Provocative Bible Verses: Judge Not Lest You Be Judged

201 comments

  1. This is such an important passage to understand. I’ve heard some people refer to this verse as the “John 3:16” for non-believers, or those in a backslidden state. Paul also shows us that we are to judge sin. 1 Corinthians tells us the story of a man sleeping with his stepmother, and how the church should have removed him from the local body so that the man would repent and be restored. Great post, Dan.

  2. Very good message. I use “judge” as something I try never to do and “discern” as something I try always to do.

  3. Who are you to post such a definitive and potentially judgmental essay, Dan? Just kidding! Well said, and I, too have heard this verse used many, many times in ridiculous ways, often contributing to what some have called “the tyranny of the weaker brother.” But that’s for another post, I guess.

  4. Roger,
    I love it. Great sense of humor and a great idea for another post someday.
    Thanks
    Dan

  5. Well, I’m still muddling along mightily in my pursuit of living like Jesus. But I’ve had the wisecracker role down solid for a while now! 😀

    I’ll look forward to your post. By the way, I think it was at http://www.preachermike.com where I first heard the phrase and concept of “tyranny of the weaker brother.”

  6. If you tell someone he is sinner and leave it at that then you are being ignorant that you are also a sinner (Romans 3:23). If you tell someone that he is sinning and then teach him the gospel that he is saved through Jesus (and only through Jesus) then you are picking him up and pointing him towards Jesus…The path to eternal life (Romans 6:23)

    If you preach the Gospel you become a tree of life because you are preaching The Words of Eternal life (Another name for Jesus is “The Word of GOD”) Read in the bible that Jesus is the vine that gives life and we are branches of that vine if we live in Jesus as our Lord and saviour so we become part of the tree of life. Branches that do no preach Jesus is the way are dead branches and will be gathered and burnt at the end times as chaff blown by the wind.

    Jesus is the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6)

    If you want to become trees of life Preach the Word, Preach the Gospel of salvation through Jesus then you will walk with true power and faith.

  7. In addition to that. Once you know that Jesus is the only way that you get to the Father in paradise you can then understand the flaming sword that guards the path to the tree of life (Genesis). That flaming sword is protecting your heart from living in sin for eternity. Once you find Jesus and join your heart with His heart then your heart changes from a heart of stone (which does not beat) to a heart of flesh (which beats with love) and then you can understand that “The Word became flesh”. Its all about love and having eternal relationship with GOD

    That said don’t think that your heart will change from stone to a beating heart overnight. Before that happens all the wrong in you will be taken out of you through fire. You will fight with yourself until you become loving. Ever got down on your knees because you just don’t understand the torment you are going through…You are reading the bible and trying to live it but those around you are against you and you fight with them!?

    That is your fire that is purging the old self. Its the Holy Spirit changing you from a heart of stone to a beating heart. Its your path.

    Being a Christian is Simple but never is it easy!

  8. What about people who ae judging others sin’s and are committing the same sin of adultry and lust over and over again? How can we teach these christians that before they start telling their brother to remove the speck in their eye they should remove their own board. What if you have politley and kindly done this and they have taken offence? What if you lose a friendship over this?

  9. We all have the right to judge the actions of others, but we cant judge them for those actions. Just as someone can be committing a sin right before your eyes does not mean that that the other person walking the righteous path is to be put higher than the other. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Looking beyond our judgment and seeing the person with in is the true challenge. judgment exists, but it is up to us to see how to use it. We don need to be judging others as we will never know why or how they came to be. I see a clear difference with judging the action vs judging the person.

  10. I am not of any particular faith, I came upon this site to read this interpetation of this particular Scripture verse.
    Very well written and understandable for any one’s faith or path.
    This is one of the better interpetations I have read .
    It is clear, consise and realistic , in terms that we can relate to and act upon this “act” in this day and age. It has never sat well with me, when people use this passage to do what is sinful, without being judged correctly {out of love and compassion}, in an attempt to deflect from wrong-doing. If judging is done so with the right “mind-set”, than both parties grow in their walk.
    Both parties can exercise an action and behavior that is befitting of a ‘believer”. Romans 2:1-3 is another verse that helps illustrate the wrong kind of judging.

  11. Its really a great discussion about the scripture judge not!
    This is a great help for me. Im currently researching for our small group topic this sunday about judge not and your site is the exact answer. Thanks!

  12. so sad but this is soo true with so many of us…specially with so many of us christian…forgetting that we are all sinner.this article is such a great help and an eye opener for so many of us.i was soo disappointed after seeing a post msg in one of my christian friend in facebook.just because he sees some pictures of some people posing with their car,taking a picture with beautiful clothing,looking good in the picture he is already assuming that people like that only shows that love for themselves.i was like shock like i didnt say or comment anymore but i was really disappointed…i mean how can u just judge a person that u dont even personally knw just bec u saw a picture like that u will judge them and tell them that they only have love for themself.its very sad…really sad…=(

  13. Well done idiot. You, like so many self righteous religion spewers like you, have managed to skew the words written in your outdated textbook, to justify the sick and twisted pleasure you get from the thought that you are superior in Gods eyes to anyone else.
    Let he without sin cast the first stone. Did Jesus shout abuse, and laugh in the faces of the two criminals who hung either side of him? Did he run about telling homosexuals that they would burn in hell?
    Okay, well, you can silver tongue your way around, and I can do the same, and in the end, I’m sure it will become a beautiful debate between a blind, baseless creationist with naught more than an old, millionth time reinterpreted book, to justify his claims, and I, the evolutionist, armed with reality to justify mine… But lets not go there.
    Simply I will tell you again, the phrase, John 8:7 “Let he without sin cast the first stone.” and then I will further with the phrase, Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
    Now I know what you are thinking. Why is this evolutionist quoting the bible, to support his argument? Well, I believe that much of the bible is worthy of note, as it presents to the world, a very humanitarian style of living, provided of course that it’s many meanings are not twisted to be used to serve those that need to feel superior to others. Simply put, it’s a good guidebook for life, which is intended to offer it’s service to individual interpretation, for therapeutic counsel. Not to be used to develop cults, which, lets face it, your so called religion, by definition, is.

    Furthermore, I like to use whatever opportunities I am given to point out the contradictions in ignorant peoples many different interpretations of the one book.

    A truely unbiased reader would say, the bible is, when entirely disseminated, completely self contradictory, and the only way around this is to pick and choose which phrases to associate with others, and which phrases to take literally, and which to take metaphorically. Unfortunately, doing great damage to the integrity of your sadly common beliefs, is the fact that there are so many completely different religions, all self serving, all self righteous, all unwilling to accept that they might be incorrect, and all based on the exact same book.

    Your need to throw big words together, and present your interpretation of a bible verse or two, to be used by other blind, self serving christians, who’s agendas match yours, but who’s ability with big words does not, is transparent to anyone who would disagree with you.
    You are simply trying to convince yourself that you are righteous in Gods eyes, and therefore, right to judge others. Self justification is, after all, the foundation of all religion, and all those throughout history. Used to justify war, slavery, racial prejudice, cultural prejudice, sexual prejudice, gender prejudice, pedophilia, and the like, for generations gone, and generations to come.
    I can attest to this, being an ex church goer, and having been personally disgusted time and time again, by the hypocricy, intolerance, and above all else, the contempt for human life, and the excitement shown by your kind at the hell- condemnation of all those who have opposing views.

    You have no right to suggest that you are infallably correct. There are countries full of people who have not even been given the opportunity to get to know your God, or they are simply to strong willed and stubborn to accept that their beliefs might be wrong… Just like you.

    If you were truly righteous, you wouldn’t feel the need to tell anyone else that they are wrong. It is your self doubt that drives your need to self justify.

    This is Matt, signing off by saying, judge not, lest ye be judged. Your judgement itself is based on pride. One of the deadly sins. You cannot deny, without me pointing out your failure to convince he who you condemn otherwise, and therefore, contradicting your next likely suggestion that you are trying to spread the word of God. The phrase “Judge not, lest ye be judged” contains a purpose which is beyond your interpretation. That purpose is, don’t alienate people against the word of God.

  14. Dear Matt,

    I am somewhat amazed by your comments. Did you read the article I wrote about not judging? Bottom line of the article was that Jesus warns us to look to our own hearts and actions before ever judging someone else. There was no suggestion of being “infallably correct” as you say. In fact it is just the opposite. I would love to have you read the blog again and talk about specific points that you disagree with.
    Dan

  15. You provided insight and relevance but lost credibility when you added political commentary. What did Al Gore have to do with your breaking down of the Word? I am neither in support or against Al Gore, I simply wanted to understand more of the implication of this particular verse. Name-calling is one of the primary rules of “no no’s” in persuasive writing. It is called a fallacy and it weakens your legitimacy with your audience!

  16. This difficult verse is telling us to not make hypocritical judgements. We are to make sober, honest, judgements. Do not call another a “thief” if you are doing the same. A few verses later Jesus tells us not to throw pearls to pigs or give what is sacred to dogs. This would require a judgement. Also he tells us how to make judgements as to who are false prophets.

    Matt.7

    A Tree and Its Fruit
    15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
    21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

  17. I cannot believe some of these people are actually judging Dan for judging. How incredibly hypocritical. This is the exact thing Jesus is warning about in Matt.chapter seven. Every person on earth is required to make judgements every day. We are to make judgemnts base on Gods holy word not our own opinions, likes, or dislikes.

  18. Miles :
    I cannot believe some of these people are actually judging Dan for judging. How incredibly hypocritical. This is the exact thing Jesus is warning about in Matt.chapter seven. Every person on earth is required to make judgements every day. We are to make judgemnts base on Gods holy word not our own opinions, likes, or dislikes.

    Dan’s whole argument is that we CAN judge…so wouldn’t people judging him be appropriate?

  19. Rene says:

    “Dan’s whole argument is that we CAN judge…so wouldn’t people judging him be appropriate?”

    No, but thanks for asking.

  20. It is impossible for any one of us to remove the log of sin that blocks our sight. Hence, in the act of judging we commit the hypocrisy. Because we cannot escape the sin ourselves, we are to forebear judging sin in others. If you are looking at the sin in others, then you are not looking at the sin in yourself. Removing the log from one’s eye is not the act of a moment; it is the struggle of the lifetime. It is the Christian destiny.

    If someone says to me “I’m saved,” I know he is deluded. He is telling me that he knows the mind of God. If someone says to me, “I have removed the log of sin from my eye,” I know he is so blinded that he sees nothing but his own sin and mistakes it for the world.

    “Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. And grace is getting what you absolutely don’t deserve.” (Cathleen Falsani)

  21. I do not completely agree with your assesment of “Judge not and you shall be not be judged” tied in with forgiveness.

    1.We have to rememeber that most often time we use judge not when we want to find an excuse to not be corrected. Most of us christians find it wise to persecute people by their actions which is totally wrong. I believe that you can make someone aware of their wrongdoing without persecuting their person. We are not the judges of sin… ONLY GOD IS. So if some is a prostitute and another is a fraudulent wall street banker who are we to say that this one sins more and this one less????I think what we need to do before we offer our two senses or cast the first or second stone is to stop and pray to God about our plan of action. No one has the right to tell anyone that they are a sinner. Our job is to show the way to rightoeusness by your actions without casting a stone. I want to tie this verse to the incidence when Jesus allows himself to be annointed by Mary and dine with Zacharias. He already knew their sort of life but did not condemn them. Instead, he showed them mercy and he won them over and thats what we should do. Rather we spend time chastasing people and labelling this and that as sin, we too shall be judged. No where in these verses are expressely told to judge ourselves. Yes the verses reveal that we need to first take out the log before we remove the speck in another, yet how many do actually spend time self assessing?? (here i do agree with you dear author). If we actually spent time evaluating ourselves we would have no time to judge others
    We as christians should have our churches filled with so called prostitutes, homosexuals, drug addicts, etc who most of us spend time calling sinners. The christians church needs to embrace all and allow them to receive salvation. It is free for all. Who are we to deny them??? Just because we worship in fancy looking temples and deck on nice clothes when we go to church does not make us any better than them. We need to learn from the foundations of the early church that from Jesus’ death, Paul, Steven etc…If all the church of GOD- all christianity was not so condeming, our churches would be filled with real God fearing followers. we have turned out to be hatemonger and overzealous hypocrytical self professing christians. We all need a rvival

  22. Dear Silva,

    I understand your concern about the kinds of abuses, shame, and judgmentalism that occurs in churches. However the presence of those wrong practices does not mean we should stop trying to judge in a correct way. You are right in a sense, that only God is the judge of sin. If by that we mean the only one who can judge people as condemned do to sin and the only one who can determine what sin actually is, then I agree. However, I still maintain that this verse and others in the Bible mean that we are to identify sin in our lives AND in the lives of others so that we can be restored, not condemned. The very fact that this passage says to take the log out of your own eye, before removing it from your friends eye, means that we are to help other people identify their sin and deal with it. In Matthew 18 Jesus says that when a brother sins against you, you are to go to that person and point out their sin and seek to be reconciled. You cannot do that unless you have first judged that what they did was sin. It is not the act of judging that is wrong. It is the attitude of superiority that we so often have, and the shame we heep on others that Jesus condemns, especially when we have our own sin that we refuse to acknowledge.
    My hope that all our churches could be filled with prostitutes and drug addicts and homosexuals, and gluttons and gossips and every other kind of sinner. That will only happen if we have the attitude of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery where he very lovingly forgave her and urged her to go and sin no more. In order to forgive someone of sin you must first identify the behavior as sin. But as always, we must speak the truth in love.
    Dan

  23. I believe that there is confusion about judgement. There may be 10 million gays, muslums, and child molesting rapist in heaven when I get there, I don’t know. Only the Lord God Almighty is the judge of condemation; however, we all make judgemental decisions every day. Because I think my pal is doing something wrong does not mean I can condem him. I do not have that right; but it is my duty as a Christian to attempt to lead my pal to Christ. We are all bias in are own way. Eventhough I do not condone the activitys of some that may enter my church, as long as I am a member, the doors will not be locked to anyone willing to praise God and glorify Christ. Sin is sin in God’s eyes. If you steal a piece of bubble gum it is no different than stealing 28 brand new cars. Judgeing someone’s actions can be OK, do not condem them, you do not have that power. I think this verse means that we should all be prepared for our own judgement, and that scares the heck out of me.

  24. Good sermon. For Matt from February, I say: I was once like you, indeed I led people who speak as you speak, and they looked up to me as I led them away from the Holy One. Hope then, the rest of you, in him, because I stand before you a humble Believer and a staunch Creationist today.

