Judging or Judge Not?
Q: How is it you can judge others when our Lord said that you should not judge, or you would be judged yourself?
A: This question is in reference to what our Lord YaHshua taught. Let us take a quick look at what He said --
(Mat 7:1) "Don't judge, so that you won't be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but don't consider the beam that is in your own eye?
As others have pointed out, the word judge, in these verses are more accurately translated as condemn. He would then be saying that you should not condemn others, after all, in the world of the flesh we judge things all day long, ourselves for one, and others and things and on and on. But to condemn is to pass a judgement so severe that it could lead to the upsetting and destruction of someone's life. Notice, it is not really about our making choices, whether among who we choose as friends or what to wear, it is really about ourselves. Before we condemn anyone we need to examine ourselves first. Notice also, we are not told not to condemn, only to make sure we are not guilty by the same rules we apply to those we would condemn. No matter the rule or rulers or law or laws we use, how do we stack up? It will be by this same measure, Jew or Gentile, we will be judged.
Our Lord YaHshua did establish by what measure He used, if at all.
(John 8:15) You judge according to the flesh. I judge no one.
(John 8:16) Even if I do judge, My judgment is true, for I am not alone, but I am with the FATHER who sent Me. It's also written in your law that the testimony of two people is valid.
First He says that He judges no one -- He means personally, He makes this clear in the very next verse. If He is to judge it is not by His own determination alone, His judging is with whatever the Father has determined to be right and just. And to remind those He is speaking to, Jews, mostly, that even in their law, the testimony has to be by two or more before a judgment can be passed. We need to keep in mind that at the time our Lord YaHshua was teaching among the people, the Old Covenant and the Law of the Jews was still in effect, it still had power, and much of our Lord YaHshua's teachings were made under this covering of the Law of Moses, as our Lord called it Himself -- Joshua 8:31 & Luke 24:44 -- The Law and the Covenant are not exactly the same -- one are rules to follow and the other is an agreement made. The Law of Moses was part of the Covenant made with Israel/Judah. For example, the Covenant made with Abram, later named Abraham, was a promise made between Abram and YaHWeH, it had nothing to do with Law of Moses, even though the Covenant made with Abram was extended to Isaac, his son, and again to the people of Israel. This Covenant was an agreement that whoever entered into it would have no other god besides YaHWeH, and in return the promise of becoming a great Nation, a people without number in the New World to come. The tendency of the religious leaders of the first century was to judge everyone by the Law, but not themselves. They, the leadership, especially the religious leadership, given themselves a pass while condemning other in their courts of the Law.
Enter the New Covenant, a covenant that is then renewed, back to the covenant made between YaHWeH and Abraham. To see this clearly we need to consider the following --
(Gal 3:16) Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He doesn't say, "To seeds," as of many, but as of one, "To your seed," which is the messiah.
(Gal 3:17) Now I say this. A covenant confirmed beforehand by the FATHER in the messiah, the law, which came four hundred thirty years after, does not annul, so as to make the promise of no effect.
(Gal 3:18) For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by promise.
(Gal 3:19) What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise has been made. It was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator.
(Gal 3:20) Now a mediator is not between one, but the FATHER is one.
(Gal 3:21) Is the law then against the promises of the FATHER ? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could make alive, most certainly righteousness would have been of the law.
(Gal 3:22) But the Scriptures imprisoned all things under sin, that the promise by faith in YaHshua the messiah might be given to those who believe.
(Gal 3:29) If you are the Messiah's, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to promise.
The New Covenant is going back to the Covenant made with Abraham, a Covenant Promise. Believe in the One He sent, accept the One He sent and you can come under this Covenant Promise, a promise of life eternal life in a sinless Kingdom to come. It is not a matter of Law but of Faith for we will all die in our sin, being of the flesh, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom to come.
After our Lord YaHshua's flesh and blood death on the Cross, we enter into the New Covenant. Of course, the matter of judging, not condemning but of judging and making judgments among those of the Faith. Still in the flesh the body of believers need to have disputes settled. Paul gives the following correction and understanding as he shames those in the Faith how they should not be taking one another to law before the courts of unbelievers.
(1Co 6:1) If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?
(1Co 6:2) Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?
(1Co 6:3) Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!
(1Co 6:4) Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!
(1Co 6:5) I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?
(1Co 6:6) But instead, one brother goes to law against another--and this in front of unbelievers!
(1Co 6:7) The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
(1Co 6:8) Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
Paul is teaching that it is better that we accept being wronged, if that is what we believe, if we truly feel we have been wronged by another brother or sister, that it is better if we accept this without going to court, if that is what it takes. In other words, if an issue between believers cannot be settled then one or the other, or even both in disagreement should be the better person and accept the insult of the wrong perceived and move on. Better to accept being wronged or cheated than to go to court, especially in front of non-believers. Yes, we can judge and are to judge, even if it is to judge being wrong or being wronged, seeking to live at peace with all men, whenever and wherever possible, but especially among fellow believers.
(Rom 12:17) Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men.
(Rom 12:18) If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men.
(Heb 12:14) Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification (holiness, purity) without which no man will see the Lord,
In other words, seeking to live at peace wth all men without resentment or finding fault, but in the purity of your own thoughts, not harboring ill will . Even if you are wronged, or feel you are, accept it and move on in and attitude of peace and, yes, love.
I once recieved correction for something I never did, I was innocent, but still punished. I vigorously objected. Then the one who punished me simply told me that the punishment, then, was not for the one time I was innocent but for all those times I was guilty and got away with it. How true that was and is, even to this day.
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