Judge not? Or, not to declare God’s judgments?

Have you heard the term ‘Judge not’ from certain Christians who doesn’t want others to point out their sins? Are they really saying to not judge them or not to declare God’s judgements on them if they don’t repent? The reason why many who commit iniquity say not to judge them, is really about not willing to hear the righteous judgments of God for their sins. In this post, we will explore how many reject His righteous judgments.

Judge not

Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Luke 6:37

The verse that most people use to silence the righteous judgments of God is by quoting the above words of Jesus. While it is true that Christians are not called to judge anyone, it is incorrect to say not to declare His judgments on sinners. Let’s learn from Jesus Christ.

… I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

John 12:47

Jesus Himself said that He did not come to judge the world. Hence, it is fair to assume that none of His words constitute any judgmental statements.

Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Matt 11:20-23

Consider the woes which Jesus proclaims against the cities which did not repent. Is Jesus judging them and condemning them? (John 3:17). The answer is ‘no’. He is declaring the condemnations of God. Jesus Christ called Pharisees as hypocrites (Matt 23:15), white-washed tombs (Matt 23:28), serpents (Matt 23:33), the Canaanite woman as dog (Matt 15:26-27), Herod as fox (Luke 13:31-32). None of these are judgments or any judgmental statements according to Jesus, but rather exposing their true identity of who they really are.

Be ye therefore merciful, as also your Father is merciful. And judge not, and ye may not be judged; condemn not, and ye may not be condemned; release, and ye shall be released.

Luke 6:36-37 (Young’s Literal Translation)

Consider the literal translation of the verse that says ‘judge not’. When Jesus said ‘judge not’, He actually wants us not to decide or condemn someone as a ‘criminal’ and punish but release them as the literal translations imply. He wants us to be merciful to ‘criminals’ just as the Heavenly Father is merciful. Jesus by no means saying not to decide something correctly or not to declare God’s righteous judgments on sinners for them to repent.

Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man,] and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

Matt 1:19

This is exactly what Joseph, being a just man didn’t want to condemn Mary and punish her but send her away secretly.

And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied? … Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me? … Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.

John 7:15,19,24

Jesus asked the Jews who seek to kill Him, to judge with righteous judgment. This is the exact type of judgment of condemnation He warned not to accuse others of when He meant ‘judge not’.

Declare the Judgments of God

Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

Matt 23:33

Consider the Pharisees to whom Jesus questions if they can escape the condemnation of hell. Is Jesus judging them? Absolutely not. Jesus is declaring the righteous judgments of God if they continue in their sins.

With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth.

Ps 119:13

As the Psalmist sings, we must all declare God’s judgments. What is the difference between judging a person and declaring God’s judgments to that person? Judging is where we condemn the sinner but declaring God’s judgment is proclaiming His condemnation if they don’t repent. In other words, declaring the righteous judgments of God is a warning to sinners, not judging them.

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the [one] whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”

Luke 7:40-43

Here is a situation where Jesus Himself is asking a question and appreciates Simon for judging rightly. We need to first understand God’s righteous judgments which Jesus Christ taught us, to rightly judge situations, so that we can declare God’s judgments to others who are living in sin.

And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that [is] in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that [is] in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

Luke 6:39-42

Jesus spoke the above teachings immediately after the ‘judge not’ verse. It shows that we must first be trained like Christ to lead others into holiness and righteousness, i.e, to declare God’s righteous judgments. A pastor or a preacher living in a secret sin will never have the boldness to declare the righteous judgments of God for that sin if anyone else is committing that same sin. Instead, the preacher will preach hypocritical statements like, ‘we are all sinners’, leading the other sinner and himself falling into the ditch. Hence, we must be trained perfectly like Christ to be holy and righteous, and declare God’s righteous judgments on sinners for them to repent and be saved.

Conclusion

Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

Luke 17:3

Jesus taught us not to judge others. According to Jesus, rebuking others for their sinful deeds against us and warning them of God’s judgments are not categorised as ‘judging’, but rather it is a mandatory step for all Christians before deciding to forgive them.