    As for the sermon, long have I thought of this, as a Jew (Messianic), and it strikes me as similar to the letter to the church in 1st Corinthians 5, around verse 12 I think, wherein we see some measure of admonishment that Paul has with the fledgling church, to stop their judging everyone under the Sun, and focus like true Jews should, keeping in mind the many, many times the Torah the law of God is given to purge the land of evil, seeing here the spiritual reasons for that law, the ways in which it applies to us as individuals, using Israel as a giant symbol for the ever-conflicted self. Israel was constantly, constantly purging itself of evil, and they never could do it quite right despite God’s many admonishments and interventions, much to the failure of Israel, but not to the failure of the law itself, for God has still accomplished what He set out to do — show the world what sin is, and what it does.

    A friend of mine, however, recently interpreted this fine sermon of Dan’s as stating, falsely in light of 1st Corinthians 5 and the rest of the earlier Bible, that God never tells us who to judge, but only how to judge. I think it is worthy of note to state that not only is context key as it always is, but also the greater context is consistent throughout the Bible and worth keeping in mind when reading virtually any verse at all — that God has a specific purpose in bringing out and encouraging fellowship among believers in a fallen world, and this purpose is that we would be one, united in holiness, helping one other be holy, and shining with the light of God in this world that we were once a contributor to its deep darkness. Jesus prayed for that, in John 17, and here in Matthew 7 he tells us that we must admonish our brothers, and help them. Jesus does not say fix your own problems and leave everyone else alone, no, he then says help your otherwise seeing brother with his minor problem, once you can judge sin properly, especially anything that causes blindness of sin — the log analogy. If you have a 2×4 in your eye, you are assuredly not going to be using that eye for seeing, yes? You may even need your brother with the spec, who can at least see mostly, to help you with that. This is the allusion to helping, and contrary to Matt’s earlier reply, Jesus never says first deal with your spec, then deal with your brother’s log. No, we all have eyes full of the dust of this world, which leads us so very often to the statements in Romans 7 — “I find that I do what I hate, and I do not do what I love, what a wretched man am I — who will save me from the body of death!” But thanks be to Jesus Christ, because also in that chapter, “If I sin, it is not I who sins, but sin that is living in me.” We struggle, in this world, and we have a face full of specs that get in the way, from the dust from this world and from ourselves. To claim perfection is to claim God is a liar, but if we can help each other with the logs in our eyes (how are we to do this ourselves?? If my brother was struggling with his spec, in Jesus’ illustration, am I not to struggle magnitude more with my log? But God often guides brothers to help us).

    Overall, once you can be alleviated of what which causes blindness, you are not only able to see, but admonished to put that sight to good use.

  25. To say initially, I am not a christian, nor a believer in the concept of mass organised religion as a whole really, but I do appreciate this incisive clarification. The bible, like most religious texts holds the same ideals and moralistic principals by which to live. This is another great one, and I must admit I am richer for understanding it more completely.

    Now to find the replicas in all other texts and make sure they are understood to be the same message as well 🙂

    Thank you!

  26. Jamie,
    Great to read your comments. I hope you will feel free to stop back and comment on other things on this site. I appreciate the perspective.
    Dan

  27. So let me get this straight. Jesus was saying it’s okay to judge others as long as all your ducks are in a row? Boy are we in trouble? It seems as though that whole thing about the speck and the beam is just totallly kind of lost on you, oops, here I go judging you. I think that maybe what he was trying to say, was that it’s kind of hard to truly love your brother, when you are sitting in judgement of him. I think also that so many of us find it so hard not to judge others, that we would rather take the bible and take it apart and put it back together again the way it suits our needs. Did you forget the part about ” for all have sinned”. Your judgement of others makes you just as unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven as any drunkard, whore, or thief.

  28. Don’t you people remember who Jesus told the pharases he was here for? And didn’t say that he was here to judge them, and I know that this disapoints and alienates a lot of you, but he came to show all mankind the path to peace and salvation, and the only gate through which you can access that path is love.

  29. Kevin
    Yes all have sinned, me included. But the Bible is also filled with teaching that we are to work to restore one another when we fall into sin. Matthew 18 is nearly a whole chapter on what to do when someone sins against you. You are to go to them and point out what the offense was and seek to be reconciled. In order to do that one must first determine that an action was wrong, you have to make a judgement. That is different from being “judgmental” and saying I am great and wonderful and you are not. Jesus warning about the log in our own eye is to make us aware of the fact that we are bigger sinners than we want to admit and therefore need to be gentle and loving with one another. That does not mean we never point out sin and call people to a holier life. It is a false dichotomy to think there is only hyper-judgmentalism or no judging of right or wrong as our only options. If we are to in fact help someone deal with the “speck” in their eye, Jesus metaphor for sin, then we have to determine that it is sin. The idea that we are to never, ever point out wrong doing because we are all sinners, would leave us incapable of ever having laws or rules for behavior, or if we did they would be meaningless.
    Dan

  30. He came to show a path to peace and salvation. But in doing so he also pointed out that we are sinners in need of that salvation. Even the woman caught in adultery he told to “go and sin no more”. In doing so he had to make a judgement call that her actions were sin. Now we can either do that in a loving manner or in a harsh, self righteous manner. That fact that many have done that later, does not mean we should abandon the former. Jesus never did and neither did Paul or any of the other writers of the New Testament

  31. so then again, let me reiterate, you’re telling me that you are pure and without sin, and therefore qualify to judge others. this huberis alone, combined with the fact that you are instructing others to follow in your footsteps is enough to seal your fate, oops there I go judging you again.

  32. Kevin, never said I am pure and without sin. In fact I said I am a sinner. The very fact that I recognize a log in my own eye means I know I sin. What I am saying is that scripture calls us to watch out for one another and in humility point out when there is sin in our lives so we can repent and be restored. That is exactly what Paul means in Galatians 6:1 when he says “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” You seem to be saying that there is never a situation in which one person can tell another person that they are sinning. Is that the case? Is there no instance what so ever in which a person can say, “what you are doing is wrong”?
    Dan

  33. what I was refering to was, as you said Jesus wants us to judge others. Where is the scripture wherein Jesus himself says this?

  34. The biggest problem I see with whole judgement thing is that often times. said judgement is rendered before all the facts and relavences, have come to light, and been weighed, especially with regard to a religious community, not to mention the fact that since all have sinned, and are not therefore infalible, the very act of judging our fellow human beings, comes up just a little short of the mark that Jesus was trying to establish for us.

  35. Kevin
    Here is the section on dealing with sin that I was referring to.
    15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

    How can I go to my brother who has sinned against me if I have not first made a judgement call that he has in fact sinned? The purpose of going to him is to get him to stop the sinful behavior. If he continues to sin against me then the stakes are raised and I am to bring in others who will judge between us to see if in fact he has sinned against me.

    I am still wondering, are you saying that there is never an instance in which one person can tell another person that what they are doing is wrong/sinful?

    Dan

  36. The thing is Dan, we are human and therefore falible, and we never seem to know where to draw the line. ” Give us an inch and we take a mile”. Ever had the phrase,”power corupts, and absolute power corupts absolutely”?

  37. It was Jesus speaking. The whole chapter is a discourse from Jesus on relationships, forgiveness and the like.

  38. Kevin,
    Can’t argue with what you say. But I don’t think the answer is to then abandon any effort to spur one another on to holiness of life. What we need to do is figure out how to humbly and lovingly confront sin. I also think that we need to understand that far to often Christians confront sin in the world and condemn that and never deal with it in the Body of Christ. The Bible teaches is the opposite. First and foremost we should deal with sin among Christians and not be so concerned about it in the world. I suspect if we did a whole lot less shouting and the sinful world and a lot more humbly challenging one another to live holy lives, things would be much different.
    Dan

  39. Nice idea Dan, but I have seen far too many christians, and in some case entire churches, led by some lunatic, jump right onboard the judgement train, without even knowing all the facts, and not caring to know them, because they were having too much fun being part of the crowd, and feeling better than some else.

  40. Kevin,
    I have seen too much of the same. But I still want to shoot for the ideal that I think Jesus teaches, no matter how fine a line it may be or how hard it is to achieve. I find that as long as I keep reminding myself of the depth of my sin it makes it easier to be gentle and humble when seeking to help a brother or sister avoid disaster in their own life. When people have come to me trying to “fix” me because they think they have it all together, my reaction is to discount them. When someone I know loves and cares about me and comes with a concern about my behavior, I am much more willing to listen.
    Thanks for engaging in the conversation. I have enjoyed it and look forward to more with you. Keep the idea coming.
    Dan

  41. Dan,

    The most important point I receive from this message is the ideal that I need to make sure I take care of the log in my eye before I cast judgement on others.

    Will not the size of the log cloud my judgement of the speck in my brother’s eye. If my brother has only a speck in his eye should I not consider him a wiser man? My focus should be to remove my log.

    In other words this message tells me to judge myself by the same thoughts and beliefs which I am about to judge my brother. Without my brother speck I would not be able to see or attempt to remove my log. Therefore I should hold sacred those who I am about to judge consider them a true gift from God. Not someone I need to save from their speck.

    I think the meaning is lost if you focus on justifying the ability to render judgement. We should judge ourselves and leave the judgement of others to God. The world would be a better place.

  42. Tricky business , I say it is , when one says what Jesus was thinking , or doing , what he meant.

  43. And here’s my take. We don’t know the minds and hearts of others. We don’t understand their reasons because we’ve never walked in their shoes. In order to make a judgement, we need information. If it’s not given, we don’t have the truth, we merely have our take on it. The only person we need judge is ourselves. And an offer to help and to listen without judging, preaching or trying to save souls often does more than all the judgement in the world. You lead by example, not by flaunting your interpretations on others. You show the way to Christ, it’s much more effective than telling. If you lead well, they’ll never even know you did it. You’ve taught them to fish.

  44. Are you not being hypocritical by putting in this part, “Think of Al Gore telling us that we need to cut down our energy use in order to save the planet and then finding out that he has three large homes and the carbon footprint of Godzilla. He needed to read this verse first.” as your message is clear without it. Your own political views need not to be added

  45. Bruce,
    I don’t think my statement is an indication of a political view on any level. If it was George Bush instead of Al Gore the illustration would still stand as valid. Someone who makes a big deal out of the need for people to do something, should make sure their house is at least somewhat in order on that issue and be willing to face the same scrutiny that they place on others. This example was readily at hand because the report on his homes had come out recently and was fresh in my mind at the time of writing. In reporting on Gore’s three homes the news report even mentioned the irony of it all, given Gore’s stance on energy usage and global warming. It was that perceived inconsistency by the news media that made this a reasonable illustration in my opinion.
    Dan

  46. Yes it is a lesson in the law of cause and effect, if you condemn your neighbour you will be condemned yourself. So judge not. Perfect and pure.

  47. I love the discussion that this has generated. I’ve had this discussion with a lot of people before and the one thing I always forget in the moment is that there is more scripture that deals with judging others. 1 Corinthians 5 verses 12 and 13 add much clarification to this issue. As Christians we are called to teach,correct, and exhort each other. But we are not to condemn non-Christians as they aren’t bound by the same covenant of Christ’s blood that we are under.

  48. Just one more question, Someone very close to me failed again to keep his promise, not only to me but most importantly to God. He promised God to quit smoking and to be more patient and not break rules. After breaking the rule again to the point that this person might lose his job, he went out and settled his nerves with a pack of cigarrettes. I don’t think smoking is immoral. I thinks is bad for you and if you promised not to do something and then do it (whatever that something is — then perhaps that is immoral or sinful). Since I too made a point/promise/commitment to God to be patient and loving, I decided not to confront this person on this, but I also decided that I did not want to hear him out. I did not want to hear one more time: “I’m sorry. I fell/failed again. But a Christian is supposed to forgive and I know now what I need to do and I will do it.” I’ve heard this speech in all its variations a million times. Because I knew that if I started speaking I was going to start “judging” I politely requested that I be left alone and said that I did not want to hear or discuss the issue. That it wasn’t with me whom he need to speak with. Was my behavior the correct way to handle such a situation? I also did not want to be an enabler.

  49. This is not my site savorthemomentnow, and I do not consider myself to be the best christian/advisor, but since no one else has stepped up to the plate on this one, I will offer you my thoughts on your dilema.
    My aunt Lily,( who I later found out was not really my aunt at all, just a very nice and kind and sweet,and wise, gentle lady who was a very close friend of my family), told me that whenever I had a problem with someone, that I should always remember the golden rule. Treat them as I would want to be treated.
    Talking to someone about their smoking addiction is always a very difficult, frustrating, enterprise.
    This however, is not in anyway being judgemantal. The person you are dealing with knows as well as you do that smoking, is slowly killing them, but as I pointed out earlier, this is an addiction, not simply an err or foible. And one of the hardest forms of addiction there is in this world to break.
    So keep this in mind when you think about shunning your freind. If this is someone you care about, do not shun them because of what they doing to themselves.
    This will only serve to harden your hearts against one another, and you will never be able to help or influence your freind again, because you wil no longer be freinds.
    Instead, maintain your freindship, in fact nurture it, show your freind at every opportunity, how much you truly care about him. and then if the opportunity does present itself, to speak with your freind about his addiction, do so with love and caring, and as much as is possible, try to see from his perspective. You will have a much better chance of helping your freind, and at the same time, not only preserving your freindship, but improving it.

  50. Congratulations for your post! I’ve always thought this way, but was in a hard way to put in so clearly in words.
    You know, the devil fools people by having them misunderstand biblical concepts and telling them half trues. Sometimes, it gets difficult to argue against so subtle fallacies. You’re helping people to elucidate right concepts in their mind.

    By the way, I still have a doubt. Yes, according to the aforementioned biblical texts, being NOT a hypocrite is mandatory in order to make someone eligible to point out / judge someone else. But this makes things appear a little bit relative, since “There is no one righteous, not even one; (Rom 3:10″, then no one is allowed to judge another one. And even if you haven’t fallen in sin in a way, you’ve certainly have already fallen in other kinds of sin. How to solve this apparent paradox?
    ior, instead of judging people?

    Well, I’m not sure whether it may be proven on biblical basis, but it looks fairly reasonable for me to think that even a sinful might judge a sinful / wrong behavior (instead of judging another person). It would solve the issue of relativity in the judgment. As long as one was judging according to God’s laws, it would be irrelevant the righteousness of the judger.

