Judge Not

From the beginning of the church age the favorite verse of all Christendom has been John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. But, more recently, polls have been taken among Christians and a new favorite verse has risen to the top, Matt. 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”. After 2000 years, if this verse is the new number one, we need to look at it, and the churches that favor it, more closely.     Over the last few years most main-line denominations have struggled to keep their congregations from shrinking. If they are not losing them to the world, they are losing them to newer churches with modern views of Scripture. The result has been a competition for church-goers, not so much in concern for their souls, but for the Sunday head- count. The judge not philosophy comes out as,” We won’t pass judgment about this or that because it might offend someone. They’ll get angry and leave and we can’t afford it!” The current trend is to soft-peddle the “conviction stuff” and just make everyone feel good, with judge not becoming one of the new church doctrines.     Now let us look more closely at Matt. 7:1. In context, it is the first verse of five that deals with judging, verses 3-5 talking about the mote in your brother’s eye and the beam in your own eye. The major premise of verses 1-5 is for us not to judge others if we ourselves are guilty of the same thing. That kind of judgement stands on a different foundation than the “don’t judge at all” standard.     Scripture repeatedly calls for Christians to exercise discernment and judgment by perceiving the difference between good and bad fruit, recognizing wolves disguised as sheep, and separating oneself from disorderly behavior. Discerning and judging go hand in hand, but before we judge, we should all look first in a mirror. It takes a fully consecrated life to speak out against the sins of this world, and not wear the label, hypocrite.

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