But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:15-16
Each member of the body of Christ has the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit. We cannot act according to God’s righteousness without having to judge what is right and wrong. Most believers shy away from the word judging because it brings with it the stigma of being perceived as hypocritical, but judging is nothing short of employing discernment.
“But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
To discern both good and evil, we inevitably have to make a distinction between right and wrong. This is exercising judgment. However, the kind of judgment that Scripture warns believers not to do is the one spoken of in Matthew 7:3-4,
“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?”
- This is a person who gossips about a friend who borrows money from another friend and how bad they think it is, all the while, the gossip is actually knee-deep in debt.
- This is the priest sitting in a confessional advising the one who confessed of lustful thoughts to do penance while the priest repeatedly and continually abuses little boys.
- This is the pastor who tells his congregation the importance of being faithful to your spouse and yet, he has an ongoing affair with the secretary.
- This is a person who is secretly doing drugs telling his friend to quit vaping.
- This is the person who preaches tolerance and forgiveness and is unable to grant the same mercies and has harbored hatred toward family and friends for years.
I’m just throwing out examples here. I don’t own drones or any other social media accounts to snoop on people. Jesus goes on in the next verse laying out one’s condition to be able to judge rightly, “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” One must be in right standing with God and not be guilty of the same sin in a greater degree (notice plank vs. speck). A plank completely blocks a person from seeing which means that the person is still spiritually blind. We can only see clearly when we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness, otherwise, it won’t even bother us at all (Romans 1:32).
Judging someone is wrong when the intent has nothing to do at all with restoring someone since it indicates they are themselves in need of repentance.
We all struggle in different areas. The believer who struggles with lust may not have the same struggle as the one who has a bad temper. If the person who struggles with anger advises his friend who struggles with lust to keep it in check, is he being a hypocrite? No. Since they are friends, they have an understanding on each other’s weaknesses and strengths. They are helping each other out! Ecclesiastes 4:10 reminds us, “For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.” (John 13:14-17)
A Tree Known by Its Fruit
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? – This can apply to those who appear righteous by their own relative standards and are intolerant of those who abide by the Word of God. They scream “Love conquers hate” when they hate what is good. The movement being celebrated proclaims defiance and rebellion – PRIDE. It’s interesting they dub it pride, the very thing which led to the corruption of the human race.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. – There are no making excuses with God, our final judge. Lip service will not be rewarded. If our words do not align with our actions, we condemn ourselves. If we preach we are lovers of good, we cannot go about preaching love and at the same time plot to do harm to people.
Either make the tree good and its fruit good – Christian, you are a judge (1 Corinthians 2:15-16, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3). Judge accordingly. Those who keep telling you the silencer verse Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged” intentionally out of context either have more reading to do (specifically for so-called Christians), are in denial, or maybe even both.