14th November 2013
Judge not that you be not judged . .really?
"Judge not that you be not judged" is one of the most used but abused texts. It is easily understood yet confused; frequently quoted (ironically) against others but rejected personally. All this with disastrous results for church . . .and society.
The Master's meaning is plain: don't assume God's ultimate judgement and don't excuse yourselves from judgement. God alone can pass sentence (judge against) we cannot and shall not. That requires divine knowledge and grace.
Many Scriptures urge Christians to take up the work of judgement. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? This life is preparation for judging the angels. Jesus' followers are to judge each other where necessary. The Apostles did it frequently. Judging here means warning, not condemning, urging on, not dropping the curtain. It requires discernment and appreciation of the soul's value. But we have fallen in love with self and despised our souls.
We cringe from judging because we don't want judgement upon our own lives. How we need it! Take one area, sexuality. Ministers , leaders with their mistresses, having affairs ,divorcing so much so that we glibly ignore ‘their private lives' even when it is so public and repercussions so great.
Gossip is another. ‘Oh I don't mean to sound nasty, but...'. Or we might even nuance it in a prayer meeting! And out flows a spiel of judging in the wrong way. Yes we may have been hurt by a sister but there is a right way to judge.
We can't have high standards without judging. Impossible. We accept it in the world but reject it in the church and our private lives. How valuable those noble saints who from a heart that yearns for the best for you will speak a word that exposes to your conscience an inner duplicity, and helps you hear at last the sweet convicting counsel of Holy Spirit.
Os Guinness wrote in 2005, Ours then is a world in which ‘Thou shalt not judge' has become the new eleventh commandment, and tolerance the last undisputed virtue. Basically we want to be a law unto ourselves. It's the new pharisaism. But we have denied ourselves the blessings of sanctification to allow the Spirit wind to take us out across the thrilling unchartered seas of moral righteousness blowing direct from heaven yet breathed into otherwise helpless souls, redeemed by Christ's blood for the purpose of knowing an undreamed-of excellence.