Jesus Said, "Don't Judge"

Updated: May 4, 2020

In a postmodern secular society Matthew 7:1-5 is been used by non believers as an ultimate weapon to shut down every and any Christian evangelism, how do we as believers correctly exegete this passage? It firstly should bring comfort to your ears as a Christian that even the unbeliever has the word of God in his/her mouth (Romans 1:18-20) so they are without excuse. Secondly, lead them to the "Truth" and last but not least give a reasoned defence for the faith you have, with Christ set apart as Lord in your heart (1 Peter 3:16)

Let's look at the favourite verses used by the LGBTQ+ community :

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Matthew 7:1-2

“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? 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? 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.

Matthew 7:1-5

D. A. Carson explains that Jesus in Matthew 7 clearly does not forbid all judging of any kind, for the moral distinctions judgements drawn in the Sermon of the Mount required the decisive judgements be made. Jesus himself goes on to speak of some people like dogs and pigs (v.6) and to warn against false prophets (vv. 15-20). Elsewhere He demands that people "make a right judgement" (Jn 7:24; cf. 1 Cor 5:5; Gal 1:8-9; Php 3:2; Jn 4:1). All this presupposes that some kinds of judging are not only legitimate but mandated.

Jesus's demand here is for his disciples not to be judgemental and censorious. The word krinõ has the same force in Romans 14:10-13 (cf. Jas 4:11-12). The rigour of the disciple's commitment to God's kingdom and the righteousness demands of them do not authorise them to adopt a judgement attitude.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Romans 14:10-13

People are quick to quote Matthew 7:1 - "Judge not" but they never seem to quote Jesus in John 7:24, "Do not judge according to external appearance, but judge with proper judgement". Jesus calls us to "judge with proper judgement"! And, as professor Carson noted, Jesus's teaching in the Sermon on the Mount requires us to make proper judgement: recognising the kind of people who will just mock our message ("casting pearls before swines"), recognising false prophet (they will be known by their bad fruits), and recognising the speck that is in our brothers eye so we can remove it once we have removed the beam from our own eyes.

To be clear, according to the scriptures, I am not your judge and you are not my judge. The Word warns us strongly about this: "there is only one lawgiver and judge, He who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbour? (James 4:12) "Why do you pass judgement on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God" (Romans 14:10).

So, if someone claims to be a follower of Jesus and is living in unrepentance, we are to "judge" him and break off all fellowship with him (with the goal of leading him back in repentance). As for unrepented outside the church, Paul writes that God will judge them. (Notice that he doesn't say God will bless them but that He will judge them.)

but now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler - not even to eat with such a one. 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 that evil person from among you."

1 Corinthians 5:11

The ironic thing with all this is that some who constantly say, "You have no right to judge me! You are so judgemental! Jesus said, 'Don't judge,'" are often very judgmental themselves.


So where does that leave us when it comes to the subject of the Bible, homosexuality and the secular world? It leaves us in a place of humility before God, not condemning others, not judging with a harsh and censorious spirit, and searching our own heart for sin and hypocrisy. It also leaves us jealous for God's best, recognising that His ways alone are the part of life. And it leaves us clinging tightly to the Lord and His Word, not wanting to impose our values, common standards, and opinions on God's Word but rather asking our heavenly Father to help us form our values, common standards, and opinions based on the Scriptures. Otherwise, as Augustine once warned,

"if you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself."

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