Last night I had the wonderful privilege in preaching Matthew 7:1-6. The following is my sermon transcript:
Judging Hypocritical Judging
Jesus now turns our attention from having negative attitude that we have ourselves, namely worrying about temporal needs in life, to having negative attitude that we have of others, namely judging hypocritically. All that is to say, we need to understand our text in light of its context. I say this because I know of no other Bible passage that has been more misunderstood, misapplied, and abused than here in Matthew 7, verse 1. There are many people who never owned a Bible, read the Bible nor know the Bible but they can sure quote this verse when they want to escape from confrontations. Hence it is my intention to help you to understand our text so that we would rightly understand and apply this portion of Scripture for the glory of God.
Jesus begins in verse 1 with an imperative: Do not judge so that you will not be judged. Before we go on, we need to clearly understand what Jesus is not saying or commanding here. This is one of those passages in the Bible that requires more time to explain what something does not mean than what it does mean. So let me tackle perhaps the most common fallacy of all, namely that judging is wrong.
How many times have you heard this? And how many times have you heard people say, “Don’t judge me! Who are you to judge me?!” Instead of feeling intimidated, defeated, or backing away from what you originally intended to do with this individual, quickly help this person to realize that such statement itself is a form of judging. To say “Don’t judge me, who are you to judge me?” is already a judgment call. And many people who talk like that don’t even realize that such a statement is self-refuting statement. So you can calmly reply to that person by saying, “If judging is wrong, then why are you judging me by saying ‘don’t judge me’?”
Here, we need to answer this very important question: is judging always wrong? If you’re answer is yes, then I would submit to you that you don’t know your Bible. If judging is always wrong, then we should all abolish laws, lawyers, courts, and judges; and such a notion is ludicrous. Just to refute someone who thinks that judging is always wrong, I would quickly point out from a logical standpoint that he is wrong because he too is making a judgment call by saying that all judging is wrong, including his.
Furthermore, what do you do with Bible passages like Deuteronomy 1:16, which says, “Then I charged your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your fellow countrymen, and judge righteously between a man and his fellow countryman, or the alien who is with him”? And what do you do with Proverbs 31:9 that states, “Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy”?
Moreover, if judging is wrong then did Jesus sin by commanding in John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment”? All those passages of Scripture simply disprove the notion that not all judgment or any judging is wrong. In fact, Jesus even commands us to judge righteously.
Because not all judging is wrong, a passage like Romans 16:17 makes sense, which says, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.” The Greek word for “keep your eye on those” is skopeo, which we get words like scope. Hence Paul urges the church to scope-out or watch out or pay attention to individuals who are guilty of causing divisions and stumbling the church. In KJV, it says to “mark them.” This verse would not make sense if all or any type of judging is wrong.
Due to time, one more passage: 1 John 4:1, which says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” How are we to test who are false prophets if we don’t make some form of a judgment? So is all judging or any judging wrong? Answer? Absolutely not!
[stay tune for the remainder]