    Also, would the term ‘judging’ used by Jesus be related to the acts of both point out a sin and setting a penalty to the sinner? If you are able to recognize the sin, in order to help the sinner, but not punishing him/her, the judgment act would be ok, wouldn’t it?

    Regards from Brazil,

    Jorge Leandro

  51. Thanks for your comment Jorge. The biggest problem I see with the whole concept of judging someone so I can help them is that if they feel that they are being judged, most often, the person that they feel is judging them, is the last person in the world that they would allow to help them or even take advice from. Do you see the problem? That is why Jesus said to first remove the beam from thine own eye, the real beam being the desire to judge someone else, instead of themselves. If everyone in the world focused everyday on what they could do to make themselves better people, how much better would this world be?

  52. In looking back over these postings, something stood out that I wanted to comment on. Colin wrote about telling someone that he is sinner and then teaching him the gospel. Have you considered Colin that, as soon as you tell this person that they are a sinner, you have pretty much invalidated yourself to them as someone that they want to learn anything from, so if anything, you have not only made yourself into a stumbling block for them, but also made it harder for the next person who might want to try to reach out to them the message. And I think that, is the hardest part for most christians to get, all we are supposed to do is pass on the message, and the best way to do that is by example. If you are living well and being joyful in your spirit, other people will see this, and often will come to you wanting to know what your secret is. This gives you the opportunity to then pass on the gift of christs’ word, and it will stand a much better chance of being accepted. Thanks for reading my thoughts on this.

  53. Was very glad to have come across your website. This is an excellent post and so useful for those who are searching for an answer to the worn-out quote of “Judge not lest you shall be judged”. Thanks for posting.

  54. And pretty plainly “John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
    If you have to take one quote on the subject. That’s the problem with people quoting one verse from the bible. They aren’t providing the back up, or context. Sad, but it happens all the time.
    Proverbs also talks about judging or pronouncing righteous sentence, AFTER hearing just cause.

  55. Christians, Jews, non-believers, everybody judges. Some do it gently, some do it harshly. But, for me, judging very, very seldom has anything to do with telling the person the conclusions I have come to about their behavior. When raising my children, I judged what was best for them, that was my job. Now, I only have to judge what’s best for myself. Say for example, I meet someone who would like to be friends. I have to judge for myself if that would be good for me or not. If I decide it wouldn’t be in my best interest (AKA – Judge), I don’t then go tell the person. I don’t think I have that right. I think the general rules about judging in the bible, such as don’t be a hypocrite, etc…are for everybody. But the specifics on how to approach the person that has been judged of some wrongdoing to admonish them was for members of clergy. Sadly, a lot of people that believe they are being Christian-like walk around verbally judging EVERYTHING, because they misinterpreted what they read.

    So we have to judge, but really, we only should be doing it for ourselves. I can’t quote where it is but somewhere in the bible I know it says “For I have given you the gift of discernment.” Discernment is judgement, and it’s being called a gift. It’s how we govern our OWN lives. Leave the admonishing to the clergy. Or an intimate conversation between 2 people trying to gently& lovingly fix something their relationship.

    The faithful that run around telling people they’re going to burn in hell haven’t helped with the negative images that the word (judgement) conjures up.

  56. I heartily agree with most of your post. However, rather than judging others for ourselves, or for them, or for anyone, we should first judge ourselves. When this judgement proclaims our infallibility, then may we proceed to judge the rest of the world. If the entire worlds populace spent as much time, evaluating, and judging themselves as they do others around them, we would live in a utopia, this would be heaven. But such is not the case, thus we find ourselves not in heaven, because we are born into sin and all fall short of the glory of the lord. This I think is the hardest part for most christians to get through their overinflated opinions of themselves.

  57. And to Tx_Val, I understand how hard it is, not to judge others, and that it is even harder to judge ourselves, but this is the message that should be broadcast throughout humanity, judge yourselves to the point that you can find no blemish. If we all could accomplish this there would be no need to judge anyone else. For in that event, it is my humble opinion, the world would be made perfect, and might in fact be worthy of the glory of God. For did not Eve cast all of us into sin by eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of right and wrong, AKA, the tree of judgement?

  58. Thank you Kevin, I agree we should judge ourselves first. I believe in order to judge another’s behavior, we have already judged ourselves, that’s how we develop a value system. Now, whether we have judged ourselves correctly or not, well that’s the job of the people who love us to lovingly show us the error of our ways. I think the word judge has been given a bad rap. It should never be used to elevate one’s own stature above another’s. It is simply a tool to determine if some behavior/morals, etc… is in line with our own. I also think that when a lot of people hear the word judge, they associate it with whatever negative experiences they have seen where someone is judging in order to feel better about themselves,not help the person. Love is not involved in that kind of judging. What is the person’s intention when they judge? Love should be. Most of the negative, non-loving judgement is done against complete strangers. We all sin, but we are all on the same journey, so we should be able to empathize with the struggles of others, because we know we have our own. Psychology definitely plays a role here also, because some people who cannot judge themselves honestly and correctly use judging others harshly and negatively as not only a way for them to feel better about themselves, but also as a way to avoid confronting or changing themselves. It is easier to see the specks in others, isn’t it? It’s a lot of work , consistently checking and correcting ourselves. – peace, love & loving judgement – deb

  59. Hello Deb, thanks for commenting on my post. As I have said before, I know that this is very hard for people, maybe the hardest thing some have ever done in their lives. But it must be done. I did say judge ourselves first, but to the point of infalibility. Having accomplished this task, we would then be ready to judge what remains of humanity, because we will be in essence infalible. There could be no possible error in our judgement. Until this task is accomplished however, we remain, sadly falible. As I stated in my previous post, we are all born into sin. Going back to the oringinal sin, which was, “partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Ergo, judgement, it was at this moment that god realized, that his perfect creations were no longer perfect, for they would presume to take his place in the seat of judgement. This was the message Jesus was born into this world to spread. And this was what led to his being crucified. JUDGEMENT!!! Why do you thonk he cried out to his father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He realized that mankind was so enrapt, with the judgement of others, that they felt as if they were doing the right thing. We need to judge ourselves ONLY!!!! If we all do this, there will be peace and harmony in the world. There wiil be no need of judgement. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. May god bless you and keep you.

  60. Im not saying you missed the point because you didnt but when Jesus said judge not lest ye be judged that wasnt anecdotal it was absolute law. As we judge so we shall be judged. He was basically saying “when judgement day comes know it is you who have judged yourselves according to your mercy.” If we are merciful in our judgement God will grant us mercy if we are wrathful obviously he will grant our wrath upon ourself. Thats free will in a nutshell. You get what you give. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Thats why Jesus replaced the old law of eye for an eye with turn the other cheek. Of course we are at liberty to choose which law we follow Satans or Gods, wrath or mercy, fear or love. But the judgement we receive will be based on the judgement we give. It wasnt about judging sin it was about judging the sinner of course sin is evil and we identify it and steer clear best we can but when we are confronted with the sins of others we have to have mercy for them and help them to understan Gods love and mercy by being loving and merciful.

  61. We are not to judge! It is not our place to judge the righteousness of others. We are flawed creatures and burdened with our own sins. Hence the Lord tells us, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” And Jesus looked into each of the men of the town and, one by one, they bowed their heads in shame, feeling he had looked into their souls and saw their sins. They dropped the stones they held and walked away. When they were all gone, the Lord said, “Is there no one here to judge you? Neither do I judge you.” Walking to my office one morning, years ago, I stooped and picked up a smooth, round, flat stone. I was bemused to discover a nick in it just about sized for a thumb to fit neatly into it, making it a perfect fit in the hand. The first thing that came to my mind was the line, “let he who is without sin …” I carried that stone to my office and for all the years I worked there (State Court) I kept that stone on my desk to remind me of my place in the world and to keep me humble in my dealings with others. Perhaps, Kevin, we should be more focused on correcting our own imperfections than working to the pretense of being in a position where we are of sufficient goodness and righteousness to pass judgment on others.
    It is the pompous self-righteousness of men to believe we have the right and authority to pass judgment on others. It is the humility of man which gives us jury trials so that no one man should have the power to pass judgment on anyone else!
    And I have to thank Matthew (above) for his astute, and right on point, observations.

  62. Matt and T.R., I think you have somehow missed my point. What I was saying, was in essence, that we are not to judge. I was not suggesting that we work to some pretense of sufficient goodness and rightousness, rather that it is not possible for us to attain that position, as we are born into sin. I urge you to go back and reread my other posts.
    And as for jury trials, I am assuming that you are suggesting that those have never been botched, and that all those judgements are sound? As I said in my earlier post in reply to Deb, judgement was the original sin. Jesus did not come and die on the cross to teach us that it is okay to judge others Matt. When he cried out to his father,
    (Then Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”.)Luke 23:34, he was saying that they don’t realize that their judgement of me is greater than any sin ever commited. In their judgement, or trial, if you will, witnesses were called fourth, and I am sure that in it’s day, it gave every indication of being a fair trial, but at the end of the day they cast JUDGEMENT on the son of god.

  63. Im sorry I didnt mean it to read as if I think you were wrong in any way. I just wanted to share some ideas on the nature of judgement. Galatians 3:26 (I think its 3:26, but I know for certain its Galatians) says for whomsoever is baptised in Christ takes on Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek neither slave nor free neither male nor female for all are one in Christ Jesus. I take this literally because Jesus told us what you do unto these the least my brethren you do unto me. So Im not saying your wrong about the passage I wanted to further elaborate. How we judge others is our judgement of Christ is our judgement of our self because we are one with Jesus Christ. Jesus told us “on that day you shall know that I am in my Father amd you are in me and I am in you.” This world of sin is an attempt to make us deny Christ not only as Jesus who is our head and High Priest but us as well who are the body of the congregation. Once again Im sorry if I came across as if I were under the impression you didnt understand forgive me for miscommunicating. After all communication is vital to communion.

  64. Very good article. And what’s more fascinating are the comments that have followed. In my humble opinion, we are all judges, whether or not we like it. For example, before I give my beloved daughter away in marriage, I would need to know who she is going with, his background, his beliefs, what he does, etc before I make a judgement call on him. Why? Because it is my duty to ensure she is in safe hands. Now, whether or not she takes my advice is entirely up to her.

    That said, I have no business getting involved in anything outside my home, in other words, outside my jurisdiction. God has placed my kids in my care and I would be held accountable. Similarly, I am supposed to judge brethren in the body of Christ – I am my brother’s keeper. I will exclude judging those outside the church as it is none of my business anyway. (1 Corinthians 5:12 if you care to read). When a brother errs or when we notice something a brother (or sister if you may) may have done wrong, naturally, because we are god-like or gods, we are inclined to judge. We have been made in His image, so we reflect His attributes, judging being one of them. However, we are not sovereign, in other words, we are not all in all or all knowing. We have our flaws. If we were sovereign, we would be able to look far beyond the outer (John 7:24) and look into the inner and then have a clearer understanding before making a judgment call.

    I believe what Jesus is saying in Mathew chapter 7 (and not just verse 1 alone) is that we should strive to attain holiness after which we would be able to rightfully judge. (Isn’t it coincidental that Jesus also says that without holiness, no man can see God?) Remember, we would judge angels and saints after the work of redemption is done, in other words, when we are past this body of sin and clothed in righteousness.

    In conclusion, don’t feel bad if you are compelled to judge. (It is the god-like nature in you taking effect. Just like when we see immorality, the god-like nature in us repels it while the sinful nature in us embraces is. This explains the fact that we are a spirit being in mortal body.) If however you decide to proceed with your judgement:

    1) Make sure it is righteous judgement (according to God’s Word) and not superficial (according to your perception);
    2) Make sure it is merciful judgement and not harsh, so you can obtain mercy yourself;
    3) Make sure it is done in love so those we are admonishing may accept our judgement;
    4) Make sure you are open to accepting others’ judgement and criticism of you;
    5) Make sure it is not condescending out of pride, but humility.

    God bless.

  65. @David Grant I think your confusing discernment with judgement. Judgement comes with a sentence. Being sinners, as we all most certainly are, we have no right to judge. Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord. Psalm 82:6 says we “are gods sons of the Most High but nevertheless we shall fall like any other man and die like any other prince.” So in that sense we are gods but not like God. I cant remember every verse but I know “faith without works is dead” and “we are not saved by our works lest any man should boast but through faith in Christ Jesus.” So Im certain that the judgement is not in our court but His. That being said we have to discern the truth. Following Gods commandments. Jesus taught us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart all your mind and all your soul and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. He also taught us to love our enemies. Thats how we are to “judge”. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Its a consistant message throughout the Bible. He that leads into captivity goes into captivity. He that kills with the sword dies by the sword. Eye for an eye. Turn the other cheek. Its all the same concept just expressed in different terms. Thats how you know its true. How you judge is how you will be judged. Jesus said “what you do unto these the least of my brethren you do unto me.” I dont take that as a metaphor and thats His judgement.

