Monday, March 15, 2010

Stop Judging !?!?!?

There is a statement that we at Real Truth Matters are becoming familiar with, and it goes like this: You can’t judge! In our ministry of promoting New Testament Christianity by promoting a pursuit of Jesus Christ, distinctions arise between what we proclaim as the gospel and what is being proclaimed in much of American Christianity. In that, it is assumed we are passing judgment upon others, and according to our critics that is something Christians are not to do. They often use Matthew 7:1, where Jesus says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

First, let us address what it means to judge something or someone. In this passage, Jesus is literally speaking of passing hypocritical, self exalting condemnation. In the context of scripture Jesus talks about a person who looks down on others and seeks to pronounce sentence upon someone without first considering his own standing before God. But Jesus does say that once a person’s own heart and conscience are clear before God, then he is now at the point where he can help another.
So yes, we cannot judge in the sense that we cannot pass sentence upon someone else. That is only for God to do.

But what about judging when it means not passing sentence but distinguishing, discerning, examining, evaluating? Just a few verses down from Matthew 7:1, Jesus says, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine.” How are we to follow that command if we do not make judgments, or discernments, about what it means to be a dog or a swine?

Later on in the same sermon, Jesus tells us about false followers of God who look like harmless sheep on the outside, but on the inside they are ravenous wolves. He then says, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

Now wait a second. Is Jesus telling us not to judge and then giving us criteria on how to judge? No! He warns against trying to pass hypocritical condemnation against others, but to still distinguish and discern between what it means to be a follower of Christ and what it means to be a false convert.

And he does this for your good and for my good! Scripture gives clear evidences of what will be in a person’s life if he or she is in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He does this to expose hearts and bring about the salvation of those who do not truly follow him. He also does this so that those who follow him are not lead astray by false followers and false teachers. Just as you know what kind of fruit tree you are looking at based upon what is growing on it, Jesus tells us you can know whether or not a person is a Christian by what is coming out of their lives. And it is for your benefit!

There is so much stuff in America that parades around as Christianity that clearly is not based upon what God has told us in His word. And to warn people against the dangers of heading toward eternal damnation when they think they are headed toward heaven is the most loving thing we can do.

And we don’t think we have some sort of monopoly on the truth. We don’t think we are the only ones who have it right. We are only passing to you what God’s word says. If you think we are hypocritically judging others or you, then search God’s word for yourself. Search it out, prayerfully and humbly and let God’s word be the plumb line and judge of your heart.

And nothing we are communicating is unique to us. Our message is not only supported in scripture, it is the message of God’s church throughout history. And all throughout that history, the church has communicated the same message which stands in stark contrast to the false work of Satan that has been pervasive throughout time, from the Garden of Eden until now. This is not a new struggle. This is not a new war.

We are not here to pass condemnation on anyone. That is not our place. But when we make distinctions about what it means to be a true follower of Christ and what it means to be a false convert, those are not from us, they are from God through his word. Search it yourself. Don’t take our word for it. Let God and the Holy Spirit be your guide.


  1. Someone presented to me this week about this concept actually....
    They said.... "If you know them by their fruit then what about those true converts that nobody gets to know or reaches out to know to see their fruit?" This person then presented this concept... A person can be a true convert and people think that they arent simply because they never try and get to know that person. You dont drive by a tree on the side of the road and take a glance and be able to tell what kind of fruit it bears, do you? You have to get out of the car and sometimes go move a leaf or two to find the apple or pear or peach or plum. You would have never known what type of tree that it was had you not gotten out to get to know the tree a little bit more on a personal level...... Wow, I was blown away by this statement.

  2. In this blog, I was thinking more about people who say we are judging them, and we don't even know who they are!

    Post-modern thought is pervasive in our way of thinking, and it makes everything subjective. And in the thoughts of many in our society, religion or Christianity is the most subjective thing there is. Many see it as some sort of personalized experience that is customized by the user. When we say that the essential elements of the Gospel and what it means to be truly converted are not subjective, it automatically sets up other belief systems to be wrong. And to say that someone is wrong, especially in the realm of religion, is something that our society deems as unacceptable and judgmental.

    As far as individiuals go, there are those whose fruits are very evident regardless of how much you know them. Some are just plain right off the bat. Others are not so visible. But usually it does not take too terribly long for the discerning Christian to know some fruits. In Matthew 12 Jesus said, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." Many times just talking to a person for a bit will quickly reveal their heart. Some may take a bit longer.