“Judge not that you be not judged.”How the guilty love to quote this saying of Jesus.They pretend this removes from them all responsibility.They use this saying of Jesus to set themselves free to continue in sin and to allow themselves and others to retain respect and acceptability.
Did Jesus really mean to teach us that we are not to judge anyone?Absolutely not.He is the one who told us to go into all the world and make disciples, to call all men everywhere to repentance.To preach and to call men to repentance rests upon our judging them guilty and in need of repentance.Jesus is the one who set up courts in the church to judge right and wrong among his disciples.Jesus taught us not to cast our pearls before swine.This certainly requires that we judge.
What does Jesus mean?He explains himself quite clearly to those who are willing to learn from him.He taught we are to judge with a righteous standard.First we are to cast the plank from our own eye then we are in a position to work on the splinters in our brother’s eye.This means we must study the Bible, God’s righteous standard, to identify the planks and the splinters, to discover the big things and to identify the small things.Get rid of your planks, says the master.This is the focus of his teaching.But we are also called to get rid of the planks in our brother’s eye, too.We are to do this only by the lawful means he has given to us.
Leonard J. Coppes, Th.D.
Dr. Leonard J. Coppes is a graduate of Bethel Seminary (B.D.), Princeton Seminary (Th.M.), and Westminster Seminary (Th. D.) and has done extended graduate...