Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
This is a verse from the Bible that is often thrown about with great liberty! Rather than being used as it is presented by the Lord in this text, it seems to be used more as a shield against any form of questioning or examination.
Ironically, those who quote this verse the most seem to be the least capable of telling you just where it is in the Bible. They just know it’s in there…somewhere!
The word for “judge” in this verse is the Greek word krino. It is used 114 times in the New Testament alone. It does not only mean “judge”. It also means to distinguish; to decide; to investigate claims; to determine based on evidence; and to avenge.
Jesus uses this same word again in John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Here, our Lord tells us to investigate and come to a conclusion based upon evidence (what He calls “righteous judgment”). In other words, once you have the evidence of something being true, it is okay to actually say that it is true.
What is also ironic is that those who say “judge not, that ye be not judged” are in essence judging you. They do this by insinuating that you are wrong for daring to come to any conclusion whatsoever about anything they are doing. By saying (or insinuating) that you are wrong, they have themselves come to a judgmental conclusion; the very thing they say you shouldn’t do. They have judged!
Those who have nothing to hide don’t mind being legitimately questioned because they will usually have some form of evidence to back them up. They in turn also tend to judge others based upon evidence rather than appearances only.
When people try to deflect by using the text of Matthew 7:1, realize that it’s probably because they just don’t want to be held accountable for something. Those who don’t want to be legitimately questioned (judged) actually tend to judge others based on appearances because appearances are all they have. They do not always seem to realize that the very same text that they use to deflect questioning, also says they will be judged in the same way they judge others.
Examples of the proper use of Biblical judgment:
- John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. – It’s okay to make proper judgments about others, just make sure it’s with proper evidence and proper cause.
- Matthew 7:1-2 Judge not, that ye be not judged. (2) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. – Before making a judgment on someone, ask yourself, “Would I want someone making this kind of judgment about me?”. The answer to that question should guide how you proceed; whether you will continue to examine and judge or abandon the idea.
- 1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. – We are encouraged to learn and make informed decisions (proper judgments) based upon what we are told.
- 1 Corinthians 10:29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? – Once we are sure we have made proper judgments based on evidence, we are encouraged to stand upon our own conclusions (judgments). Just because someone thinks we are doing wrong provides no proof that we actually are doing wrong.
- “A guilty conscience needs a good memory. An innocent conscience needs only to repeat the truth”
These are just a few of the 114 examples of what Biblical judgment looks like. Once you realize the proper use of Biblical judgment, it sets you free to make proper judgments without allowing people to shame you as if you’ve done something wrong.
The next time someone tries to break out Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged, just ask them, “Can you tell me where that verse is located in the Bible?”. You’ll quickly see what their real intentions are!
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