This content is part of a series.
Are We to Judge? (1 of 10)
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
In recent years there has been a shift in the church concerning the idea of judging. If we attempt to point out something that is scripturally wrong we will frequently hear comments like 'judge not, lest you be judged'. Does the Bible tell us that we are not allowed to judge between right and wrong, good and bad, truth and error? How do we obey God's commands to uphold the truth and stand against wickedness while keeping judgmental attitudes in balance? This study will attempt to add clarification to this issue.
To judge or not to judge
The first thing we must do is to put Jesus' warning into the context in which it was given. In Matthew 7, Jesus said:
1 "Judge not, that you be not judged.
2 "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
This is not a warning not to judge but that we will be judged according to the standard we choose. In Romans we are warned not to judge others when we are doing the same things. If we know something is wrong, we become a witness against ourselves if we are committing the same acts. We also don't have the right to judge someone's heart, but when warranted, we are to judge someone's actions and words according to truth. If we are not permitted to judge, it becomes impossible to distinguish between right and wrong. Contrary to common opinion, the Bible commands us to judge. 1 Thessalonians 5 commands us:
21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
22 Abstain from every form of evil.
Testing is judging between right and wrong. The devil has successfully removed our ability to measure truth by convincing God's people that it is wrong to judge. It is not judging that is wrong, it is the standard by which we judge and the motives behind our judgment. Jesus gave the standard for judging. Look at these two passages:
24 "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with ri ...
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