  66. Kevin,
    Only point I want to make is that judgement was not the original sin. The original sin was disobedience to God born out of the desire to become like God and not have to submit to Him. Satan said that eating the fruit of the tree of good and evil would make you like God. Adam and Eve liked that idea and that the fruit looked delightful. You can say that they “judged” what it was like to be human and to be God and that was the sin but it would miss the point of the text. They could have made that judgement and decided not to eat the fruit and thus no sin. WHat they did was disobey God in order to overthrow God as their Lord. In essence it was idolatry. They wanted to replace the one true God with other gods. In this case, themselves. All sin is an attempt to replace God with something else that we want more. That is idolatry and that is what is at the root of all sin, even the original sin.
    Dan

  67. T.R.
    Thanks for sharing that. I love the story of the stone and yes we are to be working more on our own imperfections. That will certainly keep us humble. My concern in dealing with this verse is in part that many people are mistakenly using it to say that we can never say that what someone else is doing is wrong. The fact is we are to tell others when they are doing something wrong. How else can we correct someone who is in sin unless we judge that they have sinned? We are not to judge people to condemnation, which the casting of stones at the woman caught in adultery would have been. Jesus did however say to her, go and sin no more. So he did judge that what she did was sin, he just did not condemn her to death. It is a fine distinction, to judge something as sin, but not condemn the sinner. Yet we are to judge if something is sin or not and therefor if someone has sinned.
    Dan

  68. Speaking of judging and politics (the Al Gore reference brought up politics in some peoples minds,when it was just a good analogy about not judging hypocritically),…What about a Christian’s DUTY to “judge” who and what to vote for on election day ? (not to mention who to allow in a position of authority in the Church itself).
    When you have two candidates and one SAYS,with his own lips,that he is in favor of the Homosexual agenda and thinks it is just another valid life style,and he says he will vote in favor of that life style being taught in our schools etc.,then should we not “judge” that he is unworthy of a Christian’s vote,since he is OBVIOUSLY going directly against Scripture ? When that same candidate says with his own lips that Abortion is the right of every Woman and that it is wrong to want to put any restrictions on killing your own baby,then is it not the DUTY of a Christian to vote against that candidate ?
    Of course we,as Christians,would love if every non-Christian,like this candidate seems obviously to be,would turn to Christ when his obvious sin is pointed out to him by loving Christians,who only want him to turn from his sin and be saved.But the reality of life is that not every sinner wants to be saved by the Lord and not ever sinner wants to change.Some,like our current President are told over and over again that his policies are anti-Christ,but he only doubles his efforts in favor of the enemy. So what are we to do? IMHO we are to vote out such politicians who vote for and promote evil with their actions and policies.And we are to pray for them to be changed by the saving grace of Christ,as we were changed.But praying for them and hoping they will change does the society no good,they must be removed from authority if they continue their sinful ways and with a stiff neck continue to fight against God.
    We should pray for them and talk to them lovingly about changing and about submitting to Christ,but it is a Christians DUTY to remove them from any authority over Society,unless we don’t mind that they are ruining that Society for our Children and our Grandchildren (if Christ should delay his coming).
    If some of you want to continue to rant about how it is not right to judge others,then I say to you,why don’t you take into your home,with your children,all the homosexuals and drug dealers in your neighborhood ,and allow them to keep living their life styles ,with no repentance,under your roof ?You would never think of such a thing,because you JUDGE it is an unwise thing to have your Children exposed to that evil. It is the same with allowing such evil under the roof of our society. Vote out the people who you know are supporting evil with their votes and with their signatures on bills etc,and don’t forget to pray for them to repent and turn to the Lord !
    Of course there are not too many ideal candidates.Some are Christians in word and deed but often we must simply choose which candidate we believe (because of what they SAY they believe in) ,will actually vote the right way,wheather he or she is actually a Christian. If we waited to vote until we got a perfect candidate,we wouild never vote at all would we? All I am saying is that we should choose the candidate that we believe/hope will vote the way a Christian should vote on issues. And reject the ones that obviously will vote against Christian values,like President Obama does .

  69. Thank-You, Thank-You, Thank-You! I have always felt what you said in my heart. It is too easy nowadays for people to escape (or at least try to escape) the consequences of their actions and take no responsibility because God forbid we judge them! The entire New Age Movement is based on this lie. I am constantly amazed that people cannot see how this “new spirituality” twists biblical principles around to fit their agenda. I promise to try to get this point across with compassion; but the next time someone complains “I am judging them”, I am prepared. And Yes, I will gladly have myself measured by my standards. Thanks Again!

  70. Dear Maya
    It is good to know that this has helped you. I really appreciate your willingness to take steps in your own life to live as Jesus called us to.
    With you in His great adventure,
    Dan

  71. @Matt Did you even read the article? First of all, Jesus was not giving advice to himself, but to humans. He was the Son of God and not totally human at all. It’s obvious that the Bible may contradict itself in certain places. I totally agree that evolution makes total sense and is basically scientifically proven, but this article does not even bring up evolution, so I’m sensing you really did not even take the time to consider the points within the article. I just get so tired of people going to websites or Youtube videos just to make someone else feel like an idiot. So, Dan, props to you for your analysis of this passage! And Matt, I don’t choose religion. I choose a personal relationship with God and have experienced things beyond my comprehension. I respect your beliefs, and I would hope that you would respect mine. I agree that there are some corrupt religions and false doctrines, but don’t judge others based off of that for the sake of humanity. 🙂

  72. What a load of crap. Twisting the scripture so that you can spout of religious morality non-sense all over the place is exactly what is wrong with religion in the first place.

    Let he with no sin cast the first stone.

    This is the same message he is repeating in these verses, and you people are the freaking hypocrites Jesus is referring to every single time you judge someone else.

    The fact is – you will never get the freaking log out of your eye. That is the whole point! Therefore, let God be the judge of others, and live your life through your convictions, so that on one can say anything against you.

    Don’t pretend to take up the mantle of judgement and assume that you are not exactly the hypocrite Jesus is warning about.

  73. Dear Common Sense,

    To be a hypocrite means to deny your own sin and instead point out the sin of others. You won’t find me denying my sin but freely admitting that I am a wretch in need of a savior and forgiveness on a daily basis.

    That said I do have a question or two and an observation. Is it correct to assume from what you have said here that you think we are never in a position to be able to tell someone else that their behavior is wrong or sinful? Would pointing out another persons, speck, log or any other metaphor for sin, constitute judging them and thus make us open to the charge of being hypocrites? That is certainly how I understand what you mean when you say, “let God be the judge of others and live your life through your convictions so that no one can say anything against you”. But are you not violating that very principle by calling out people here as hypocrites? Have you not judged them?

    So either there are times when it is possible and even good to point out where people are wrong and have sinned or else you have fallen into the same load of crap that you think others are guilty of.

    Dan

  74. I truly enjoyed what you wrote Dan and you have helped me with a relationship that I have been struggling with. My understanding of this, if we want the right to judge a person and tell them where they are screwing up, 1. we should have been there ourselves and know our way out 2. be of service. Don’t watch someone tear their life a part doing the same stupid things you did and do nothing. Step up to the plate and say, here let me help you with this. If they don’t want help move on in life, don’t fight with them, don’t call them names or condemn them to hell. We have no idea what God’s plans are for anyone, and it is not our place to dictate to God what should happen to a person who we have judged to have sinned, lest we want them to return the favor. Basically, learn when to keep your mouth shut! Thanks again Dan!

  75. Bess, you are certainly welcome and thanks for the encouragement. I think you are on the right track with how to apply this passage in real life. Praying for you to live provocatively as you love God with all you are and your neighbor as yourself.
    Dan

  76. Dear Jim,
    I agree with what you are saying in a certain sense. Ultimately only God can judge us in terms of salvation or condemnation. However, my concern about saying that only God can judge and never man, is that it becomes understood to mean that we are unable to ever determine right and wrong and declare it to be so. In John 7:24 Jesus said to “stop judging by mere appearances and judge correctly”. In other words there is a right way and a wrong way to judge. Sometimes he simply have to determine that someones behavior is wrong, sinful. If someone is regularly sneaking into their neighbors driveway and syphoning gasoline out of their neighbors car, then they are stealing and for me to judge that behavior as sinful and wrong it totally appropriate. In fact to not judge such behavior as sinful stealing is to actually do a disservice to both the thief and the victim. So I go back to my point in the blog, Jesus was not saying that we are to never judge. He was saying that we are to be extremely careful in our judging that we are not guilty of hypocrisy by being even more guilty of the same sins as we accuse others of being.
    Dan

  77. I have just come across this site in my search for comments on the Matthew chapter 7 passage. I have some friends in a well-known cult who are currently using this to stop others who are very concerned for them from discussing the differences between what the cult teaches and what Christianity teaches. Thanks for all the insights, everybody.

    It has been my experience that most of the time people who use the passage (“Judge not lest ye be judged”) are in fact doing so to imply that those who might confront an issue are always wrong to confront the issue. But, of course, that changes the subject from the behavior in question to the motives of the person questioning it. And then it’s easy to be sidetracked in the weeds of blame, while the original topic is (conveniently?) side-stepped.

    Even common sense sans any religious context informs us that we must make choices and every choice we make is based on a judgement. Every health and safety promoting law, regulation, ordinance, ruling, etc., for example, comes first from a judgement. It’s not that anyone is saying the person who, for example, jay walks, or who drives 70 mph in a 40 mph zone, or who pays the rent late is a bad person. Those who do such things (including perhaps us from time to time) are simply people who do something that has been deemed harmful in some way to themselves or to others. We don’t pull a toddler from the street because he or she is a bad little person, for another example. We do it so he or she does not get hit by a car. (Thus, it is possible to love the sinner and hate the sin–which is another related topic often brought up by those who engage in the argument when it comes to more serious transgressions.)

    And, anyway, in a discussion around sin and judgement I am often reminded of what Jesus said about such matters: ” And when he (Jesus is here referencing the coming of the Holy Spirit) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16: 8-11, KJV).

    Jesus, whom Christians believe to be the only perfect One, therefore, the only One Who can “throw the stones,” or “lay the blame,” if you will, did so by taking the blame–yours, mine, his, hers–with Him to the cross and there allowed, once and for all time, the punishment for sin to be meted out on His own body. And yet, each one is still invited to accept that. Or not.

    Understanding that, why would I NOT deal with my own shortcomings? Why would I NOT tell my loved ones of the power of the cross, the grace of it, the extraordinary love of it? And invite them to apply the power of Christ’s love to their sins: addictions, bad habits, harmful practices?

    You see, the power of the cross is an invitation. Jesus took the condemnation. Not only that, He is now our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30). May the light of understanding guide us in comprehending that extraordinary gift.
    Phyllis, pnissila.wordpress.com

  78. Phyllis, I will repeat what I have pointed out before. Go back to adam and eve, the original sin that made them abhorent to God, was judgement. The ” eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil”, is merely symbolism for judgement. And I understand that it is very hard for people to accept this, because our vanity makes us want so much, to judge others. As the saying goes, we first have to realize ourselves, that we have a problem, before we can begin to remedy it.

  79. Kevin,
    I have disagree with you on the symbolism of the sin of Adam and Eve. Of course I realize ahead of time that you have already stated that this will be hard for me to accept because of vanity. There is nothing in the biblical literature to show that eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil was a symbolism for judgement. The sin of Adam and Eve was that they thought the eating of the fruit would make them like God. That was what the temptation was and that was what they desired. Their sin and all our sin ever since then is based on that. We want to be God. We have made idols of ourselves and we want to replace God. You see, denying that judgement was the sin is not based on my vanity. Instead it is based on the fact that I and all other human beings are wretched sinners who have sought to overthrow God from every area of life.
    I really don’t want to judge others. It is too much of a hassle and causes me too much grief. But there are times when I am required out of love for them and for Christ, to point out sin in their lives, call them to repent, and do whatever I can to restore them to a relationship with Christ. Of course I need to do that for myself even more and need others to do it for me. Out sin is a matter of huge self-deception. Sometimes we absolutely must have a brother or sister in Christ call us on it in order to shake us out of our downward spiral.
    Tell me, if you were in some serious sin obsession in your life that you couldn’t control, but at the same time were ashamed to admit, wouldn’t you want someone who knew you well and loved you deeply to call you on it and then offer to walk beside you to correct it? Or what if you didn’t realize the sin? What if for instance you had a huge problem with, anger, or racism, or some other sin. Everyone around you knew you had a problem with it because it oozed out of you and impacted them but you just didn’t see it. Wouldn’t you want someone to lovingly come alongside you and say, Kevin, I love you but man you have a problem with anger and I want to help you? That is what we mean by the biblical example of discerning sin, judging it for what it is and helping someone grow passed it. I just don’t understand what the issue is what that?
    Dan

  80. Kevin,
    I realize you and I may never agree on this issue, but just out of curiosity, what do you call it when society calls murder, assault, robbery, etc., wrong, or when a jury or a judge comes to a decision?

    Even Jesus, a little later in the the Matthew text (chapter 7), after he finishes commenting on hypocrites, does imply to go ahead and “pull the mote” out of another’s eye (even if one might have to remove one much bigger out of one’s own, first).

    And why is it hard to imagine that we must sometimes “judge” a behavior? I know I’ve explained this in my previous post, and I think others have also shed a lot of light on this, but there still seems to be some fundamental point of yours I am missing, I think. Care to clarify?

    I hope it’s not because you feel you’ve been given up on because somebody, feigning God, declared you lost forever. The Good News is still Good, please know…

    Sincerely,
    Phyllis, pnissila.wordpress.com

  81. Dan,just one question. What is the knowledge of good and evil, if not judgement? Just wondering. Come on, you’re a bright guy, I know you can do it.

  82. No fair Kevin. I asked you a questions first. I know Jesus did the whole, “I will answer you if you answer me’ thing but I won’t. 🙂 What about the scenario I gave you in my last reply?
    The short answer to your questions is this, prior to eating of that tree they had no experience of good and evil and could not have judged anything. So how could eating that tree be judgement? If you have no knowledge of evil you cannot discern what is evil and judge it. No, their sin was disobedience of God. If judging is always a sin as you say then Jesus statement in John 7:24 telling us to Judge correctly must be understood as telling us to sin correctly. That my friend just doesn’t wash
    Dan

  83. If you are obeying God, you are not making a judgement call but following his wisdom. The truth is if you are still seeing things in a worldly way you will not be able to properly assess what is spiritually wrong with your neighbor. We are all sinful and most people struggle with different sins so for me to say I can tell you about your sin because I don’t have an issue with and not address my own would be wrong. Also you should not hold people to your own morals. You can only address the wrong that God has reveal to you to address. There are some things that God has given us the wisdom to address to certain people at certain time but that does not include forcing everyone you meet to do something because of God told you or told you to tell a particular person to do something or something was wrong.

    Upholding God’s word is not judgment. There are ways that we apply his laws in reference to our everyday life what is judgment. We can’t make those judgment calls without taking care of our own shortcoming and getting closer to God. Solomon did not become as wise as he was by himself. He was able to make sound judgment because of God’s blessing. God expects us to have a relationship with him and turn away from our sins so that we can clearly see how to help others. That is why a lot of God’s people refer to themselves as servants. Also that Jesus told his disciples that the greatest among you would serve the others.

    A person still struggling with sin like most or us are can still share the love of Jesus Christ and let people know what the bible says which is the living word. None of us here wrote the bible so obeying the bible and letting us know how God wants us to live is not a judgment call but obedience.

  84. Adam’s sin was disobedience. Sin is disobedience of God. That is why a lot of people in the present has issue with some things that God told people back in the day because they feel it is wrong because of what God commanded later. The thing some things were not considered wrong until God said they were. This whole thing where people bring up the old testament is ignorant because of two things. That covenant was made with the children of Israel. When Jesus died, his death allowed the old covenant to change and form a new covenant which is different. Also if you are not Israelite than you are a Gentile Christian or gentile saint. Gentile Christians were never under the old covenant to begin with. Those that read the bible know this because there are books tin the bible that address this.

    People who take the word out of context knowingly or not knowing are wrong and should stop. I believe there is a curse upon those that add or take away from the word. Please be careful not to fall under that. I pray that as I continue to grow in the Lord, I do not harm anyone by misrepresenting the word.

