This phrase has fast become a cliché—even individuals who will never lift a finger to attempt to live by the holy scriptures quote this portion by default. It is often used to shut up any effort to lead from the way of destruction to Life.
Truly, scripture could be quoted to one’s damnation, particularly when it is misrepresented. The sleek serpent notoriously uses this means to arrest and seal his captives in deceits. Shocked that the devil deceives using the Holy Scriptures? Yes Sir! We find that the last age strategy of deceit as prophesied in Matthew 24:24, would be by men anointed to preach from the Holy Scriptures but a twisted and perverted version of it, and MANY, not few would be cart away through this sly stealth.
Recall how he tempted Christ by misrepresentation and misappropriation of scriptures. It took a revealed understanding of scripture for Christ to overcome such a twisted misappropriation.
Now, what did Christ mean when he muttered these words:
1. Judge not, that ye be not judged.—Matthew 7:1-2
2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again
Just as it is with any scriptures, the overall context should be considered and not just a phrase taken in isolation. To know the mind of our Master when he said this, we should read further to the verse where he picked up a different thought line, which in this case would be until verse 5.
1. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.—Matthew 7:1-5 NIV
2. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
4. How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
5. You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Jesus implies that there is a need for you to be responsible for taking out the speck in your brother’s eye, but you would be unable to do that or you will be a hypocrite if you have not taken care of the “plank” in your own eye. In essence, you have no right to judge anyone in a sin that you are yourself caught up in. But what if you have been delivered from such shortfall or deceit, that is you have first taken the plank out of your own eyes? You then can now see clearly, and it becomes your responsibility to remove the speck from your brothers’! In other words, a blind man cannot help another blind man. Get your own vision fixed first then you can see clearly to judge “Righteous Judgement”.
To further buttress this, consider the adulterous woman who was brought to Christ for stoning. Jesus gave the right to any man who isn’t caught up in the same sin to take up the stone and feel free to cast them at her. Every single person standing there were “judging her un-righteously” because they weren’t free of similar sin. As the scripture said, they were each “convicted by their own conscience”. They individually still had beams in their eyes hence they are not fit to remove the speck in the woman’s eye. If they were free, if they had been saved, they wouldn’t be judging her un-righteously if they told her to desist from such act! The only person who had a right to judge her there was Christ—and he did. How? Her judgment was: ‘’Go and sin no more!” (John 8:11). Jesus judged her but didn’t condemn her as they wanted to do.
Judging Is Not Necessarily Condemning
Judging a person precedes condemnation. Judgment means setting things right. No one has the right to condemn anyone while they still live. The Lord Jesus said He hasn’t come to condemn (John 3:17), but He sure says He came into the world for judgment! (John 9:39-41).
39. Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”—John 9:39-41 NIV
40. Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
41. Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.’’—John 7:24
Jesus commands us to judge righteous judgment, indicating that there is unrighteous judgment. The one he referenced in Matthew 7:1 is unrighteous judgment and you bring similar condemnation on yourself when practicing that. However, when you judge righteously, pulling out of the fire, this is a show of Love—and this sort of Judgement must begin at the house of God. 1 Peter 4:17.
And we will be ready to punish (judge) every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.—2 Corinthians 10:6 NIV
As an example, “A fornicator who was able to prevent herself from getting pregnant rises up to speak against someone who got pregnant out of wedlock”—such is the judgment Christ talked about. Except you have repented and have turned from such ways, whatever you say to that person is an unrighteous judgment; for with what measure you judged that person, you will also be judged.
1. You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.—Romans 2:1-2 NIV
2. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.
If the log in my eye has been removed by revelation to see the monotheism of God, and I find someone with a speck in their eye who still peddles polytheistic gods, separating the various dispensational offices of God into separate personalities; It is necessary for me to step in to help take the speck out because, I can now see clearly to do this.
If you have been delivered from deceit, it then isn’t hypocritical of you to snatch others from such errors in Love. Speaking the truth in Love, not for the sake of condemning but for the sake of snatching from fire through righteous Judgement. There are times when a “pat” is employed to do this, and other times you may need to “scream”, in both cases however, the objective remains to save some. Jude puts it well here:
22. And of some have compassion, making a difference:—Jude 1:22-23
23. And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Therefore, the next time someone tells you “if you don’t repent from falsehood, you will die in your sin and hell awaits”, he is not judging un-righteously, particularly if his eyes have been opened to the Truth, rather he is speaking the Truth in Love. He could have passed by and said nothing, watching you on the wrong path, rather he expresses Love by shouting the truth to you. He hasn’t said “go to hell’’, which is “condemnation”, rather he shows you by Love that such and such that you believe today is the highway to hell. Judging righteous judgment is a show of Love.
Just as Lot tried showing much Love to the Sodomite. He rightly called their ongoing act of perversion wickedness. – “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing” and what was their response to this correction, exactly what the people call it today- “This one fellow came here to sojourn and now he is playing the Judge” – Gen 19:9. Didn’t our Lord tell us this day will be exactly like those of Lot? its the same mindset and hence similar destruction of fire awaits the World.
This will be a good way to end this:
If after the log in your eye has been removed, and you can now see clearly, you should go out there and judge righteously in Love because if you don’t, God has a word for you below:
16. And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,—Ezekiel 3:16-19
17. Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
18. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
19. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.