How do we judge?

by Ron and Nathele Graham

Many issues face Christians today and if we aren't solidly grounded in God's word these issues can cause us to question right and wrong. Our government and entertainment industry both choose to condone things that are sin in the sight of God. The Christian who doesn't study the Bible and apply it to life may believe these worldly people over God's eternal word. If a Christian takes offense at the filth and sin embraced by much of the world we are called "holier than thou" and mocked. If we take a stand for God's truth we are accused of being judgmental, and even if our accusers don't know any other Scripture they throw out "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Matthew 7:1. Those who live according to worldly standards seem to think a Christian should accept everything without "judging", but is that what Jesus meant when He said "judge not"? Absolutely not. Later in this same passage of Scripture He says "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Matthew 7:15-16. Unless we use judgment how can we "beware" of anything?

Scripture is our guide in judging actions; it is God's direction for our life, not human ideas. "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." John 7:24.The Greek word for judge is "krino". According to Vine's Expository Dictionary, in this verse it means "to form an opinion". This is what Jesus meant when He said "judge with righteous judgment". We are to form our opinions based upon righteous judgments, and a Christian's righteousness comes from Jesus. The unbiblical actions of individuals need to be discerned and turned away from. In Matthew 7:1 above, this same Greek word is used, but the context means "to assume the office of a judge". Assuming the office of a judge and condemning a person based upon human terms is very different than forming an opinion based on God's word. In the Christian community today it seems that we are so worried about not "condemning" that we forget to "judge with righteous judgment". If we look at the world through the lens of the Bible we can navigate our lives on earth much more responsibly and judge with righteous judgment.

"Thou shalt not kill" Exodus 20:13. This is translated from the Hebrew word "ratsach" and refers to a premeditated act, such as abortion. News headlines are filled with the horrors of suicide bombings, school shootings, and terrorist attacks. We shake our heads and wonder how people can be so cruel. Yet we seem to accept abortion as no big deal. In judging this deplorable act we need to use all the righteous judgment we have available to us through Jesus Christ. Life begins at the moment of conception, but God knew that little person long before that moment. "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Jeremiah 1:5. God said this to Jeremiah. Before Jeremiah was conceived in his mother's womb God knew him and knew he would be a prophet. What wonders does God know about your child? Scripture tells us that God knew that child before conception. "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." Psalm 127:3. If you are a doctor who performs an abortion or a mother who wants to have an abortion, or has already had one, remember that God is willing to forgive. There is no sin you can commit that He won't forgive if you earnestly repent. In judging this act, Christians must remember not to assume the office of judge, that is God's place not ours. It is our place to guide those who have participated in this sin to find forgiveness through Jesus. Don't condone this act or be a part of it. Your firm stance on God's word just may help to save a child's life and also bring the mother to understand the love and forgiveness that comes from truly repenting and turning to Jesus.

A closely related evil is fornication. Basically, fornication is any sexual act outside of a one man/one woman marriage. The relationship between a husband and wife was instituted in the Garden of Eden and is used as a model of the relationship between Christ and His ekklesia (the called out Body of Christ). "And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:23-24. Today the entertainment industry sees nothing wrong with casual sexual relations; movies and music make it seem acceptable. Even public schools teach children about this, but instead of teaching abstinence they teach children that it is acceptable for them to do whatever they want. I know a sex education teacher who had no problem teaching children government approved materials, but when her daughter was to take the class the girl was taken out of public school and homeschooled. It seems it was fine for the mother to teach other children this ungodly material, but she would not allow her own daughter to learn it. God's word teaches us that sexual relations are only to be within a marriage. Because this beautiful relationship between a husband and wife has been perverted by humans we have many forms of sexually transmitted disease and children who are conceived then aborted. Many who claim to be Christians participate in fornication and seem to see nothing wrong in it. God's word tells us otherwise. "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Hebrews 13:4. Note that "God will judge". When a woman was caught in adultery and brought before Christ for condemnation, our Lord showed love and forgiveness. The accusers became the accused and left without stoning the woman. Jesus told the woman to go her way but stop participating in this sin. Instead of judging and condemning these deplorable acts, Christians are to help someone out of their sin and into a relationship with Christ. If you claim to be a Christian and are among the "whoremongers and adulterers", ask God to forgive you, then stop the sin. Don't accept fornication as just the way of life. Judge the sinful act, but lead the participant away from sin and to Christ.

Our government also condones homosexuality, which is an abomination to God. No matter how hard they try to make it seem "normal" it is not. "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: Leviticus 18:22-24. God judges nations because of homosexuality and all sexual perversions. This is not an obscure passage of Scripture, but a truth seen throughout the entirety of Scripture. "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet." Romans 1:24-27. Too many professing Christians say that society has changed and they consider these verses to be obsolete. Scripture says "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8. In other words, Jesus never changes and He never changes His mind about how these scripture verses are to be interpreted even by our current generation. As with all sin, it is God who judges and punishes, but we are to base our judgment on Scripture and not condone or participate in this lifestyle.

There is much wickedness in the world. Wickedness and evil is all promoted by Satan and designed to turn people away from God. Music and movies are huge promoters of wickedness. The lyrics to many songs promote Satanic rituals and sinful acts.  Many movies are made that are designed to invoke sympathy for the bad guy, making evil seem good. Christians don't want to be accused of being closed minded or judgmental, but our silence screams approval. "Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house." Proverbs 17:13. It is not judging to turn off the TV or to turn off music that promotes evil. There are many young people raised in Christian homes who are rebelling and the parents cannot understand why. Yet, those same parents have called evil good by not standing against wickedness by allowing songs and movies into their home. "He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD." Proverbs 17:15. If you don't use righteous judgment to recognize wickedness you are no different than a person who mocks God's truth. "The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness." Proverbs 15:9. Let God judge wickedness, but use His word to pursue righteousness.

Do you take God's word seriously? If you do then you will always stand up for our Savior and Lord. It won't matter if people condemn your biblical stance and call you judgmental. God's truth is the only measuring line for our lives and nothing else should matter. Using Scriptures as a guide for what is acceptable behavior is not condemning anyone for their actions, but it is forming a godly opinion. As Christians we should feel compelled to share God's ways with others and bring them to a relationship with Christ as their Savior. Be careful, though. You need to be sure to get the beam out of your own eye before pointing out another person's sin. "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." Matthew 7:2-5. As you search Scripture to find how to judge evil and good, you need to apply it to your own life. Be sure that when you look in a mirror you see Christ reflected there. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Timothy 3:16-17. We all fall short of perfection and we all need to study Scripture and correct our own sin. Then we will be better able to help others out of their sin.

As the world draws closer to the final days, evil will increase and grow stronger. Don't be afraid to judge, or form an opinion about, what God says is sin and stand against it. Many people would rather live in darkness than come out into the light. "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them," 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. If someone accuses you of being "holier than thou", smile and take the compliment. If you stand firm on God's word the mockers will have been made aware of their wrongdoing. Take every opportunity to share the Gospel with others. Tell them of God's love and forgiveness. You may just open the way for a lost soul to avoid God's final and eternal judgment.

Used with permission

www.straitandnarrowministry.com