New Edits Added: 08/04/2020- after reviewing the post there were a few changes I’ve made. Many of the “you” statements I’ve edited to “we” as we all can be guilty of this misconception.
Ever heard someone say, “Don’t judge me,” or, “You will be judged as you judge,” as reason to basically not say anything at all or if you speak publically instead you should personally email someone with your concerns instead of sharing them online.
Now there is a truth to some of this and I will get into it.
If you type in “righteous judgment” in Bible Hub, these are the scriptures that appear (see here). Now, to be fair to those concerned, yes, often righteous judgment relates to God being a Just Judge, and then it also relates to people in authority positions (passing judgment) to have righteous judgment. But we, as individuals, are told to have righteous judgment as well even if that terminology is not seen often in scripture.
Understanding Judgment & Discernment
Judgment- having the ability to judge, pronouncing judgment, or being in the act of judging.
- Having the ability to judge– knowledge, experience, or awareness
- Decreeing judgment – an idea, a summary, or a report
- Being in the act of judging– study, review or analysis
We should be like the Bereans who did not merely trust Paul’s word, but they went to the scriptures and tested him to see if he was correct before they believed. They judged Paul based on what he said and they found what he said to be true. (Acts 17:11) I hope the definition I shared and how it is broken down shows you that studying and making a decision is part of judgment. We do this every single day.
Scripture may not speak of righteous judgment a lot when regarding individuals but scripture absolutely speaks of individuals being able to discern well. To be able to discern means you are able to judge well, and therefore passing judgment that is correct, or righteous is something Christians should be able to do and do well.
Discernment- the ability to perceive (understand) the difference between various things and being able to identify those differences. A synonym of discernment is judgment.
If you look up the word “discern” in Bible Hub these are some scriptures referenced (not all) and if you look up “Proverbs discern” you will get some scriptures in Proverbs that discuss discernment (again, not all, there are a lot!). Many of these are speaking about individuals, not officials, who need to use discernment.
(NLT) Proverbs 8:05, “You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding.”
We need discernment, especially regarding false teachings.
If “Christians” present a different gospel and a different Christ what are we suppose to do? American Christians today are being pulled into this toleration of, “Let’s secretly pray for everyone but not talk about it or call it out for what it is.” Speaking from my own experience, it’s a tempting and comfy place to stay in because we do not like confrontations. Yet, at the same time, we are dealing with a consequence that will last for eternity, not just for us, but others.
If we can’t even talk about it out of fear of people getting upset, calling us judgmental, or even saying we are speaking hate…we will struggle with persecution.
We Need To Remove The Speck After Removing Our Own
Here are paraphrases that I and other Christian bloggers, YouTubers, writers, etc have encountered. Parentheses and bold print are there to emphasize the point I’m trying to make.
- People don’t want to hear they’ve made this into an idol. Talk about this in a nice way. Focus on the positive.
- Don’t talk about others who have made a false public statement to the public. Speak to that person privately. Pray for them. But don’t talk about it to your (public) audience (who may be influenced). Note: Many say this to multiple people on the internet who warn about false teaching/prophets/fallen believers.
- Don’t judge others, just pray for them. You will be judged as you judge… (Being judged as we judge is the inspiration for today’s post.)
This is why when we tell others not to judge it doesn’t make much sense. Absolutely, we will be judged as we judge. We are to judge RIGHTEOUSLY and we can through Christ and rightly dividing His word.
If all we do is pray for people, but never direct the issues, the person, the false teaching is the Lord not going to use anyone to speak to this person or to the people who are influenced (and could be led away) by this false teaching/teacher/prophet? We know God does use the body to edify the body.
Jesus tells us before we take the speck out of the eye of another, we need to take the plank out of ours. This means we must not be doing the same things and rebuking someone for those same things. But here is what we need to be aware of that happens next. Jesus tells us AFTER we have removed the plank…THEN REMOVE THE SPECK FROM THE OTHER PERSON! (Luke 6:42)
He doesn’t say… “Good, your plank is gone. GREAT! Leave the person alone with the speck in his eye, and let’s hope it doesn’t get bigger.”
I agree that prayer is crucial. It’s always needed! However, we need to be aware that we are to speak righteously. There is NO obligation to speak to someone personally that you do not know personally when a public platform is used.
When we say “don’t judge” we are telling the individual this publicly because we see it as a concern. We have DISCERNED what this individual is saying is different than others, and we have JUDGED that this person should not be saying these things openly. (Do you see when we say not to judge it, in fact, falls into hypocrisy unintentionally because we judged someone for judging?)
If we see someone struggling or pointing to a false gospel, absolutely go to the Lord first. Read scripture. Take time to study and pray. But there are times to speak up. Either to the individual if it is personal or desired, or if it is public, publicly.
This is why we can talk about false teachers and fallen public figures on public platforms. But it does need to be done with righteous judgment and love. There is a wrong way to go about it… but there is a righteous way, too, and it is not always in silence.
Community Prayer for July 2020
Monthly Scripture – (NKJ) Psalm 85:08, “I will hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly.”