Does Matthew 7:1-2 tell me I should not judge the actions of others?

Floyd Rogers – Texas Gospel Volunteer, Christian writer

Matthew 7, 1-2 Do not judge, so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  

It could easily be argued that Matthew 7:12 is one of the most often misquoted New Testament verses. Judge not, so that you will not be judged. Doesn’t this mean we are never to judge? I can’t answer that question without knowing what you mean by judge. And the answer requires us to understand what Jesus meant by “judge.” I think the answer lies in the context in which Jesus made this statement.

Immediately after Jesus told us not to judge, he used a metaphor of removing a log from your own eye before looking at a spec in your neighbor’s eye. It seems to me he’s saying you are to judge, but you need to clean your own act up first. And there’s more. In Verse 15 & 16 he went on to say, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” Isn’t Jesus directly telling us to judge to judge the actions of the prophet. So, how do you reconcile this with the verses telling us not to judge?

I think it’s clear we are to judge the actions of others with one notable restriction. Notice I said judge the actions, not the individual. Only God knows a person’s heart. We can judge a person’s actions when they are contrary to God’s Word. We can see the chaos that surrounds a false prophet that signals they are not teaching God’s Word. Too be clear, when we tell a person they are doing something contrary to what we are told in scripture, they are judged by God’s Word, not by us. As for that notable restriction I mentioned earlier. We are not even to judge the actions of others when we have obvious sin in our lives. I say this because we are told to get rid of the log in our eye before looking for specs in the eyes of others.  

To wrap this all up, you can judge if you mean judging what a person’s actions by what God’s word says. But you are not the judge of them, that’s God’s place only. The scripture says, “for in the way you judge, you will be judged.” I’d rather be judged by God than by a human like me who cannot see a person’s heart. Is it not also true that you open yourself to judgement by others if you walk around with open sin in your own life while pointing fingers. What do you think that would do to your witness?

What are your thoughts about Judgement?

Also on the web:

John MacArthur: Judging Others: The Verse Pagans Love to Quote

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