“Judge me when you become perfect,” said one post on Facebook. It’s the mark of the generation today—they hate being corrected or judged. To them, nothing is really wrong with wrong things. They say each one has the right to do whatever he wants to do or live however he wants to live, and no one has the right to question them.
Even a lot of Christians agree with this. So what most churches have today are inspirational talks—unending talks about how God loves them and accepts them as they are. How God hates sin but not the sinner. How God cannot punish us because he is love. How God wants us to discover our purpose or how he wants to prosper us materially.
All that, but not preach against wickedness, sin or worldliness. “Do not judge!” they’d say.
Most preachers do not present the other side of God—how he is the Judge, and that he punishes those who remain unrepentant. And as Judge, God relegates a certain amount of judging to his servants—to us.
Paul said it all here:
Do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!…I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? [1 Corinthians 6.1-6]
Whether you like it or not, God gave all believers the job to judge.
When you share or teach the bible, often you have to distinguish between what’s good and what’s bad to your audience. In doing so, you have to judge. Judging is telling what is right from wrong. You show people what is right and what is wrong according to what God’s Word says. You cannot teach and preach the Word yet remain reluctant to tell people about rectitude and peccancy.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, [2 Timothy 3.16]
God says you must rebuke and correct if need be when using his Word.
Others would no doubt quote Matthew 7: “Do not judge.” This is an all-time favorite passage of those who hate being told about the wrong they are doing. In fact, this is the motto in most churches that hate judgment and crave praises from men.
But the same Jesus who said “Judge not,” also said “Make a right judgment,” [John 7.24]. The whole passage says, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
I love it in the NLT:
“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
Problem is, most Christians still take verses out of context to suit their lifestyles, desires and experiences. They insist on “Judge not” so they can do whatever they want and not be condemned. “You don’t know what I’m going through and why I’m like this!” they add.
But “Judge not that you may not be judged” should be taken in its context. Jesus wanted us to make sure we’re not guilty of the same sin we’re accusing others of. Or, any sin for that matter. The context says, after we make sure that we’re not guilty of sin—or have taken out the plank of wood from our own eyes, then we can remove the dust in our brother’s eye.
Simply put, make sure you’re clean. Then you can judge.
How do you clean yourself? Confess your sins and repent. Then you can be God’s prophetic instrument to warn people about sin and judge between right and wrong. But if you remain unrepentant, then shut your mouth. You have no business telling people what’s right and wrong. In this case, judge not, that you may not be judged.
And you should be repenting.
Remember, all God’s servant in the bible denounced sinners and their sins. From Abraham to Noah and Moses, to Samuel, to David to Jeremiah, Jonah and Malachi, just to name a few. Then from John the baptizer to Jesus and to the apostles. They all judged and denounced. So how can you say, “Don’t judge”?
I mean, just look at how Paul did it:
“…hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 5.5]
God’s Love is His Judgment
Many Christians and pastors do not understand that God’s love is his judgment, and vice versa. His judgments are instrumental to saving us. By them we see our error and sin and have opportunity to repent. By God’s judgments we can change. He judges because he loves, and we ought to do the same. We rebuke or judge because we love.
In fact, if we truly love God, we should love his judgments.
I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. [Psalm 199.75]
Here’s another one for you:
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. [Psalm 199.160]
And look at how this Psalmist loved God’s judgments:
Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments. [Psalm 119..164]
So, how can you hate judgment if you are a true believer? How can you say, “Don’t judge me”?
But there are judgmental people who know nothing about how to handle God’s judgment on people. They are not God’s servants—they are fault-finders. First, they don’t live holy lives. If you live a holy life, God would tell you how to administer a judgment, as he did with his prophets. In God’s prophetic move, there are proper ways to release judgment.
Second, they’re just happy to see you fall. They get a kick out of your downfall or failure. They love stepping on you. They love to blame people. You see them very good at speaking foul words. Prophetic judgment should be done with a redemptive heart, with God’s love inspiring you—so the guy would repent. You’re not happy to see him fall and drown in mire, but you have to do it—slap him wide awake, so to speak.
No, you don’t have to be always bombastic about it. Most times, all you have to say is, “That’s bad.” Or sometimes, your stare alone does the job. The Spirit’s anointing on you, your holy lifestyle and righteous testimony will back up your word or gesture. See how John the baptizer rebuked Herod? With a simply, “It’s not lawful for you to take your brother’s wife.” That’s it.
Remember how Jesus stared at Peter after he denied Jesus three times? The Lord didn’t have to say anything.
Most times your daily holy life will “rebuke” sinners who watch you. You need not say a word.
They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. [1 Peter 4.4]
When sinners persecute you, it means they feel the “rebuke” or “judgment” or “condemnation” of your holy (though quiet) daily life. Sinners are naturally offended when they see the real Jesus in a person. Count on it.
Third, fault-finders are arrogant and self-centered. True prophets of God are meek, selfless and simple. They are often low-profile and would rather be out of the limelight. You see them often standing or sitting in a far corner, inconspicuous but “present.”
It’s God himself who puts his prophets, instead, in the limelight when their service is needed. For instance, Elijah was not mentioned in the books prior to 1 Kings. Then suddenly he was introduced. And then suddenly he was taken away. Compared to the chapters devoted to the lives of King Saul and King David, Samuel’s was short and almost merely in passing.
Fourth, judgmental people always put themselves on a pedestal after finding fault with you.
Fifth and last, judgmental people are so narrow-minded.
Remember, to be an effective instrument in declaring God’s judgment:
The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away. [Isaiah 50. 4-5]