  85. Adam and Eve Rejected Gods rules. Satan rejected Gods rules. Bot accounts were about the denial of Gods absolute authority over their lives.
    God provided their every need, however they desired more. I am guilty of the same whenever I refuse to allow God to rule my life. All of my life, not just the parts I choose to give him. Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 when He says, “I desire obediance, not sacrifice” he then tells them to “Go” learn what this means.
    The Hebrew word relates more like this, “I desire Covenant Love no meaningless rituals”
    He desires a TRUE relationship from us.
    Jesus says, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you . . .” Matthew 7:21 – 23
    The only sin that is unforgivable is rejecting (Blaspheming) the Holy Spirit. Matt.12

    As for Judging, I welcome it from all of my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, it helps me grow in Christ daily. Read what Paul says slowly please.
    For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12, 13 ESV)
    Please remember however, Christian Brothers and Sisters in Christ, the words of Paul to Timothy: 5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, 7  wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.
    Paul warns us not to get caught up in fruitless conversations. One can not read these responses and not see judgement in each response, yet one may refuse to accept that one is judging.
    Therefore, it no longer is fruitful but deviceive.
    May all Sojourners of this world be in peace with our Holy God, the one and only Heavenly Lord
    May we all proclaim the good news of Christ Jesus, the only Son of God. May we seek him and find Him. His word is true, it does not contradict itself, we only need but to seek Him and all will become clear. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all other things will be added unto you.
    A gold read would be Psalm 14:1-3

    Are all not happy that, yet while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. What was the good news, Simply this, Christ died for ALL

  86. Hosea 6:6 “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”

    Matthew 9:13 “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

  87. Thanks for your insight, Dan. I agree with your assessment. Additionally, one thing that I try to remember is to approach a situation with “according to scripture…” or “Jesus said…” so that people understand that I am always pointing them to Jesus, not Jared. This removes the whole “who are you to judge me?” argument altogether.
    Another point of focus for me is that of repentance. I WANT the log removed from my own eye! Some who use the “judge not” argument to justify their sin are not repentant of that sin, and that is the core of the problem.

  88. Im afraid you could not have misudnerstood these passages more. How odd you should read “‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?” as a license to judge others. Can the log or even the speck ever be out of your own eye? We are all sinners, no matter what. And judging someone’s actions is not the same as judging a person. Its best to not cast yourself in the role of God. He will do the judging.

  89. The best way to figure out when we should and shouldn’t judge ourselves and each other and behaviors in general is to remember that the New Testament was originally written in Greek, find a Greek interlinear Bible and look things up.

    The basic Greek word for the verb “to judge” is “krino” and is often used in that form to mean “to pass judgment on, to condemn.” “Judge (krino) not, lest ye be judged (krino).” We shouldn’t be in a hurry to pass sentence on others because we may be deserving of the same sentence and if we desire mercy from God, then we too should show mercy.

    If the prefix “ana-” is added in front of “krino”, it means “to discern” as in discerning good from evil. Another form of the word that means “discern” is “kritikos”. In the New Testament, we are basically commanded to judge (anakrino) in this way, that is, to discern what God would have us do. We don’t have a choice in this matter. What we mustn’t do is base our discernment on our own opinion. [Notice, when we judge others based on God’s judgment, we are instruments of God’s judgment, not our own. This is what we are commanded to do. However, too many discern their own opinion and give credit to God. You must never base judgment on your own opinion.]

    If the prefix “dia-” is added in front of “krino”, it means “to settle a dispute or render a decision” but it can also mean “to waver or to doubt.” We are in some cases commanded to diakrino (render a decision based on discerning the will of God) but are often condemned for diakrino (doubting, waivering) between God and the world.

    The word “krisis” is the form of the word that is used to pass judgment as to whether or not a person goes to heaven or hell. This belongs to God alone.

    The word “krites” is used to express “having the authority to judge”. God has this authority to judge (krites) over all but sometimes we may have authority over certain matters.

    If the prefix “hupo-” is added to “krites” then the person does not have the authority because they are guilty of what they are judging others of doing.

    If you read the New Testament carefully, you will notice we are told to judge and to not judge by the same person, whether it is Jesus, one of the twelve, or Paul, and sometimes we are told to both judge and not judge back to back, within the same context. This may be confusing to people who don’t study the Bible carefully. If you study the New Testament carefully, however, you will notice these patterns:

    We are forbidden to judge “based on our own opinion”. Judgment belongs to God. If God says something is right or wrong, however, then we are required to discern God’s judgement in what we and others do. In other words, we are forbidden to not pass judgement as God commands us. Therefore we are required to study God’s word and submit to his teaching so that we can discern how we and others are to behave. Therefore we are commanded to anakrino, to kritikos and untimately, to diakrino (in the meaning of to render a decision) as to what God says we should do. However, we are often condemned when we diakrino (when we waiver or doubt in our faith or in our choice between God and the world). We must never krisis because only God can judge whether we go to heaven or hell. We are sometimes called to krites, judge with authority, but we must first make sure we are not hupocrites because we fail in the same way as the person we are judging and thus lose our authority.

    Hope this helps. There are several good interlinear Bibles (showing both the Greek and the English together) on line now.

  90. No no and no again. It is abundandly clear that Jesus does not want us to be judgmental, from Him stopping the stoning of Maria Magdalene to Him praying for his torturers and crucifers without judging them. Him saying that we should love our enemies, and so many examples of how he wanted us to save people with love and not by judging them. But is an inconvenient truth (no Al Gore pun intended) to those who use the Bible as an instrument to advance their agendas

    Regardless of the arguments the relality is that the potential for misuse and abuse of the “righteous ones” is huge, dangerous and history has proven it, from the crusades to the puritans to the Spaniards’ treatment of the indigenous populations of America. If you think Jesus wanted us to mass murder people you ought to have your head examined.

    Matthew 7 1-3 is crystal clear, so is Luke 6:37-42. Don’t judge, don’t condemn, forgive.

  91. Dear Pepe,
    We need to make a distinction between judging and condeming, since the Bible often does. I agree we are not to exercise the kind of judging that results in condemnation. However, I will again make the point that we are not to ignore sin, in ourselves or others. When a brother or sister is in sin the Bible tells us to work to rescue and restore them to holy living. How can I do that unless I first determine that what they are doing is sin? Certainly if I am trapped in sin, I want someone to come to me and say, “Dan, this is sin, you need to turn away from that. I love you and want to help you do so”. That’s all I am saying. And I think that is what Jesus calls us to. Don’t condem people but also don’ ignore sin. When the woman was caught in adultery in John 8, Jesus said, neither do I condem you, go and sin no more. He did not condem her but he did determine, “judge”, that what she was doing was sinful and that she needed to stop.
    Dan

  92. Dear Ocey,
    Apparently Jesus thinks you can take the log out of your own eye since He clearly says, first do that, then help your brother with his speck. If it was not possible, why didn’t Jesus say, you can never take the log out of your own eye?
    Dan

  93. Except that in the original Greek “μη κρίνετε ίνα μη κριθειτε,” “κρίνετε” means “condemn,” not “judge.” Do not condemn, lest you be condemned.

    Of course created in God’s Image, humans are rational beings with His Gift of judgement. This is not an admonition against the ability to ascertain good from evil but an admonition to self-righteous condemnation.

  94. Pam,

    You are correct in that κρινετε can mean condemn, however this is not universally true, even in the New Testament. For example, John 7:24, which I have referenced before, Jesus says, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment”. In the Greek is it this, “μη κρινετε κατ οψιν αλλα την δικαιαν κρισιν κρινατε” Clearly Jesus is not telling us to condemn people but still uses κρινετε and its cognates.
    Dan

  95. Dear Ocey,
    Apparently Jesus thinks you can take the log out of your own eye since He clearly says, first do that, then help your brother with his speck. If it was not possible, why didn’t Jesus say, you can never take the log out of your own eye?
    Dan

    Dan,

    The sentence is an implied one – it is philosophical. Jesus knows that, as a human being, you can never get the log out of your own eye. To remove everything would leave you sinless yet we know that isn’t possible. No one other than God is without sin. If that isn’t true what did Jesus die for?

    7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 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.

    So to judge another persons sins means that yours too will be judged.. but they will be judged by God. You will be that one in front of God in the end saying “Lord, Lord” and he will say “get away from me you evil doer”. Won’t a lot of people be really surprised that day.

  96. Lee,

    Let me ask you this, are we to never determine that someone is or has committed a particular sin? That is the real issue here. People interpret Matthew 5 in such a way, as you seem to here, that leads me to understand that we are never, ever, to say that what someone else is doing is a sin. If that is true, then why are we told things like Matthew 18 that when someone sins against us we are to go to them and forgive them. How can I do that if I have not first determined that they have sinned?

    Dan

  97. Lee,

    Let me ask you this, are we to never determine that someone is or has committed a particular sin? That is the real issue here. People interpret Matthew 5 in such a way, as you seem to here, that leads me to understand that we are never, ever, to say that what someone else is doing is a sin. If that is true, then why are we told things like Matthew 18 that when someone sins against us we are to go to them and forgive them. How can I do that if I have not first determined that they have sinned?

    Dan

    Dan,

    You seem to take things out of context within the Bible. Lets put them back into context and then discuss them.

    Mathew 18:15-17 is discussing sin that occurs within the church. Notice that it does not discuss what happens outside so we are discussing people within a like-minded belief system.

    Dealing With Sin in the Church

    15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

    But then that is followed up with a parable:

    The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

    21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

    22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[g]

    23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

    26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

    28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

    29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

    30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

    32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

    35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

    Jesus isn’t asking you to “judge” your brothers and sisters within the church. A sin is a transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate. Jesus asks you to work it out with them, not to point fingers, but to go to them, have a discussion about their transgression and then to forgive them. And if they refuse to do that to ask them to leave the flock.

  98. But the last statement of the parable gives a better insight – “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart”. So if you get to the point that you are asking them to leave the flock you had better be right and free of sin. The parable is about forgiveness – not sin. The implication is that the greatest sin is not forgiving. That is after all what Jesus did for all. He forgave and gave his life for that forgiveness.

  99. Lee,
    How do I point out someone’s transgression and ask them to leave the flock if the refuse to repent, without judging that they have sinned?

    How can something be about forgiveness and not also, to some degree be about sin and determining that something it sin? In order to forgive don’t I have to have first determined, judged, that a sin has taken place?

    Dan

  100. Dan,

    Well, if someone within your church is committing adultery do you need to “judge” that they have sinned or do you know that they have sinned? You don’t have to determine that something is a sin – you have been given a guide. There are 10 commandments from God that list what a sin is. If someone does something off this list they have sinned.

    1 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
    2 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.
    3 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
    4 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
    5 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
    6 “You shall not murder.
    7 “You shall not commit adultery.
    8 “You shall not steal.
    9 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    10 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

  101. Lee
    The whole point of dealing with the phrase “judge not” is because people use that phrase to say that we cannot tell the person who is committing adultery that they are wrong. You and I might say that it is obviously wrong but there are growing numbers of people who would use the words of Jesus to mean that we cannot say that. You have actually made my point for me without using the word judge. Jesus himself tells us in John 7 to judge rightly. You have just done so in the case of the person in adultery. You have not condemned them, which is a form of judging that we are not permitted to do. But you have declared that they have sinned, which is a judgement we are to do, yet humbly and with recognition of our own sin.

    What is not permitted is a self-righteous, holier than thou attitude that is so often found in religious people.

    Dan

  102. Just a thought to those who say we should not judge, if someone robbed you or killed someone you care about would you still feel that you should not judge them or would you insist that they have to deal with the consequences for their sins? If you believe it is wrong to judge someone else, then you might want to think about your own actions and thoughts when it becomes you that has been wronged in some way.

  103. And what about “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”?
    Despite your attempt at rationalization, I would maintain that the spirit of the verse and Jesus’ overtall teachings as presented in the Bible are clearly IT’S NOT YOUR PLACE TO JUDGE OTHERS. Period. Try some tolerance and acceptance. It’s good for the soul.

  104. Gunge: If there were to be no judgement for sin Jesus died for nothing. And He did, in fact, judge the woman you referenced in your post, above. He told her to “go and sin no more,” so in effect, He judged her behavior as sin. The gripe with her accusers was their hypocrisy. In addition, He was illustrating in that little vignette His role as our Redeemer. The woman, as a type of us, was due justice, but Jesus intervened (in her case, in the near future. In our case, 2000 years ago, but in effect, “at the foundation of the world,” Ephesians 1:4) He does the same for anyone who will accept this gift. Are you a believer?

  105. Gunge: I keep thinking about the judgement issue. Because I have been a studying believer for almost 40 years, the responses above seem clear to me; however, I realize that for you they might not be “scratching the existential itch” you might say. And it might just be that we, those who write on the nuances of the issue from a logical, exegetical or even a literary point of view, might never be able to address the crux of your concern unless it stems from cynicism in which case as the saying goes, you will always be right ;). The nature of free will indicates a plethora of interpretation perhaps the only safe position being the cynic’s. For awhile, anyway. But, to your quest for ultimate meaning (and you seem sincere) may I suggest you forget about all of us for a moment and just ask, flat out, what God thinks on the matter? Even if you don’t necessarily believe in God.
    Best,
    A cynic-turned-believer (but I’m not too scary ;))
    Phyllis

  106. you can say it, but say it in love. you don’t beat the issue of right and wrong into the ground. people want one extreme or the other. you are to lead them to righteousness by example, not push them into it with words.

  107. I’m a Christian, but I’m also a realist. It seems to me, that quite a few people accept Christ, become Christians and think…. “Cool, now I get to judge others”. Wrong! We do not have the right to judge others, simply put. Many Christians use Judgement to take the focus off themselves, their sins and their shortcomings to nail someone else to the cross, so someone elses sin will be noticed instead of theirs. If you’ve ever been harshly judged (as I have been, in the past), you know how uncomfortable that feels and how stupid & hypocritical the judging person looks… you will not want to put someone else thru that. judging is self-righteous, pompous and arrogant before God & Christ.

