By Pastor Macho DeMesa Barroga
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye?”
Many people feel judged by others. But sometimes, they too unknowingly judge in return. In the passage, it is said that you must not judge. But in other instances in the Bible, you are asked to judge. What should you do? John 7:24 tells of a time when Jesus was teaching in the temple and He was being criticized by people because He healed during the Sabbath. He says, “Do not judge according to appearance but judge with righteous judgement.” This sentence is contradicting. But it just means that there is a right way and a wrong way to judge. Judge with righteous judgement. Is it in your place to judge or not? At one point, even the disciples mentioned that you should judge. When Peter and John were in front of the sanhedrin, speaking boldly of Jesus and the gospel, they were reprimanded for doing so. Acts 4:19 says “But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.” You need to understand the right and wrong way of judging. In this verse, the people were asked to judge. Is this man’s word or God’s word? In 1Corinthians 6:2, Paul says that you have the ability to judge too, in little things, most especially. You can stand in the middle of it and judge. It says, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” In 1Corinthians 5:3, Paul judged too. There was a time in the church when sexual immorality was rampant. It says, “For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.” He might not have been physically present but he was there in spirit and they have already been judged. Paul even had a prayer about judgement in Philippians 1:9 saying, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.” While it says do not judge in Matthew 7, so many instances in the Bible say that you may judge. This just shows that there is a right and wrong way of judging.
How will you know the difference? Luke 12:56-57 says, “Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time? Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right?” The word discern and judge are used interchangeably in this verse. Discernment is the ability to judge with the help of the Holy Spirit. But the word judge has many definitions - to form an opinion or estimation after careful consideration or to pass sentence or condemn. Right judging is discernment. Wrong judging is condemnation. This is proved in scriptures. Romans 14:10 says, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Condemnation makes a brother stumble. This is what you are not supposed to do. James 4:11 tells of the same. It says, “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.” Are you a judge? You are doers of the law. Jesus Christ is the law. If He is in your heart, the law is written in your heart. What is the law? Love, understanding and compassion; not anger and judgement. Matthew 5:22 says, “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” When you judge somebody, you say things that you are not supposed to say. You declare something over a person and that is almost the same as cursing him. Until a person is alive, he has hope. It is very important to be careful of the words coming out of your mouth especially if you are believers of Jesus Christ because He is inside of you.
It is very clear in the previous scriptures that you were not asked to stop judging. You are asked to be careful in doing so because you will be judged accordingly. Romans 2:1-3 says, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?” Do not be a hypocrite. If you are doing the same thing, stop judging others. Fix yourself first before you do because you cannot avoid the judgement of God in the last days. James 2:12-13 says, “So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Mercy, compassion and love surpass judgement. It is still the best way. Find out the root problem. You can never go wrong with love. It is a fruit of the spirit. Anybody who has the fruit of the spirit has love. And love always triumphs over judgement.
Having read all of these scripture and knowing that there is a right and wrong way of judging, you have to balance the spectrum. There are still cases wherein you have to pass a condemning sentence. As mentioned in 1Corinthians 5, there will be cases wherein you need to “throw him over to satan.” Why? So that they can think and change. If you are a born again believer and are walking in the flesh, you have to understand where the flesh is coming from. You are made from dust. And the serpent was cursed to eat dust. So if you are walking in the flesh, the enemy is eating you alive. Until you do not get out of there, you will be eaten. You have to walk in the spirit. 1 Timothy 1:20 says. “Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.” When you throw people to satan, it is not harsh. Sometimes, you have to let people be in order for them to learn their lesson. The right way of judging is through the discernment of the spirit. You can keep on praying but until the person is ready to change, nothing will happen. And when you stop praying, that is when change happens. It is very important to be able to discern people that the flock is entrusted to. You have to be sure that you really heard from God.
Stop being a hypocrite. Make sure that you are walking the straight path before you judge others. Make sure you are listening to God. Make sure you are not walking in the flesh. For if you are corrupt yourself, you cannot and will never produce good fruit. (Luke 6:43-44) Your reputation is built upon who you are and not who you correct.
Matthew 7:6 says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” This is where discernment comes in. God gave talents to everybody. Do not throw pearls to the pigs. If there is somebody who does not want to change and you are stuck with that person, while on the other hand there is also somebody who needs to hear the truth, you have to realize that the former may be sent by the enemy so that you cannot achieve your purpose of sharing to the ones who need to hear God the most. Do not let them become stumbling blocks. So many people need to hear the truth. Share with them. Discernment is very important especially in ministry. If something is not bad, it does not mean that it is good. The enemy will not give you something bad because he knows you will back out of it. He will give you something that is just right for you to get stuck to it. If you cannot discern that, it will prevent you from your true calling, your real purpose, and your ultimate destination.