Well we’ve finally arrived to what some who’ve been reading this series on judging have been waiting for, namely what it is that we are allowed to judge from a biblical standpoint. There may even be some who’ve gone out and bought a black robe and gavel especially for this occasion, because the judging business is booming among Christians, and there is still more growth potential to be had. If I seem sarcastic in my introduction, I do not mean to be, but I’ve been dealing with this issue either directly or indirectly for so long, that I oscillate from being amazed at the absurdity of some self-appointed judges of God’s people, to cringing at the lack of discernment and wisdom in some churches and ministries when it comes to rightly, and biblically judging certain things.
Apparently it is far easier to judge others, than it is to judge oneself, and the oddity of it all is that if someone makes it their mission in life to besmirch any and all ministers everywhere living or dead, they quickly get a following which only enflames their pride and arrogance considering that their following is confirmation that they’ve been sanctioned of God to play the judge. They get so caught up in swinging gavels, naming names and passing sentence, that they no longer have time to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, and when their fall from grace occurs they are aghast at the fact that someone would dare judge them for their failings. I guess do unto others as you would have them do unto you was sage advice after all!
So what is it that we are allowed to judge from a biblical perspective?
A good idea of what we are allowed to judge is found in the fifth chapter of Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, wherein he had heard reports of sexual immorality, of the most disturbing fashion, and yet rather than mourning, and removing one who had done this deed from among them, the church at Corinth was puffed up.
1 Corinthians 5:3-5, For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged, as though I were present, concerning him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
Paul says that although he wasn’t there physically, he had already judged concerning the one who had done this deed. Well, who was Paul to judge such a matter? He was an elder of the church, and as such, he was able to biblically judge the atrocity that had occurred in the church of Corinth.
As I said long ago, at the beginning of this series, as children of God we are responsible to believe what we read in the scriptures, and not read what we believe. As we begin to go down the list of what it is we are supposed to judge, or allowed to judge from a biblical standpoint, I would urge you to keep that in mind.
The first thing we are supposed to judge, above all else, primarily and without fail, the first thing the Bible commands us to judge without equivocation, is ourselves. Yes, before we even think or consider judging others, we must first and foremost judge ourselves. It is your duty, and your obligation to judge yourself, as it is my duty and obligation to judge myself.
So why is it important that we judge ourselves, and examine ourselves? Because the Word of God tells us that we must, but also because if we judge ourselves, then we will not be judged.
1 Corinthians 11:31, “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.”
It is an easy thing to say we must judge ourselves, but it is far more difficult to actually do it. When we judge ourselves as the Word tells us that we must, we are confronted with the most undesirable parts of who we are. We are confronted with the reality that perhaps we are not as committed as we ought to be, we are not as diligent as we ought to be, we are not as righteous as we ought to be, we are not as worshipful as we ought to be, we are not as thankful as we ought to be. Whatever it is that we are deficient in, whatever area of our lives we are lacking in comes out, and is on full display when we judge ourselves. It’s human nature not to desire to see the ugly truth in our own heart, it’s human nature to highlight the positive aspects of who we are and minimize the negative ones, but when we judge ourselves, and do so in righteousness we can’t help but be faced with the reality that there are many thing we need to repent for.
It’s also human nature to attempt to shine the spotlight on anyone else other than ourselves, pointing a crooked finger and accusing others vociferously, when we ourselves are often guilty of the selfsame deficits we see in them.
The one thing to keep at the forefront of our minds whenever we get the urge to judge with impunity is that the day will come when we will be judged with the same measure we used to judge others. If we judge others just for the sake of feeling superior to them, or just for the sake of judging, we will likewise be judged in the same manner. If we judge unjustly, if we are respecters of persons in our judgments, if we judge falsely or hastily, then we ought not to be surprised when we are judged in the same way by others. God is not blind, God is not mocked, and He knows the intent of the heart. He not only sees what we do, but knows the root cause of why we do what we do, and this extends to judging others as well.
If it ever happens that you are judged, whether justly or unjustly, whether with kindness or vitriol, before asking ‘Lord why?’ look back on how you’ve judged others, and see the answer for yourself.
2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless you are disqualified.”
Examine yourselves! Not your neighbor, not your friend, not your husband not your wife; first and foremost examine yourself, and prove yourself. Now I know the ‘eternal security’ crowd have problem with this verse, but it is in the Bible, and it tells us that unless we are disqualified we must prove and examine ourselves and know that Jesus Christ is in us. Some are roaming about today, who have already been disqualified, yet who judge everyone else they run across.
‘You don’t dress humble enough, you wear a wedding ring, you have a goatee, you wear tennis shoes to church, you combed your hair; it means you’re proud.’
The foolishness never stops, and no matter how you look, no matter how you dress, there will always be someone to judge you, to find something that through the filter by which they see you and the world at large is unbiblical if not outright heretical.
Do I believe that we should dress modestly? Yes, I do because the Bible tells us we ought to. Do I believe that if you wear tennis shoes to church guardian angels will escort you away from the gates of heaven? No, I do not.
What’s my point in all this? My point is dear friends, show a little grace, show a little mercy, show a little love, because they day will come when you will be under the microscope, and if you showed grace, grace will be shown to you, if you showed mercy, mercy will be shown to you, and if you showed love, love will likewise be shown to you.
We are critical of everyone but ourselves, yet we are told in God’s holy Word, that it is ourselves we ought to judge first, it is ourselves we ought to examine first, and it is ourselves we must prove.
With Love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.