Do we have a right to judge?
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matt. 7:1) It is clear that Jesus did not intend to forbid judgment of all kinds because he said in Jn. 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Has anyone every told you that you were wrong or made a mistake? This is judging. Can you imagine what the world would be like if no one judged anyone? We would have murderers, rapists, and many others who are in prison back out onto the street. Furthermore, it would not be wrong for someone to break into your house and it would be wrong to defend your house because that is judging another. Judgments issuing from civil courts, when not in violation of God’s higher laws, are to be accepted. (Rom. 12:1-ff) Now, the Bible tells that we are to prove all things (1 Thess. 5:21) and how can we prove all things if we cannot say what is right and what is wrong because calling something right or wrong is judging? Now, we know that as a tree is known by it fruit (Matt. 3:16-20), so do we judge of the character of men by their conduct. For, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” (1 Cor. 6:2) John an inspired apostle, judged an evil man in the church, Diotrophes (3 Jn. 9) Furthermore, Paul admonished Titus and said, “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” (Tit. 3:10, 11) Also, it is the duty of the church to withdraw from those who “walk disorderly” (2 Thess. 3:6-12) and this, of course, requires passing judgment upon the conduct and disposition, of the person, or persons, involved. (Rom. 16:17) Now, there are occasions when it is necessary, for the good of the brotherhood, to speak boldly and positively against men, women, and movements in the church which threatens the peace and purity of the church. The Bible teaches that we are to charge or command not to teach other doctrines or fables. (1 Tim. 1:3, 4) Also, the Bible commands that we fight the “good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1 Tim. 1:18-20) Furthermore, Paul said, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting (harping upon) about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (1 Tim. 6:3-5) Again the gospel calls out and judges Hymenaeus again publically as well as Philetus who erred from the gospel and taught profane and vain babblings and other ungodliness to overthrow the faith of some. (2 Tim. 2:15-18) Now, how is it possible not to judge another when the Bible clearly teaches to judge with righteous judgment? Furthermore, do we not read the book of Titus where it says, “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.” (Tit. 1:9-11) Now, to fail to do this righteous judging, when the Cause we love is attacked by those who would corrupt or destroy it, is to abandon his duty as a Christian and become treasonous to our trust. Paul positively declared that we “judge” them that are within: meaning within the church. (1 Cor. 5:12) This means that actions are required to make an appraisal of the character and conduct of those particularly involved. When Jesus said, “Judge not,” he forbade unkind, unjustified and improper censure resulting from hasty and superficial investigation, and without regard for the well-being of the person, or persons criticized. Jesus warned, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matt. 7:2) People who are kind and forgiving toward others usually experience tolerance from others themselves; those who are harsh, censorious and critical toward others find that others exhibit much the same disposition toward them. So, how can we keep those who seek to completely destroy our faith and the church out of our lives without righteous judgment? We can’t! Robert Notgrass