Does The Bible Really Say We Shouldn’t Judge?

Which words of Jesus are perhaps the most widely taken out of context? “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” If we stop there, we miss his point. “ For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s or sister’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from his/her eye.” Matt. 7:1-6  . This is a warning about the standard to which we will be held when we judge the actions of fellow Christians. First we must take the big plank out of our own eye before we can remove the tiny speck from the eye of another. We see her/his speck and it dims in comparison to our plank. How can we take out a speck if we are blind to it? Of course, we must see it. Our focus and primary concern, however, should be the enormity of our own sin. Jesus is telling us how to judge, not forbidding it. He is condemning hypocritical judgment.

In Luke 17:3 Jesus says, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.” If we never judged, we’d obviously never have reason to forgive.  The adage “love the sinner, hate the sin” can be unhelpful not because the concept is flawed but because it is often used too flippantly. Do we Christians say that and truly hate our own sin? Or do we utter those words mostly pointing to the sins of others?  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Prov. 27:17  May we learn how to properly teach and admonish/ be taught and admonished in love!

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