  108. Dear Patk
    I understand the hurt and frustration of being judged unfairly having gone through it myself a time or two. Judging that comes from a self righteous attitude is exactly what Jesus speaks against. My concern with the way people throw around the phrase, “judge not lest you be judged” is that people use it to say there is no right and wrong and no one has the right to tell another person that what they are doing is wrong. Scripture is equally clear that when someone sins against us we are to go to them and seek reconciliation or when we see someone stumble into sin we are to restore them. One cannot do either of those things without first determining that a sin has been committed. If I come to someone in all humility, acknowledging my own weakness while trying to help them get out of the trap of sin then I think I am doing what Christ would have me do. I certainly hope that people who love me would do that when I fall into sin.
    Dan

  109. There are as many ways to intrepid the Bible, as there are people that can read. The apostles did ask ,Jesus, to teach them how to pray. The Our Father, if you read it slowly ,and not just recite words that you’ve memorized over the years, this easy to understand prayer says it all, without some one telling you what it means. Jesus also gave us only 1 commandment, Love God with all your heart and soul and love your neighbor as I have loved you. Jesus also says the 3 things that are most Impotent….Faith, Hope & Love. of these 3 Love is the greatest. I am not going to post what page, verse and Gospel these are from better you read it for yourself. this way you can read in what context it was said. Hopefully it will make someone actually read the Bible, what I consider a timeless guide for life.

  110. Hi Dan, amazing that this post has generated 3.5 years (and counting) of comment!! I was wondering if you have read Bonhoeffer’s “Ethics”. It is somewhere near the beginning, in his discussion on the Pharisees, that he reflects on this Christian teaching about judging (I’ll have a go at summarising from memory but it’s best to read “Ethics” – anyone please correct me if I’m not doing Bonhoeffer justice).

    I think he would generally agree with your conclusions but would want to go further in identifying what is wrong with judging – that by doing so I place myself outside the saving judgement of Christ, where I am plunged into the power of evil and self-deception.

    It is not our task to judge as such, as if judging correctly were itself an activity distinct from acting, but we do need to actively discern God’s will OR put another way, we need to do God’s will in a discerning way (I’m trying to put discernment and action together so they’re not seen as two separate moments but one).

    So perhaps Bonhoeffer would say that we do not judge for ourselves, but rather, we participate in Christ’s saving judgement. By the Holy Spirit we are given light to see and the strength to respond in love, in mercy, in forgiveness, in words that build up, etc – whatever is required.

    This teaching rings true for me especially since I have been on the receiving end of judging once or twice regarding big life decisions that I’ve made. The main problem was that the judger came to the conclusion that I was ‘off track’ mostly by thinking to himself, discussing with others, and then praying hard about his thoughts and discussions. By that time he had formed his own perception of my situation quite apart from an actual familiarity with my situation. He was convinced that I was making some massive mistakes (i.e. leaving the Catholic seminary and getting engaged a few months later) and that he had a duty to say something. We resolved things in the end (he was to be my best man) but I think the main problem was that there was too much of a focus for him on judging the situation for himself and not enough real active discernment which would have meant placing himself in the situation (spending time with me) and listening to God.

    The Pharisees judged from a distance in order to master the law and to condemn, but Christ judges from the intimacy of our hearts in order to save us.

  111. Dear Cameron,

    I love Bonhoeffer and have read Ethics. BTW, have you read Eric Metaxis biography on Bonhoeffer? It is one of the best books I have read in some time. Anyway to your point, yes, the best “judging” comes in the context of a relationship with Christ and with the other person. The motivation has to be that we love the other person and Christ. When someone I know loves me deeply comes and points out an area of sin in my life, I can receive that because I can see Christ in the relationship. When someone comes to point out the same sin, but it is from a distance, and I know they really just want to fix me according to their definitions, then it is hard to receive that because it is hard to see Christ in it.The relationship has to include the person getting my side of the story and understanding what I think Christ is saying to me. Your story of your friend and seminary is a great example of who even a person close to us can get it wrong if they leave Christ out of the equation.
    Thanks for your comments.
    One final thing, as to this post still being so active after three and a half years, it amazes me the number of hits I get on this post. It is the number one post by far, generating more than 100 hits a day on a regular basis. Clearly we have some serious confusion over what Jesus said about judging.
    Dan

  112. Dear Dan,

    Indeed, the role of truth and intelligence in our moral/political/social lives is surrounded by so much confusion.

    I haven’t read Eric Metaxis but would be interested in having a look.

    In the last few days I’ve been pondering the meaning of Matt 7:3: “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” This ‘log’ is strong language, clearly exaggeration, but nonetheless, clearly employed by Jesus for a reason. I wonder what it could mean? If the splinter in my brother’s eye is some kind of singular isolated fault that can be seen on close examination, the log in my own eye must be, in contrast, infinitely more significant, more dangerous, more detrimental to my vision than the splinter is to my brother’s.

    Any inspired thoughts?

    Cameron

  113. Dan, injustice stumbled on this site 2-3 days ago and have spent those days reading every post and almost every reply. I have enjoyed reading and tend to agree with much of what you say but, not all. I am not ‘new’ to this life though I am far from grown. I grew up in ‘church’ and was even baptized at age12. I turned my back on my saviour within a couple yes, one because of adolescent and foolish shame, two, because of wrongs done me in the name of Jesus by a family member. This caused me to spend @20 yrs in such a horrific
    downward spiral mostly of my own undoing. I cursed God and told Him where He could go and also what He could do with Himself. A few yes ago I was brought to my knees via my own smartalec tongue. Since that time I have pursued Him with such a single-mindedness that those who know me have elevated my status from crazy to outright insane.(still just crazy tho) My point, however, is that some folks will not be convinced. Notice I said ‘will knot’s and not, cannot’. Often times peeping in as an observer to these conversations I am reminded (actually it starts playing in my head) of a megadeth song called symphony of destruction. In it are the lyrics ‘…the world don’t wanna be saved, only left alone..’. I was one of those masses. I had a been there done that burnt the tshirt attitude. It wasn’t until the Lord Himself yanked me up by the collarand said “Look at Me!” with such fierce compassion and longing that I was finally able to drop my hands in surrender. Since then He has been about such a marvelous work of pulverizing my monumental mountain of pride into dust and ashes. Don’t know why I say it but, there you have it.
    with love in the One that was and is and is to come

  114. One final note to add to anyone ‘listening’ Pray! Pray fervently and without ceasing. This is our mightiest work that we are to be about in our Father’s Kingdom

  115. I am quite sure that, when Dan wrote his interpretation of “Judge not, lest ye be judged” he had no intention of hurting anyone or telling everyone to go around judging others. His interpretation was meant to clarify and that is all. I really enjoyed it and gave me something to ponder. I also think that the phrase is talking about people who judge others souls, not their actions on earth. In other words, when a judge in a courtroom condemns a man to death, he also adds may God have mercy on his soul. The judge understands he is not sending him to hell, only ending his life on earth. Remember when Christ said ” Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and give to God what is God’s. You must be judged here in this world when you commit a crime (usually a sin), but God is the only one who can judge your soul after death. Thanks Dan, I wish I had had more than a second grade education maybe I could write something a bit more eloquently.
    And please, everyone, don’t condemn a man for writing an excellent explanation of the phrase “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” If you think your explanation is better, than write it, without the negativity.
    Semper Fi,
    Glen, USMC, Retired

  116. There is a back story to this quote.

    Jesus had been telling parables to the masses. When he finished, he and his disciples were returning home, and one of his disciples asked Jesus, “Why do you tell these lame parables? Why don’t you tell them the stuff you tell us? The really good stuff?”

    And Jesus replied, “Don’t judge what they can see and hear by what you can see and hear. They often aren’t the same. The masses are where they are and you are where you are. Telling them what they are not ready to hear and cannot yet hear is rather arrogant of you, don’t you think? Kind of showing off. Everyone is where they are for a reason, and your telling them otherwise is an injustice.”

    I’d like to think he also said, “So stick a sock in it!”, but then they all wore sandals.

    Cheers!
    Wayne

  117. Completely disagree. If read in terms of Luke 6:31, Matthew 7:1-5,12 it would have the meaning that one should not judge others by ones own standards unless prepared to be judged by the standards of others. The concept that others would hold us to standards of our own design is unfathomable.

  118. I don’t agree completely . Ie how can One be judged for being an adulterer( when they arent ) for confronting a person who is and imforming them of their wrongdoing ? That’s not fair to be judged for adultery when one hasn’t committed it . Judge not negates Nothing . Sin is sin and I can’t fathom sharing with someone what they are doing Is wrong but to be judged for somethimg one isn’t guilty of is well not rights

  119. The prohibition on judgement results from the impossibility of removing entirely our own sin. If I am to start internally before moving into external judgement I should never get there. This was the genius of it. Anyone who judges another’s sin, real or perceived, and uses his Christianity as basis, must be thought to be aware of this admonition. So his expression can only serve to demonstrate that he believes his eye to be free of log, stick, speck and sliver. It is the stone so heavy it cannot be lifted! The added caveat is later as Jesus says that the measure we are judged is the measure by which we will be judged in heaven. One can barely imagine an argument that says Jesus’ meant all can judge when he began “judge not.” My faults and sins will be with me until reckoning, I should spend the time between now and then working on them. If I do the world would be better served than if I pause to point your sins out.

  120. Let’s assume you are correct. How then does one apply Matthew 18 in which Jesus tells us that if someone sins against us we are to go to them and point out their sin for the purpose of bringing repentance and reconciliation? In order to obey Jesus in Matthew 18 I would have to determine, i.e. judge, that the other person has in fact sinned and point that out to them. How I have explained the passage allows it to fit with Matthew 18. The way you have explained it makes following Matthew 18 impossible.

  121. I can judge bisexuals as wrong simply because I am willing to be judged as a bisexual when I know I;m heterosexual therefore you can get away with being a bigot towards gay people

  122. Jimmy, how do you define bigot? It seems to be the accusation du jour to which there is no acceptable response. This is especially true when being a bigot means simply thinking or saying that someone else is doing something wrong. So if I think that something is a sin does that automatically make me a bigot?
    Dan

  123. I think this verse means be kind to yourself and others because a judgemental outlook is painful to yourself and others. And if you see someone hurting themselves or others, counsel them if you think they are ready to receive counselling.

  124. Wow. That’s all I can say is wow. That and thank Jefferson for the separation of church and state. You’re obviously a right wing douche nozzle from some red state. You are clearly setting the stage for the slippery slope of judging other people that are not of your religion. What may seem right to you as a Christian is not right in other cultures and you have absolutely no business judging or persecuting them. You just pissed all over Jesus. Congratulations you right wing douche bag. I hope you burn in hell.

  125. Dear Seattle,
    I find it fascinating that you would be someone who says we are not to judge anyone else then go on to write a comment that is filled with nothing but vitriol and ad hominem arguments. You started by saying that all you could say is wow. You may have done better to leave it at that. Let me ask you a question. Are you saying that it is never acceptable under any circumstances to say someone else is wrong? That certainly appears to be what you are advocating. Yet you have stated very clearly that you think I am wrong.
    You state that I have no business persecuting other religions. Agreed. But when have I done so? Or are you equating disagreement with persecution? If so what happens to diversity of opinion and freedom of expression? You thank Jefferson for the separation of church and state, as do I. Where in this post do you see anything to contradict that and call for a merger of the two? On your final comment that you hope I burn in hell, could there be anything more judgmental and contrary to the love of Christ? What makes us different is that I try to point out what I believe to be truth so people will not burn in hell, while you point it out in hopes they do.
    Dan

  126. Way to misinterpret the bible to try and validate your own sin. What this scripture means is to focus or work on your own spiritual conditioning rather than pointing the finger of judgement to someone else. Remember that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. How can a sinner judge another sinner? He can’t. Only God can judge us.

  127. Impressive that your post is still receiving replies after four years, so well done for that. As to your reasoning, that is another matter. If you are a Christian, then you must be aware that we are all sinners before god. There is no standard of judgement by which every human being would not be a sinner worthy of damnation.

    Remember the story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus does not say, let he who has never committed adultery cast the first stone, he says let he who is without sin cast the first stone. The Catholics have a joke based on that story. A rock goes flying by, and Jesus yells, “Mother!” Protestants, since they do not profess the immaculate conception, do not even exclude Mary from the taint of human sin, so the joke is lost on them
    I guess what I am trying to remind all of us, followers of Christ! is that we must learn to focus on the beam in our own eye, instead of the speck in our brother’s eye.

    Finally a passage upon which to meditate:
    From the gospel of St. John
    39Jesus said,a “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

    40Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

    41Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

    Be careful when you claim to be able to see the sins of others, and remember Jesus did not come into the world for the just, but for sinners.

  128. Maybe I am just looking at it too simply, but identifying a behavior as sin is not the same thing as judging. God defined sinful behavior, adultery, lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, homosexuality, etc. He listed many kinds of behaviors as sins. God did this, I didn’t. So, to identify a behavior that God has already said is sinful, is not in any way judging.

  129. I read this missive until the author whatever the hell his name is got into partisan politics. No one needs to hear about Al Gore- good , bad, or indifferent. Plus anyone who needs to mix religion and politics is a loser in by book and not worth reading.

  130. This is such a great perspective and one that I share. I had a friend use the begginning part of this verse against me, and im not a person who can easily remember the bible verses, but immediately it came to me… And i told him he was forgetting the later half. After i delibered it up, we had a good chat and i felt like it was a winning moment, not in me putting him down, but in how he reacted in such a positive way. We all need love, sometimes especially atheists.

  131. I was hoping for some guidance from those of the faith. I grew up Non-denominational and converted to Catholicism prior to getting married in 2005. My wife and I have been together for 11 years as of right now. Her and I had our issues throughout the marriage, like most couples, however, I always dealt with my anger of a situation alone and never said a word. My wife had no idea that anything was wrong, until this past January when she discovered I had entered into an affair for the previous 6 months. On top of that, I got my wife pregnant in October. After I was caught, my wife and I went to Retrovaile which is a Catholic based couples retreat to spawn communication and hopefully save the marriage.

    Unfortunately, I had continued the affair and was caught again in April, caught again in May, and finally my wife just decided that it was over and let me go to do my thing. 2 weeks ago, I ended the affair after over a year and wanted to be there for my boys. My wife said there is no feelings for me and I honestly have no feelings for her. She is important to me as we have 11 years of history and she is the mother of my two little boys.

    I know that I essentially played both women. I am madly in love with the woman I had an affair with. Truthfully, I do not really want to work it out with my wife. I want to be with the other woman. However, I feel like I’m stuck in between a rock and a hard place. My wife isn’t a bad person, we have a lot of things that need to be fixed and I caused a significant amount of pain. Also, I know my values and I have been going against them the whole time and have had a very difficult time handling that. My boys are the most important thing to me but I do not feel that staying together for the boys sake is healthy, nor is staying in a loveless marriage healthy. On top of that, my family (mom and 2 younger sisters) are showing me conditional love (in my opinion). Excuse my language when I say I really fucked up. I’d like some guidance as I am leaning toward divorce but am afraid of the repercussion from my family. They are important to me. but then again, I’m afraid of leaving the safety of my wife, although there is no guarantee that I can save the marriage. Please help me.

