Over the years of ministry we have heard many times over, “How dare you judge me! You don’t know me!”. Many times this phrase comes to light when conversation strikes a nerve, a hurt, or something that is painful deep down inside. This phrase is not limited to unbelievers, many followers of Jesus have used this very statement, many to explain why they are not apart of the local church. Many feel ‘judged’ by their fellow brothers and sisters.
There are a few things that come into play, this topic could take a whole series to dive into, it is my goal to simply shed light on a couple factors.
First: As a follower of Jesus, I am called to judge
2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? … 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? – 1Co 6:2-3, 5 NKJV
krinō: greek word ‘to judge’
to determine, resolve, decree
to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong
to rule, govern
Second: We are called to be wise and discern (look at the evidence)
16 “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor [can] a bad tree bear good fruit. 20 “Therefore by their fruits you will know them. – Mat 7:16-18, 20 NKJV
epiginōskō: greek word ‘to know’
to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly
to know accurately, know well
to recognise, by sight, hearing, of certain signs, to perceive who a person is
to know i.e. to perceive, to know i.e. to find out, ascertain
These words come right from Jesus mouth. He says, you will know what kind of person they are by the fruit in their lives. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit nor a bad tree produce good fruit. The truth is, actions speak louder than words, and the fruit of our lives speaks volumes to who we are as a person.
Third: Judgement has no room for preconceived notions
1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. … 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank [is] in your own eye? 5 “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. – Mat 7:1-2, 4-5 NKJV
The word judge is the same as the previous scripture in 1 Corinthians. But you must understand the context of this scripture! Jesus starts out with these statements, and then a few short verses later He goes into ‘knowing people by their fruit”.
Our judgements are to be pure and holy. Before we even think about making a judgement, we must rid ourselves of all preconceived notions and look at the fruit of our own lives and address the issues in our hearts. For when we cast a judgement, that same standard is set up against us.
Fourth: We must focus on and approve the positive with sincerity
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which [are] by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. – Phl 1:9-11 NKJV
aisthēsis: greek word for “Judgement/Discernment”
perception, not only by the senses but by the intellect
of moral discernment in ethical matters
It should be our aim and goal not to just cast judgement, but that above all our Love must Abound more and more and more while we gain and share knowledge and discernment. We are called to approve the excellent things with all sincerity and love! Our lives should contain the fruits of righteousness!