Catholic Theology Particulars — July 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm

What the Bible Actually Says about Judging Others

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I’m finding that more and more people are using phrases like ‘Don’t Judge Me’, ‘Judge not’, ‘Stop Judging and Love’, ‘Who am I to judge?’ or other similar ones these days. There is this mistaken idea today that judging is bad. This crowd would even dare say that it’s a teaching of Jesus that we shouldn’t judge each other.

The truth of the matter is that inasmuch as people say they don’t want to be judged or hear others being judged – what they are actually saying is that they don’t want to be held accountable for their actions. ‘Just accept my actions without holding me accountable for them’ is what they really want to say. Moreover, they don’t want to hear others judging others because they know eventually it will turn on them and, again, they don’t want to be held accountable.

Despite common misconceptions – true love actually does cares enough to care. True love does judge. True love is not apathetic. Love is not indifferent to sin. True love is not timid. True love does not allow sin to triumph over its object of love without a fight. True love doesn’t walk pass a person dying without trying to aid them. True love desires you to be in Heaven – not in Hell – and will sacrifice anything to get you there. Therefore, if you have people in your life who are not judging you, but are just letting you commit all types of immorality without telling you are wrong, and not encouraging you to do better, then what you have in your life are people who do not truly love you, or who do not know how to love you as they ought.

My best working definition of the type of judging that God permits is ‘telling others the truth about themselves’ – that’s it. We judge the ACTION, not the PERSON. Judging in love does not allow us to condemn or verbally abuse or tear anyone down. Judging in love is edifying – it’s the admonishment of our brothers and sisters that Saint Paul commanded us to do when he wrote, “We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all. See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good [both] for each other and for all” (1 Thess. 5:14-15). Therefore, I firmly believe that to not judge is to not love.

Here is what the sacred Scriptures actually have to say about judging others:

THE NEW TESTAMENT:

  • “Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly.” (John 7:24)
  • “Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” [Jesus] said to him, “You have judged rightly.”” (Luke 7:43)
  • “The spiritual person, however, can judge everything but is not subject to judgment* by anyone.” (1 Cor 2:15)
  • “Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world? If the world is to be judged by you, are you unqualified for the lowest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? Then why not everyday matters?” (1 Cor 6:2-3)
  • .
    MATTHEW 7:1-5 – most misquoted text {COMMENTS}
    “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. {Everyone will be judged by God. What this verse is saying is that if you don’t want others to judge you then don’t judge them. It doesn’t command you not to judge. See also Romans 2:1}

    For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? {You can’t judge others if you are also guilty of what you are judging them}.

    How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite {this is the audience here; a hypocrite is one not living what he is preaching}, remove the wooden beam from your eye first {the first person you want to judge is yourself and clean your own house first}; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. {now that your house is clean you can judge someone else’s house}

    JAMES 4:11-12 – SECOND most misquoted text {COMMENTS}
    Do not speak evil of one another, brothers. Whoever speaks evil of a brother or judges his brother speaks evil of the law and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save or to destroy. Who then are you to judge your neighbor? {Slander of a fellow Christian does not break just one commandment but makes mockery of the authority of law in general and therefore of God}

THE OLD TESTAMENT/HEBREW BIBLE:

  • “The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom; his tongue speaks what is right.” (Psalm 37:30)
  • “With my lips I recite all the judgments you have spoken.” (Psalm 119:13)
  • Open your mouth, judge justly, defend the needy and the poor!” (Proverbs 31:9)
  • EZEKIEL 33:1-9 – The Prophet as a Watchman
    The word of the LORD came to me:

    Son of man, speak to your people and tell them: When I bring the sword against a land, if the people of that land select one of their number as a watchman for them, and the watchman sees the sword coming against the land, he should blow the trumpet to warn the people.

    If they hear the trumpet but do not take the warning and a sword attacks and kills them, their blood will be on their own heads. They heard the trumpet blast but ignored the warning; their blood is on them. If they had heeded the warning, they could have escaped with their lives. If, however, the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the sword attacks and takes someone’s life, his life will be taken for his own sin, but I will hold the watchman responsible for his blood.

    You, son of man — I have appointed you as a watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear a word from my mouth, you must warn them for me. When I say to the wicked, “You wicked, you must die,” and you do not speak up to warn the wicked about their ways, they shall die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. If, however, you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, but they do not, then they shall die in their sins, but you shall save your life.


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Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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  • Kim Augustine

    David I wasn’t sure if I should post this but believe I should speak up. I really loved your article and shared it on facebook. I don’t know how, but one of the individuals below wrote the following, which appeared on my facebook page: So Kim, you’re keeping it in your arsenal to justify the way you look down on others. That’s great. Why not be judgmental of yourself? Encourage others instead of pointing out everything they do wrong, their faults, etc. This was unfortunately feels like a disrespect to my opinion and integrity on my page. I have not indicated the name, but I wanted to share this so that we can all to be mindful of our actions and words. I don’t even know the person, but they were so “offended” by opinion or beliefs that they chose to “correct” me by doing the very thing they accused me of. Be careful. Be blessed.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      Yes Kim. I recently converted the comment system from Facebook comments to Disqus and on the old system that person made those comments and were able to appear on your wall. I agree with you, that she was guilty of what she was trying to accuse you of. smh Thank you again!

  • mikemike0221

    I would have to totally disagree. What you are saying is that we should ignore and accept the wrong doings of others simply because we are all sinners. So when your child is caught stealing, you should accept that he is a thief, simply because you also sinned in your lifetime. Should you simply ignore your best judgement and marry a convicted murderer? The answer is no. As Mr. Gray points out, judgement must be passed on those that you love in order to turn them away from evil. That does not justify standing on a street corner and calling out the evils of all those who pass by.

  • Eileen Mechler

    Do the spiritual works of mercy ring a bell everyone?
    Admonish the sinner.
    Counsel the doubtful
    Instruct the ignorant
    All of these require some degree of judgment, with love.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      Exactly Eileen! Thank you!

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