  132. Dear LL,

    I write as a fellow Catholic and a married man.

    I would like to offer you some encouragement if I may. Your message appears to be quite honest and to the point, and it shows the burden that we take on ourselves whenever we act against what we know is right. Still, as you also said, sometimes doing the right thing can seem to be just as burdensome if not more so.

    I can’t offer a solution, but I want to comment on a few things you’ve said, one at a time.

    “I always dealt with my anger of a situation alone and never said a word.”
    I guess this means that your relationship lacked intimacy in certain areas. You were unable to be honest with her about certain things – things that can be difficult to share, especially if the other person is quite sensitive.

    “She is important to me as we have 11 years of history and she is the mother of my two little boys.”
    This is really important. You know that she is important to you, even though you say that you don’t have feelings for her (and vice versa). Still, you want to do what is best for your boys, you want to provide for them a solid foundation. Could I suggest that friendship with your wife may be more important at this stage than romantic love? When you made your vows on your wedding day, you promised to love one another through thick and thin, and perhaps, now, that means trying to ‘start again’ with a humble friendship. Perhaps what your boys need first of all is parents who are on good terms with one another. You’ll never be lovers if you’re not friends first.

    “My wife isn’t a bad person, we have a lot of things that need to be fixed and I caused a significant amount of pain. Also, I know my values and I have been going against them the whole time and have had a very difficult time handling that.”
    Yes, it is important that you open up your heart to the mercy of Jesus, who alone can bring you into right relationship with God and with your wife. Otherwise you will not find peace. He is the great healer and protector of marriage – while we are fickle and weak and unfaithful, Jesus is able to mend and guarantee our marriage promises, but it is important that we follow our deepest desires (to act in accordance with the truth) and not let ourselves be deceived by superficial desires (the grass is always greener on the other side).

    “My boys are the most important thing to me but I do not feel that staying together for the boys sake is healthy, nor is staying in a loveless marriage healthy.”
    True, but these are not your only alternatives. In fact, staying in a loveless marriage is probably not an option for you at all. Seek friendship with your wife. Be kind to her. Try to do nice things for her without seeking a reward. Let her tell you how much you hurt her without answering back. Look out for her, and think of all that you can do to help her. Seek to regain her trust, but be very patient. And pray, pray, pray for strength. There is no quick fix for relationships. But this is the best thing you can do for your boys. They will see that their father is a real man.

    Most of all, be encouraged. Sin only has power over us if we despair. In your prayer, ask the Lord for hope, so that you can do what is best for your family.

    In Christ,
    Cameron

  133. Very interesting blog piece, and the comments are also very inspiring. When I saw the last exchange, I decided to leave a comment here, to both of you, Dan and LL.

  134. Very interesting blog piece, and the comments are also very inspiring. When I saw the last exchange, I decided to leave a comment here, to both of you, Dan and LL.

    LL’s situation is very similar to my boyfriend, except that he took the opposite direction.
    He was a newly wed when we first met. He fell madly in love with me right after. We tried to oppress our feelings for 8 or 9 months, and stayed as friends without even seeing each other for nearly 6 months. But we were both suffering during that time, we honestly believed what was the “right or wrong doings”, so we willingly suffered for a honest marriage where the only dishonesty is that he did not love her as his wife, but a dear friend. They had a great friendship, and even after he could no longer pretend and decided that he had to leave, he still tried to leave in a way that harms her the least in his capacity.

    We had many disagreement and argument along this “damage minimizing” journey in which we agreed the basis that action shall be taken by gradual steps instead of a shortly noticed shock. I supported his decision and many things he did for her, although I didn’t necessarily always feel comfortable with. I felt that in that muddy situation, everyone was a victim.

    After more than one year’s talking, he moved out from his place. After that, his wife found out about us, and then changed her job and moved to another city with all his belongings, and donated the rest to charity without any notice. (he left everything in the house to her when he moved out as a temporary solution).
    Apparently regardless the efforts through out years, she is still hurt and in anger.

    But our understanding from this journey is, different people have different spiritual and emotional needs. To some people, a solid friendship is enough to sustain a marriage, like this lady. She sounds to me a kind person (I don’t know her), and a very devoted christian. But my boyfriend is different, he is also christian, but he has different spiritual and emotional needs from hers. To him, a solid friendship is not enough in a marriage.

    Therefore we are coming back to this discussion about “log in my eyes and speck in my brothers’.
    Before we make a judgement and help each other in a very specific case, we need to ask ourselves, although all human are equal, does equality mean identicalness?
    When we were born with different interests, different desires, different needs, how can I know that the other person has the same needs as me? Then, who am I to tell him what he needs in his life, for his life?

    It is exactly because that I worry that people would tend to tell me with their sincerity but from their experiences what is log or speck in my eyes, and would be kind enough to “help” me according to their knowings, I distanced myself from the church I went to. (I was never close to them before, anyway.)

    But through this terrible struggle, I realize that God does have a plan, and he has a “sick” sense of humor, the kind that makes me cry and feel being blessed and loved at the same time – our fate is in his hand, no matter what plan we make according to what we believe. He always has a way to make us learn and grow, in the most crystal clear way where we are left no room to avoid the deep fear we spend our life time to run away from: We all want to be good, but we are all sinners. In sin, we struggle, and we struggle to become good.

    Let me to finish with a quote from Nelson Mandela:

    “Religion, especially belief in the existence of a Supreme Being, has always been a controversial subject that splits nations and even families. But it is always best to treat the relationship between a man and his god as a purely personal affair, a question of faith and not of logic. No one has the right to prescribe to others what they should or should not believe in.” ~ Nelson Mandela from a letter to Mrs Deborah Opitz, written in Pollsmoor Prison, Cape Town, South Africa, 10 May 1989

  135. Well said and I agree.

    I spent years being taught the incorrect interpretation.

    Reading this sort of thing makes this atheist less bemused by Christians

  136. John

    Thank you for your comment. I am curious what led you to the blog. What are the incorrect interpretations you have heard in the past?
    Dan

  137. I find the scriptures pretty black and white. There are no grey areas. Obey me, blessings: disobey me, curses. IF/Then Full of if/then’s….if you do this, I will do this…. conversely, if you don’t do this…. then I will do this. He lays it out pretty plain, you can try to find all the loop-holes, wiggle room you want, your choice. It has always been your choice to obey or disobey, it will always be your choice. He is not going to make you do anything including obeying Him. Your choice. For two of the responders, what part of Thou shalt not commit adultery didn’t you understand? Doesn’t matter to me how you try to whitewash it, I am not the one who has to give account. He’s not the sweet little baby Jesus, laying in a manger anymore; when He comes again He is coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Judge of all the world. Keep playing your silly little games. Again you make choices, you have consequences. Oh my wife didn’t understand me, I have needs she was not meeting, what a crock of bull. If I was the other woman I’d watch out, if you cheated on your wife, you’ll cheat on her too. Ya, let’s all just say we are sinners and go out and do whatever we want. God will understand, after all we are just sinners! Let’s blame everybody for all our bad behavior. Hey I got it! Lets blame God, after all we had no say in being born sinners. What a bunch of wussies. Suck it up and be a man. Admit it, admit it to yourself that you have no intention of obeying God. Quit playing games. You are only kidding yourself, you are certainly not kidding Him. God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. God demands his bride be spotless, whixh means we believer, his bride, have to quit playing and call sin sin, we can’t keep tolerating bad behavior in the body of Christ, Paul certainty did not. Judgement begins in the house of the Lord. Do you not know you will be judging angels? How much more so those among you. We are not judging people we are judging their behavior. There will always be those who will do it acting superior, that is no reason to stop, anymore then ex-church members who claim they stop believing because of hypocrites. Give me a break. What kind of excuse is that! Wheat and tares, growing together, there are liars, thieves, gossips, wolves in sheep clothing, false prophets, false teachers, heck based on that I guess everyone should stop going to church and quit believing in God.

  138. God specifically points out how He wants to be worshiped, how we are to approach Him. I told you we have choices, you can do it His way or you can do it any other way that floats your boat. Your choice. He said; don’t commit adultery, don’t even look at a woman and lust after her, if you do you commit adultery. You can’t pick and choose what you want to obey or what you don’t want to obey; you can’t say I like this part of scriptures but I don’t like this part. You go down that path and that is the road that leads to destruction. If saying that is hateful, then John the Baptist, Jesus, the Apostles, all the prophets were hateful people. They told the people what was required of them by God, it was up to them to obey or not. It is my choice if I want to go around lusting after the woman I see. It is also Jesus choice to tell me on judgement day, depart from me, you can’t enter into my kingdom. 1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
    Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Now are we to label God hateful because He told us that? It does not take a PhD to look at that verse and say,”Well if I want to get into the kingdom of God, I can’t do those things!” Pretty black & white, simple to me.

  139. I understood your point. Forgive me that I am no fundamentalist. Because just like yourself said, we cannot like one part and ignore the other part. So if I were to live according to these quotes of yours, I would need to live according to all the texts from the bible, both old and new testaments. I cannot and I will never do. Because I do not agree with justified murder, or genocide no matter what country or continent they are from, whether or not they have sinned; And because I am a woman, I refuse to sit in the wild for 9 days every month during my period, or any man who touches my hand at that time shall be stoned; And because I do not consider myself or any other person around me “lustful” if they did not marry their first boy or girlfriend. and I certainly would not consider them having adultery if they need to move on their life after serious and mature consideration. You can choose to judge the whole world with bible texts, if you think that’s what God favors. Pity we read and quote and understand them differently, as for myself, I only read them to understand my own relationship with God, and I choose not to read them to measure others.
    Have a great day.

  140. Yes, I guess we could go back and forth, back and forth. I suppose we will all find out when we are standing on the sea of glass and fire, The only problem is; at that time it is too late to change our views. Like I said, in the end I will not be able to blame anyone for the consequences of my choices, nor will any of us.
    Thank you for responding, you have a great day to.

  141. “When Jesus said that we should not judge unless we be judged also, he was not saying that we are to never judge if behavior is sin or not. What he was doing was giving us a caution to make sure that we are willing to be judged by the same standard of judgment. This verse is not a warning against judging an action. It is a warning against self deception and hypocrisy.”

    And you THINK that the ONLY Reason someone would cite this is to Stop Discussion?

    But, yes, to a Point, Stopping the Discussion is the point, BUT, The REAL Reason people use this verse is to Stop people and Make them THINK about what they are saying, before they continue and get themselves into Peril with God. Jesus DID SAY, ‘You Without this Sin may Cast the First Stone…” And NO ONE Then Cast a Single Stone.

    When you can SAY that you are Without SIN, then THIS argument of yours will be valid, but since you Will NEVER be able to say that you are without this or any sin, then your argument on this is Invalid. BEFORE YOU Cast the First Stone, you Best make sure YOU are WITHOUT SIN, that is Exactly what this verse is Tell you.

  142. Ed
    Thank you for your reply. Others have also said that as long as we have our own sin we are not to point out any other persons sin. If that is the case how am I supposed to obey Matthew 18 and be reconciled with someone who has sinned against me? Don’t I have to first determine that what they have done is sin? If you are correct then how can Paul tell the church in Corinth that a man sleeping with his step mother is sin and the church must call him on his sin so that he repents?
    Jesus words to the crowd that he who is without sin may cast the first stone does not apply here. He was addressing a crowd that literally wanted to kill that woman. That was the issue Jesus was dealing with. He agreed with the crowds assessment that the woman had sinned when he said to her that she would not be condemned by him but that she should go and sin no more. There was no debate that she had sinned. The casting of stones had to do with the punishment for sin not the identification of sin.
    Dan

  143. Judi,
    Are you asking me as the author of the blog how I know what I have posted? Is there some particular part of the post that you are questioning?
    Dan

  144. The statement “judge not” by Jesus is simply saying that we are incapable of judging, that we cannot even get close to understanding what is going on, so judgment is always futile – positive or negative judgment. Only God can judge, because God knows the big picture, He can see everything. And God is holy loving, and His Will for us is happiness and peace of mind. So what Jesus is saying here is that whenever we think we can judge anything, whether it’s someone’s behaviour or the weather, we can silently ask the Holy Spirit how He would look upon this.

    The relinquishment of all judgment will eventually bring us the peace of God we’ve all, at some point, yearned for.

  145. Dear Susan

    I appreciate your comment about judging. If we only take the first verse into account when Jesus says judge not lest you be judged then what you say would be very true. However, I think the context of the passage as well as placed like Matthew 18 make it clear that we are and in fact must identify sin as sin. Jesus says take the log out of your own eye and then deal with the spec in your brothers eye in order to help him. That is a point people often miss. If someone points out an area of sin in my life and then offers to help be remove it, then they are actually doing a great service for me. In order to do so they must first have judged that my behavior is sin. In Matthew 18 we are told to go to someone who has sinned against us in order to confront them with the sin and forgive them and be reconciled. Again, I can only do that if I first determine that a sin has been committed.
    Dan

  146. I have been reading over this post trying to resolve an issue within myself in how to handle an instance that took place in my church yesterday. It involved my 19 yr old son that has been an usher at our 3000 member+ church since he was 16.
    My son that grew up in a home dominated by women (3 older sisters, a mom & a dad) has always been the type of child that was imaginative, artistic, and felt like he didn’t really fit in with “regular” boys so he didn’t have a lot of friends. He attended church as part of our family and did stay involved with church youth activities throughout his teen life.
    At a young age he announced to me that he wanted to go into fashion and it appeared to everyone that he was gifted with an ability to create and draw wonderful designs. I talked with him about if this was a career path that he chose for himself, he should be prepared that he will be told that he is gay and about the free and crazy lifestyles that his peers and associates would like to entice him with. I was a hairdresser in a big city and knew how creative people party)
    He assured me he could handle it and that “they needed The Lord too.”
    He has never strayed from his commitment to The Lord but because of his love of the arts and fashion has adapted a very stylish way of dress. Nothing outlandish or crazy but not typical of what the average jeans and t shirt guys wear at our church. he likes to dress nice wear bow ties, layer his clothes, roll up his cuffs a little.
    Yesterday he was approached by the head usher along with a friend. They asked him if they could talk to him about some personal issues. He said “sure”. They proceeded to say ” We have had complaints from some people about the way you dress and its been suggested you may be gay. I really don’t know if you like guys or girls but how would you respond to this”?
    My son replied by saying, “It sounds to me like you judging me”
    they told him “Sounds like you getting defensive.” They went back and forth with his accusations and my sons character being questioned, after all this they wanted to pray with him! After church my son took me aside to tell me of the ordeal.
    My first response was to find the guys and confront them. But I thought to pray first and see where The Lord leads. After praying & talking with my husband, we have decided to call a meeting with one of our Pastors to see what they think about what has happened. I know my son feels like he’s been shunned and He wants to give notice of his position. Clearly this was not an incident of loving correction.

