Stuff the Bible Doesn’t Say Part 3: “Don’t Judge”

If you’re on twitter, you’ve seen them.  Any play on “Stuff my Dad says”, “Stuff Nobody Says”, or even “Stuff Runners Say”.  How about “Stuff the Bible Doesn’t Say?”   Let’s be honest here, most Christians don’t spend time in the word. I’m not talking about listening to someone else tell them what it means, I mean actually reading, learning, and studying the word.  This isn’t meant as a guilt trip, but it is what it is.  Most polls show that less than 10% of professing Christians have read the entire Bible.  If you ever wondered how so much goofiness gets passed off in the name of Christianity, that would be a good place to start.  Where do the other 90% get their info from if not from the inspired/inerrant word of God?  Well, they either hear it from someone else, they make it up as they go along, or they defer to what they feel (The good old “quiver in the liver”.)   Over the next several posts, I’ll look at some of the most popular verses that simply do not say what people try to make them say.  In other words, “Stuff the Bible Doesn’t Say.”

“Sometimes the immature 
Christian suffers bitter disappointment not because 
God failed to keep His promises, but because well-meaning Christians made promises “for” God that 
God Himself never authorized.” – R.C. Sproul

With recent events and with the ever-increasing press of postmodernism, where the greatest sin is disagreement or a standard of absolute truth, I felt it important to do my little part in debunking the “Don’t Judge” mantra used even within the church.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” – Matthew 7:1

How it’s misused:

1. As a shield for sin.  “Who are you to judge me? Only God can judge me!”  This holds conviction at arm’s length and allows us to continue, uncorrected, in whatever sin we like.

2. As an implicit statement that no *external* standard can be held up as a measure against my behavior.  “You’re judging me! You’re so judgmental!” (Calling someone judgmental would be a judgement as well, but that’s another post altogether!)

But what does the verse say IN CONTEXT? (You knew I was going there)

Matthew 7 is part of the “Sermon on the Mount”.  Jesus had been laying out what this new Kingdom was all about and how those whom He was delivering the kingdom to were to live in light of the tremendous pronouncements made on them, declaring their justification (Matthew 5:2-15).  Jesus then lays out specifically what it means to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. Here he drops the hammer on hypocrisy, within earshot of the Pharisees:

[7:1] “Judge not, that you be not judged. [2] For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. [3] Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? [4] Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? [5] You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

(Matthew 7:1-5 ESV)

Is Jesus saying we should not judge sin?  Absolutely not! We are called throughout scripture to judge words/doctrines/deeds/spirits, etc. In fact, the very next verse in this passage of scripture (verse 6) is:

[6] “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
(Matthew 7:6 ESV)

Determining who the pigs are would require judgement!

[19] My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, [20] let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
(James 5:19-20 ESV)

[6:1] Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. [2] Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

(Galatians 6:1-2 ESV)

Judgement is helpful when a believer seeks to correct, in love, a fellow believer to save them from the destructive power of sin.

No, the judgement here we are to avoid is what the text specifically speaks of; hypocrisy.

 

Jesus has not forbidden all moral judgement or accountability.  Rather he forbids prideful or hypocritical judgement without reflecting on one’s own sin.  A look at the cross of Christ will remind us of our own sinful nature and cause us to live out of grace to deal graciously with those who are in sin.

I’ll close with one of the most beautiful passages of scripture and my prayer.  This passage remains a tremendous promise to believers.  This is the message of hope to those who believe, and for those that do not, we must share with them that Christ died for the very sins which we are addressing.

[5:1] Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. [2] Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [3] Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, [4] and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, [5] and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
[6] For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—[8] but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [9] Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. [10] For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. [11] More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
[12] Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—[13] for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. [14] Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
[15] But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. [16] And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. [17] For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
[18] Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. [19] For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. [20] Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, [21] so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Romans 5 ESV)

“If the activists of the world would be offended, let them be offended by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not my hypocrisy. May Jesus, the blessed  Cornerstone, be the only stumbling block, and not my flawed delivery.” – Marc5Solas