Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. John 7:24
This verse from the book of John clearly indicates there is such a thing as righteous judgment. Often we hear remarks made such as “judge not lest you be judged, or “take the own mote out of your eye first.” These remarks come from good well-meaning individuals who are loosely quoting scripture often out of biblical context, not always regarding proper circumstances and intent Jesus had for judging with righteous judgment.
Righteous judgment does not take into account appearance or assumed motives but relies solely upon the standard and truth of God’s Holy Scriptures. Paul ascertains in the letter to the Thessalonians that as Christians we are, using God’s measurement, to prove that which is true and upright. This proving magnifies those things or situations that are not holy in God’s sight. This clear distinction allows us to turn away from those people and things surrounding us which are judged unrighteous in God’s eyes, not our eyes, and turn toward that which is proven holy. This proving requires discernment and judgment and does not rely upon the opinion of man.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21
This righteous judgment is laid upon all things. The starting point for any judging is within oneself first. No man is qualified or called by God to look upon the interests and dealings of another individual unless his own house is in biblical order first and in conjunction with the walls of self-control surrounding him solidly in place as well. Putting his dwelling in order first removes any mote in his own eye, perfecting and clearing his vision about himself. It is looking in the mirror and digesting our own reflection against the holiness of a righteous God, contrasting unrighteousness. Doing this self-reflection will cause warts, moles, freckles leprous lesions and any hidden sins on the inside, to burst clearly noticeable to others and likely to ourselves as well in God’s perfect timing.
Sometimes our overwhelming sin lurks about in our midst so slyly that we alone cannot discern it from our vantage point. Loving brothers or sisters need to step up and shine the light of His Word for us to see our situation more clearly without adding any contention or strife among brethren.
“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” 1 Corinthians 2:15
If each person who professes Christ as the Lord of their life would take into account their own spiritual health and pulse, studying and praying steadfastly for holy maintenance and repairs needed in their own circumstances, there would be more spiritually sound, strong, Joyful, humble Christians walking in contrast to the darkness in our midst and less finger pointing towards others around us.
Unrighteous judgment of others God condemns. This kind of judgment is hastily pointing fingers in prideful criticism and reproach, and daunting spiritual attacks; serving no purpose other than to dishearten others and giving no glory to God.
Judge not, that ye be not judged. 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? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam 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 7:1-5
This is not a command forbidding judgment of another but against wrongful judgment of others. Every believer has a duty, out of love, to consider the fruits of others who are in their spiritual family, especially those who are teaching others. The Bible tells us we can know others by their fruits or by their lack of fruit thereof. It is wrong, however, to come to pointed conclusions about another individual through man’s imperfect reasoning. The righteous judgment and spiritual approach God modeled throughput scripture is necessary in approaching a brother or sister who needs reproach according to the standards God has set forth. God’s righteous judgment is based upon His love and perfect holiness.
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? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Luke 18:9-14
We cannot judge the heart or motives of another individual only by their outward actions and fruit, or lack thereof. Jesus looks straight through all the outer paraphernalia and adornment and cuts straight to the heart of the issue, a spiritual chink or fissure of the heart.
We who profess to be Christians must always remember the pit from which we came. How we dug and clawed at the sides of the pit, unable to lift ourselves out of the miry mess we were sprawling amongst. Remember Lazarus who was bound and stinking horrendously after being dead already four days? Jesus loosed him and let him go but the odor lingered until those friends around him
And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. John 11:44
Christians today must help remove the stinking clothes from our fellow brothers and sisters who are new born babes in Christ. Therefore, test, examine, discern and Judge between good and evil according to His scripture and the spiritual strength and discernment Christ has given us.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:14
Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. John 8:15
Judge others not according to our quickly stirred up emotions, feelings, fleshly passions or in anger, coming to a hasty assumption without sufficient facts or information to form a solid conclusion. The hidden things of a man only Christ can see and ascertain.
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. Proverbs 18:13
We must know the Word of God and have it buried within our heart to function Christ-like and spiritually in this world of darkness and evil deeds.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
And we must understand how to use scripture as Christ intended as we sojourn here on earth.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16
These were more nOBle than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. Romans 2:1-2
YOU are a walking advertisement for and against the Lord. We must be spirit controlled. Christ like. There is true spiritual minded wisdom that comes from Christ.
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11
Passion for God’s Word must be tempered by and guided by Love. This is the responsibility of the children of God. We are called to be ye separate or not walk along with those who are living worldly to do so we must make a judgment that is set apart from those that live in the world and any who might compromise or weaken God’s Word.
There are different forms of judgment in the world today. Judgments against immorality, truth verses error, holy living verses unholy living, but only one true standard or measurement which is the Word of God.
For Further Contemplation:
What basis do you use in formulating your opinions and judgment of others? Is it founded upon the holiness of God and His Word?