  147. Dear Kelly,

    I understand your concern about how this was approached. Speaking to your pastor is a good idea. What I hope you are able to do is give as much grace and forgiveness as possible to the people involved and that you son can as well. One of the things that is crucial in any situation of concern about a persons behavior is the relationship we have with them. I am much more willing to accept correction and even questions about my behavior from people I know love me and care about me, not just about an image or reputation of the church, as important as that may be. I would hope that your sons friend knew him well enough that he had no reason to question his character but that does not seem to be the case. They seem to be basing their assessment on a stereotype in their minds and no on any actual behavior. I think that is an important distinction. I have no problem with fellow Christians trying to help someone who has fallen into sin and calling it for what it is. I hope you saw that in the blog post. What it looks like here is not so much that there is an identified behavior of sin that people saw but a person with a creativity much like many gay men but not exclusively so. The same kinds of judgments were made about Jesus when he hung out with drunks. He was accused of being a drunk. My prayer for you and your family is to be able to show the love of Christ and the proper way to handle disputes in the Body. Let me know how it turns out.
    Dan

  148. Susan and others with her thinking, please read through Corinthians 6. where it says we are to judge we are going to judge the world someday. 2 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?
    3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

    We cannot ever really know the motives people have, so we must be careful in that aspect. When something is brought up to someone out of love and concern for them, that maybe their actions are giving the appearance of evil (even if that is not their motive or they are not consciously aware of this), this is quite another thing than bringing condemnation on someone, I believe that is for God. But there are times when someone is being rebellious and church discipline is necessary because we have read “a little leaven, leavens the whole lump”. So through this all it takes love, a lot of prayer and the direction from God on how to handle those who refuse to submit to God and His authority. Above all forgiveness and support for those who will hear and repent, and forgiveness from those who may have been falsely accused. All this take a great deal of humility.

    I love this website, I am so glad I have found it. There are many mature Christians here and everything written in the articles are so far is right on with the Biblical teachings that I am being taught through our Church. It is wonderful to see so many who are lead by the Holy Spirit and not giving into the ways of this world. Thank you for giving so many a clear understanding of what scripture is really saying and how to apply it to our lives today!

  149. And to Little Miss Moffat I must say these scriptures come to mind.
    Mark 8:33-35

    33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
    34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

    That’s what God says about your questions of individualism. Marriage is a convent designed by God and I hope you did not meddle with it in such a way you’ll be condemned on the judgment seat. Ask yourself this question, is it your lust for each other and desire for self satisfaction that ended this holy union? If I were you, I would seek forgiveness and not try to pass this off as something that is approved by God when it is quite obvious, to more than one commenter, that it is a sin.

  150. Ok so reading through many more comments I am convinced there are a lot of immature Christians out there. Dan you are so patient, thank you.

    You can make a judgment call regarding a sin, if you are not performing those acts of sin you are judging. Example if you are an adulterer, don’t judge the adulterer because you’ll be judged by that same measure. Even Jesus said to the adulteress woman…to go and sin no more. He was clearly identifying her as a sinner but not condemning her as He then offers her forgiveness telling her to repent and be done with it. He challenges the others to condemn her by throwing the first stone if they are free from sin (because it was common practice and law for a woman or man that was caught in adultery to be stoned to death). Jesus does not say do not judge, but do not condemn a person in their sin. Actually they were trying to get Jesus to go against his very teachings by either not judging her in her adultery which He teaches adultery is wrong (and punishable by death) or not offering forgiveness which He also teaches unforgiveness is wrong. They were trying to back him into a corner so to speak. Jesus cannot be back into theological corners. Bottom line, Jesus called her a sinner, called them all on their sins (because He could, He is without sin) and offered forgiveness to those who would repent.

    My point is we can’t let sin defile our temples (bodies) and our Church (the bride of Christ) without having any accountability to God and each other. But repentance, forgiveness and restoration is certainly needs to follow our sin and we need each other to do that. Some times needing to point out a blind area we are not coming to terms with (by taking the plank from our eye).

    That’s all I got for now.

  151. Michelle,
    I found it quite a bit absurd to justify my doings here with any of you. Because if you may realize, most people who gave judgement on others, here on this blog, have shared nothing in their own doings, they would share stories of their neighbors, their friends, their relatives, their understanding of others, but I saw few telling what wrong doings they committed in their own lives BEFORE they started quoting bibles to the others.
    The concept of marriage is holy indeed, on that I have no doubt. but I can assure you that the motives of getting married nowadays are no longer holy. I know hundreds of people marketing themselves as goods going for certain price, getting married for status, or parents “selling” children for money. Hundreds of people making mistakes, divorce is a sin, maybe because sometimes some marriage itself was wrong.
    Jesus also said, Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. Do give others lessons again when you have exactly walked in their shoes. Thank you very much and have a good day.

  152. Dan,
    I am not here to convince anyone, if “adultery” is reasonable.
    I am neither here to seek being convinced if anyone would know better to tell me what is better for me.
    But I was wondering if people would generalize their ideas over things, by putting “adultery” on all relationship that is out of marriage,unfortunately they do, just like they generalize all marriages as holy unions. These people, on one hand generalize things, and call the others immature Christians on the other hand. Like many people from the church I know, they are just predictable.

    The first girl cell group I attended at my first church, had a leader a few years older than me. she finished her studies in a seminary through years before we met. And she was quite a gentle person, married to a guy and having two daughters, and as an example herself, she taught many things about an ideal union between men and women. I did not always agree with her, but I kept my thoughts to myself, because I believe that most girls there were not me, they may need such concept building which was very important of course.
    Years after I left the city, she actually got divorced and went to live with another guy, and had a son with him soon after.
    This makes me wonder, not what she did was right or wrong, but how people who very often, with very good intentions, talk about so many things that they do not understand at all yet they believed that they had understood well.

    Now I have two friends, girls, both at my age, have encountered married men alluring them, and it is the only thing I feel bad about – by knowing me as an example, they believed that it is ok to get involved with them. I opposed strongly against both of them when they come to seek my advice.
    But again I realize how easy it is for people to generalize things – if we see one holy union, then all unions must be holy ; if all unions are holy, then all relationship outside marriage must be adultery; if we see one example of proving marriage could be wrong, and there is a way to make things right again, then the others would start soon following the same logic.

    I want to identify 3 things:
    1 The marriage concept is holy, but a marriage fact could also be wrong;
    2 Adultery is wrong, but not all relationship outside a marriage is adultery. I certainly do not consider mine as one of them at all.
    3 if mine is adultery, then would be our marriage an adultery or a holy union? if ours is adultery, then our marriage will be indeed wrong thus point 1 is true; if ours not adultery, then both point 1 and point 2 are true.

    Unexplainable, isn’t it.

    In fact none of these really matters. I think what people really ignore is the basic fact that judgement shall be given on individual basis, case by case. And I think that is why Jesus said to walk in another’s shoes for a mile before judging him.
    I find it quite childish looking at people trying to convince each other, it makes no sense to me at all.

    If you will, kindly remove my first comments about my own story, I find it possibly provocative to people who live only in their own little perfect bubble world. Thank you again.

  153. Oh, I am not perfect nor do I try to justify the sin in my life but I seek forgiveness and repent. Adultery is looking on a married man with lust and not deny yourself when temptation arises. It is between you and God if your union is holy or not. I believe if you seek forgiveness as David did when he pursued Bathsheba, you may be forgiven and God may bless your marriage now. Listen, I am sorry if you feel I am judgmental, as may like to say any time some thing is brought to one’s attention, I have done may things I am not proud of and have come to God with and found forgiveness, healing, and peace with my past…so please don’t feel I am condemning you. Our God is a God of forgiveness because of Jesus Christ and his great sacrifice for our sins. That’s for you and God to work out and you should because I am fearful for your future, if you can justify this in your mind, what else you may justify. Be assured you will be held accountable to God and that is my concern for you. And I am also concerned about your witness. If that is what those women are thinking that came and asked your advice, imagine how many there are you haven’t been able to warn against doing this, just knowing your situation. I wish you the best in your marriage, you both find reconciliation in your relationship with God, and hope it is “true love” and you or your husband do not loose the attraction you have because one or the other may find yourself back where you were when you started this relationship, lusting after someone else. May God show you with clarity His way’s are not the same as our ways.

  154. Matthew 5:27-29
    27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
    28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
    29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
    6.Matthew 26:41
    Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
    1.Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    1 John 1:9-10
    9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
    Isa 55:8
    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

    There are many more, I am just showing the biblical counsel that we all need to take heed to, not just you Little Miss Moon Light.

  155. I wanted to add the quote “Do not judge until you have walked a mile in their shoes” was not Jesus but an Old English proverb that had became famous in To Kill a Mocking Bird, just so you know, you won’t find it in the Bible.

  156. I think a key point here is that Jesus is God – in fact he said that all judgement has been handed over to him from the Father. Just imagine the number situations that Jesus was in where he could have condemned people. Yet his words were always one of encouragement and forgiveness. For instance, And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” All things “have been handed over to…” Him by “…the Father.” Not to us. Here on Earth we create Churches. Now there are 40,000 different Christian Denominations or different Churches, by one estimation. Each one working on getting and keeping followers. therefore, judging becomes more about inclusion and exclusion and justification of one group over another in Christianity overall and within a specific groups. The Pope was right when he said, “Who am I to Judge.” becuase even though he is the head of the oldest and largest Christian Denomination, he knows that he is a sinner also and that only Jesus is the true Judge. I think he will surprise us all. 200 years ago, each Christian group hardly thought another group was even Christian. I think today, we need to focus on foregiveness, love and prayer, together… so the world will see the love Christians have for one another.
    the

  157. I suggest that we can never take the collective logs out of our own eyes. Our eyes have a limited ability to transmit information to our brains and our brains have a limit ability to interpret that information. This is why optical illusions work. And movies. Our brains and eyes are fooled into believing there is motion when there is none.

    I will further suggest that we consider that the real the time to help a brother is when the log of our judgment is out of our eyes. That is, when you are helping with a pure motivation and not for the purpose of elevating yourself or building your ego.

    Consider that the type of judgment that Jesus was talking about is something that allows us to feel better about ourselves at the expense of feeling someone is lower than us–just as the religious of Jesus’s time did.

    True helpfulness springs from love, compassion, kindness, and mercy, I suggest.

    In regards to forgiveness, I believe that we need to forgive others any time we believe that we are sinned against, regardless of whether we are right or wrong. This is because harboring bitterness and resentment is harmful to ourselves and everyone around us. It eats at us and infects our actions, perhaps on a subconscious level.

    Consider that we do not need to make a determination of whether that person sinned against us. If we merely FEEL those emotions that are attached to being sinned against or being on the bad end of what feels like it is wrongful behavior, we should find a way to connect with the ability we have to forgive others.

  158. NIce to see I can still read enterpretations of the BIBLE online, that understand the point. Quite simple really, find and fix your own faults before you took at those in others. Simple. Hard to do in practice; that is why it is called practice.

    Keviin wethington

  159. The worst people on this planet can all be found in one place.
    The Church.
    They are the ones whith the real Demons.
    All documented Serial killers comes from strict Christian homes.
    80% Of all sex offenders comes from Christian homes….
    And you say a Witch is evil ?
    You must be kidding.

  160. Why do Witches despise the Church?
    Well you have been hunting my people for centuries.
    Why?
    Because we had free will.
    Because we saw the Church for what it really was….
    A Tyranny and a Dictatorship, a man mad institution to enslave us.
    What kind of religion says “Follow our way or we will kill you “?
    What kind of religion says a Women are lesser than a man?
    Any religion that says “A Women is lesser than any man is a False religion, a man made religion “
    What kind of a God says Worship me or I will send you to Hell?
    No God will say or do that.
    Only a man will do that.
    Everything on this sacred creation called Mother Earth has been polluted and destroyed by manmade law.
    Every sentence in the Book of lies called the Holly bible has been written by men to serve their needs.
    Not one word in the Bible was written by a Woman.
    Why was Women denied education?
    Why was women denied the right to vote?
    Simple because the men who wrote the so called Holly Bible feared Strong Women and branded them as Witches.
    Let me tell you one thing.
    You as a Woman was free from the day you were born.
    You were taught that it is your place to serve.
    You were taught that you are lesser than a man.
    I tell you today.
    You are not a Slave.
    You are not a man’s servant.
    You are any man’s equal and in some ways you are much better than any man.
    No man has the Right to tell you what you can and cannot do.
    Rise up Witch and take back your power.
    Rise up Witch and claim your freedom.
    You do have the right to do so.

    Blessed Be )0(

    Damien Black Raven

  161. Travis, would you care to elaborate? Just throwing down the hypocrisy card without actually engaging what was said it not very helpful.

  162. I can see where the liberal progressives would get all sorts of angry when they read this explanation. It destroys their concept of moral relativity.

  163. So the author says people are taking the quote out of context then goes on to explain the meaning of the verse and it is exactly what he says people are doing wrong. Always funny when sunday christians try to justify their hypocrisy.

  164. So some Internet troll using the name of a porn star who died of AIDS doesn’t like it when ?his? liberal moral relativity is deconstructed so ?he? makes statement with no facts to back it up. ?He? obviously doesn’t know Dan’s background because ?he? uses the phrase “sunday christians”. Do your homework, Johnny, before you type in your drivel.

  165. Johnny would you care to give your explanation for what the text really means? That would be far more helpful that simply making accusations without any support.

  166. I found your interpretation wonderful. In the whole thing, the only thing I’d do is give Al Gore a break. Everything I know in life is from my cabbies, and they talk about global warming like it’s fact. I think he’s part of that. Au Revoir.

  167. That verse never existed in that form although I am positive it did. Its Armageddon. Look it up in any Bible old or new. Its changed.

  168. Paul I have no idea what you are talking about. Can you be more specific. Are you talking about the verse that says judge not and if so what does that have to do with Armageddon?

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