Friday, July 10, 2015

What Does It Mean to Judge?

As I have argued before, it seems John 3:16 is no longer the most popular Bible verse.  I believe Matthew 7:1 holds that title.

"Judge not, that you be not judged."

In his excellent article How Do I Love My Gay Friend?, Pastor J.D. Greear explains what "judging" actually means:

"'Don’t judge.' This is probably the non-Christian’s favorite Bible verse. It’s quoted as a way of saying that we shouldn’t ever tell people that what they’re up to is wrong. But as I’ve explained before, it can’t mean that. Jesus spent his entire life correcting error, and he commands us to do the same.

But here’s the catch: Even though Jesus was clear about what was right and wrong, he didn’t judge the world (John 3:17). How? By telling us the truth and then bringing us close. He made us—sinners—his friends. You judge someone not when you assess their position, but when you dismiss them as a person.

It’s not telling someone the truth that is judging them; it’s what you do after you tell them the truth. Judging, you see, assumes that you are righteous and they are guilty. Keep guilty them away from righteous you! But that’s not the gospel.

What this means for us practically is that even when someone disagrees with us, we don’t push them away. We draw them close. No, we don’t abandon our convictions. But our relationships with people can’t be contingent on their agreeing with us."

So, before you quote Matthew 7:1, please take the time to understand what it actually means to judge someone.

Courage and Godspeed,

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