Staff & Sling

Joseph E. Hébert, Ph.D.

98119 N 3745 Rd
Okemah, OK  74859
918 623 3078

Don't Judge Me

Have you ever noticed how often deception is the complete opposite of the Truth. Yes, deceit is often subtle, but it is surprising how often the Truth turns out to be, not just slightly different, not just a matter of some subtle distinction, but the diametric opposite of the deception.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah 5: 20

Take, for example, something we've all heard someone say, usually as an objection to observing their sinful behavior.

"Don't judge me! Judge not lest ye be judged!"

We know the verse they're trying to cite. It's found in Matthew's Gospel.

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Matthew 7: 1

But what does that verse really mean? Does it mean that we're not supposed to point out when others sin? Does it mean we're not supposed to make them feel uncomfortable? Does it mean we're supposed to leave them alone, or somehow help them to feel comfortable in their sin?

To quote the Apostle Paul addressing the church at Rome, "God forbid!" (Romans 6: 2a).

Like most deceptions, this one begins with a subtle distinction. "Judge" means "condemn," not "bear witness." If you are called into court to testify, you're a witness. You don't judge the case; that's the judge's job. Neither do you judge the facts; that's the jury's job. As a witness you give testimony of the Truth.

So when you observe someone engaging in sinful behavior, of course you should bear witness. We're called to be salt and light in this world. As salt, we are to stave off the effects of sin, both decadence and God's judgment. And as light, we are to make plain and visible God's Truth. We are to illuminate the dark corners and hidden places where Satan's deceptions are held.

So yes, when we see the sin of homosexuality or fornication or theft or covetousness or pride or ..., we absolutely should bear witness. This is not judging.

But it is not sufficient to simply say what this verse does not mean. It is an admonition to us, so we absolutely must know what it does mean.

The word "judge" means to condemn. Warning sinners is not condemning them. Did the Surgeon General condemn smokers?

But if we decide that they are so sinful as to deserve their fate, if we decide that they are beyond God's grace, then we do judge them. When we decide, for whatever reason, to abdicate our responsibility to them and to God, when we choose to withhold the Truth, we are literally condemning them to God's wrath.

And Matthew was quite plain about the consequences of such action. If we judge others as being unworthy of God's grace, of His Truth, then we too will be judged likewise, (See Matthew 7: 2).

So do you see? The Truth is once again the opposite of the deception. To warn sinners is not to judge them; failing to warn sinners is to judge them. Writing them off as a lost cause is judging them. And ours is a grave responsibility, so don't let our adversary, the Deceiver, convince you otherwise.

When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Ezekiel 3: 18

If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.

Charles Spurgeon

See Also: Judge Not