allowed the world to creep in. To the point the enemy found a foot hold, a way to enter. The doors I thought were closed were actually open and causing full-scale problems.
If we are not immersed in the Word, seeking God’s will in our lives and asking Him to expose the world in our heart. We will be deceived. To the point that we will even question our brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Are they really my friends?
- They are not for me, they must be against me?
- Who are they to judge me?
These type of questions and are not rooted in the Kingdom, they are from another source. A source that seeks to pull us away from the Truth. Oh, how I pray we soften our hearts to accept wise counsel from others who see the Way of the Lord and share their experiences with us out of Love. To correct, to rebuke, to teach and instruct in righteousness.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
If we ask God, He will opens our eyes and our heart. This means, His message may come from a variety of ways, including from our own brothers and sisters in Christ. I have found God does extraordinary with ordinary. We could learn a lot, whether it’s someone in their prime or someone in their youth. God can speak to us through the message we receive at Church from our Pastors, through the study of scripture, through effectual and fervent prayer, through circumstances and even through the wise counsel of others. We just need to have ears to hear and eyes to see.
When God speaks we need to listen. Whether through others, or through His Word. God has given us the power to discern between what is righteous and what isn’t. Although hard to hear, the truth will set us free.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for the people you place in our lives. We thank You for the iron sharpening, for the brothers and sisters in Christ who You use as instruments to bring us closer to You. We ask for Your guidance in our walk and we ask that our hearts be soft, and our words be tender. We ask for clarity when it comes to discernment. To not be distracted with our will, but directed by Your Will. We thank You God for Your protection in our lives, for Your provision, for Your mercy and for Your grace. We thank You Father for Your sovereign Word and pray we accurately represent it. May we always be humble and serve others, pointing them to the Cross. All the praise and glory goes to You. In Jesus name, Amen.