In the last few weeks there has been a lot of talk about whether or not the President of the United States is right in wanting to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. We hear it on the television news, seemingly endless debates addressing the pros and cons. The radio news broadcasts it, newspapers are doused with the subject, it’s all over social media, and everyone has an opinion. But whose opinion is right and whose is wrong?
Recently, I read a meme on Facebook, posted by a friend in favor of building the wall. Within minutes someone else commented on the post in all caps: “WHAT DID GOD SAY ABOUT JUDGING”. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t post a comment, I usually choose to stay out of these types of conversations; finding that it most often causes more harm than good. In my opinion (and I’m allowed to have one here because this is my blog), many people use Facebook as an “opinion promotion tool.” Most often, getting into Facebook arguments does not change people’s minds and it’s more apt to invite discord than harmony.
But, back to judging.
As Christians, are we, or are we not, supposed to judge? I’ve heard a lot of controversy on this subject. First, let me offer some scriptures concerning judging:
John 7:24 “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Proverbs 31:9 “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
1 Corinthians 2:15 “The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself judged by no one.”
1 John 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Matthew 7:1-2 ““Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”
2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
It is dangerous to interpret one or two scripture passages without first looking at the context in which they are being written. For instance, in Matthew 7: 1-5, Jesus wasn’t saying “Don’t judge ever.” No, he was telling the Pharisees, who he himself said were hypocrites, the Pharisees who loved to catch others breaking the law: “tend to your own sins first, and then you’ll be in a better condition to address someone else’s.” Jesus is telling us not to judge others in a hypocritical way.
I’ve heard many Christians say, “It’s not my job to judge.” I pose this question, What would happen if we all had that mind set and agreed to stop judging each other completely?
Presidents and leaders would have to be elected at random, since it wouldn’t be right for us to judge their characters as to whether or not they would be good, qualified leaders. The same would hold true for Pastors, Elders, and Deacons in our churches. What about our children’s teachers? Or schools? We can no longer make a judgment as to whether it is a healthy and educational environment for them.
What about marriage? It’s not right for me to judge this person’s character so I’ll just have to take a chance. (?) Our children could easily get in with a dangerously influential crowd. After all, they aren’t supposed to judge who/what’s okay and anymore than we are. Child molesters; criminals would go free because we can’t judge whether their actions are right or wrong.
Clearly, that would be disastrous. Christians should judge, for our good and the good of others. There is no other way to make good decisions and avoid falling into sin. By judging we can help others to avoid sin as well. Remember your mother saying to you, “if your friend jumped off a cliff would you jump too?” Well I say, “would you even let your friend jump if you could help him/her?” Or would you judge the situation and determine, “this is dangerous” and do something to stop them!?”
God gave us discernment. We need to judge what is right and what is wrong.” We need to be able to make wise decisions concerning ourselves, our friends, and our families. As Christians, we should wisely judge. Our walk with God, our lives, depend on it.
I am not saying we should judge whether or not we are better than others or go around pointing out others’ sins. But we do need to judge the difference between right and wrong and act accordingly in love. It is important to know the difference between the judging mentioned in Matthew 7:2-5 and the righteous kind of judgment that comes with discernment in John 7:24. James 4a “Do not speak evil against one another.” Romans 14:1 “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.”
Come Lord Jesus. Come. Our ultimate goal is repentance. It’s the first thing John the Baptist (Jesus’ forerunner) talked about. Christians are called to judge sin, but always with the goal of repentance and reconciliation to God.