Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
We are dealing here with the most misused, misinterpreted and abused part of scripture. Those that do not want to face up to their sinful deeds that they do and/or continue to do, will always quote this passage of scripture as a means of avoiding being rebuked (to sharply criticize) and reproved (to show one his/her fault, to expose one’s fault). This is despite Paul saying in 2 Tim 4:2 that, we must preach the word, whether it is favorable or not. Paul says as we preach, we must rebuke, reprove and exhort with patience and gentleness. This is despite Matt 18:15 where Jesus tells us that if a brother sins, we must go and tell him his fault. In other words, reprove him. Paul says in Eph 5:11 that we should expose the unfruitful works of darkness. Again the word used for expose is the word “elegcho” in greek which means to reprove. These people confuse the Greek word “krino” which is translated to judge in the above verse with the words reprove or rebuke. This word translated as to judge, also means to condemn. To condemn is not the same as to reprove or to rebuke. To judge or to condemn is to find someone guilty or innocent whereas, to reprove is to show someone their fault, that is, to expose someone’s fault, and to rebuke is to sharply criticize someone for the fault with an intention of correcting them.
So, when Jesus says that “Do not judge”, He is saying that we must not find people guilty or innocent. Jesus is not saying “Do not reprove or Do not rebuke”. These people who don’t want to be reproved and rebuked, do not care about these differences. They will twist scripture as long as it can prevent their sinful life’s from being exposed and criticized. This is their true intention.
Clearly then, based on the above, when you reprove someone, you are not judging them. When you rebuke someone, you are not judging them. Only when you declare them guilty or innocent, are you then judging them. Showing someone that they are at fault and in need of repentance is not judging but reproving and rebuking. This is allowed by scripture and is encouraged.
When you tell someone that having sex outside marriage is fornication and is a sin in the eyes of God, it is not judging but, it is reproving. If you call that person a fornicator, you are judging. When you tell someone that having an extra marital affair is adultery and a sin in the eyes of God, it is not judging but, it is reproving. If you call that person an adulterer, you are judging. When you tell someone that homosexuality is a sin, you are not judging but reproving. When you call someone a homosexual, you are judging. I hope these examples shows the difference. We cannot continue to live a life where we cannot reprove and rebuke people for their sinful lives and calling them to repentance. We as Christians, are commanded to reprove, rebuke and exhort but, as we do this, we must do it gently and patiently.
So, Jesus in the above verse, rightly says that do not judge because by the same standard that you use to judge, you will also be judged. In verses 3-5 below, Jesus explains the type of judging that He forbids. Jesus is not forbidding all judgment but, He forbids hypocritical judging. Again, Jesus is not talking about reprove or rebuke but He is talking about judging.
3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Using adultery as an example to explain the above verses, Jesus is saying, you cannot condemn or judge another person an adulterer while you also are an adulterer. He says, first stop committing adultery yourself before you call another person an adulterer. If you do this, you are a hypocrite and are judging hypocritically. This is what Jesus is forbidding. Jesus says very clearly in verse 5 that, once you have stopped committing adultery, then you can start judging others. Jesus says the same thing in Luke 6:42. As you can clearly see, Jesus is only forbidding hypocritical judging but fair and impartial judging is not forbidden at all.
But you see, this is what people conveniently ignore. They just want to forbid all kinds of judging, reproving and rebuking because in this way, they can continue to live a sinful life without fear of being made to face their sins.
I will continue to reprove, rebuke, exhort and, fairly and impartially judge those whom I beleive are breaking God’s law, gently and patiently, with an intention to getting them to repent of their sins. I will not be stopped by the “do not judge slogan” coming from those who don’t want to face the consequences of their sinful lives.