How Are We To Judge Righteous Judgment? # 3
So let's ask the question then. Why are we not to judge one another? Because we have a problem in judging incorrectly! Remember John 7:24, the very first Scripture? We're told, "Judge not according to appearance." And human beings do it all the time! I've done it. You've done it. We judge according to the outward appearance.And God judges the heart. And we are incapable of judging the heart. Therefore, we should not be judging one another because we don't know a person's heart. We really don't.
We need to focus rather on our sins and our faults. Not on the faults of somebody else. The obvious example is in Luke 18:9-14. Christ understood this. He was trying to teach us in a parable that we are incapable of judging our fellowman. We cannot do that. It's God job.It's Christ's job. Luke 18:9, we know the story: "And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and [they] despised others."
So the purpose of the parable is aimed at people who judged others in comparison to themselves. And we have already seen we shouldn't be doing that.
Verse 10: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican." One was righteous on the surface. We judge according to appearance. One was righteous. He wore the robes. He had all the credentials. And the other was a tax collector. Verse 11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself." Meaning the prayer never went above his head. God never heard it. He was praying with himself. He says: "God, I thank [you] that I am not like other men..." (John 18:11). So he is judging himself versus others. And he said, "I'm so thankful, God, that I'm not like these other scoundrels out there." "[They're extortioners, [they're] unjust, [they're adulterers, or even as this publican". He was already judging this man he didn't even know! Just by appearance. And he says, "I fast twice in a week, I give tithes of all that I possess." He said, "I'm just wonderful. Look at what I do! And I just know this publican doesn't do any of this." He was making a judgment not knowing the man's heart. "And the publican [on the other hand] standing afar off, "I'm sure the Pharisee was right up in front taking all the glory and this publican was over in the dark shadows in the corner. "And... [he was] standing afar off, would not [so much] lift up his eyes unto heaven, but [beat] upon his [chest] saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner."
And then Christ says: "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other, for every one that [exalts] himself shall be abased; and he that [humbles] himself shall be exalted."
Now we see here in this example that one man focused on the other man's alleged sins. The other man focused on his sins and not on the other person's alleged sins. One was looking to change himself. The other was comparing himself to somebody else and then elevating himself in the process. The Pharisee, there is no mention of him wanting to change or even feeling he's done anything wrong, but the other man could hardly stand before God realizing what a sinner he was. And so this tells us very clearly we're not to judge one another. We're supposed to be looking at ourselves.
We judge our brother when we speak evil of our brother or sister. When we judge somebody, which we're not supposed to do, we speak evil of them. Look at James 4:11-12. Direct commandment, hard to get around this one. "Speak not evil one of another, brethren." Very plain! Now he explains why: "[He that judges] his brother, [speaks] evil of the law, and [judges] the law: but if [you] judge the law, [then you're] not a doer of the law, but [you're] a judge." "There is only one lawgiver." And, by implication, there's only one judge - God and Christ, but Christ is the one that executes judgment. He says: "There is only one lawgiver [and one judge] who is able to save and to destroy." He's asking the question: 'You that judge and speak evil of somebody else are you able to save and destroy?" He says, "So don't speak evil of your brother because, if you do, you're taking over the job of God and Christ. And boy, woe unto us if we try to take on authority that doesn't belong to us!
When we judge others, we also condemn ourselves. Look at Romans 2:1-6. Paul makes this very clear in judging others, we are actually putting ourselves into condemnation because in part we're taking on a job that doesn't belong to us. He says: "Therefore [you are] inexcusable, O man [or woman] whosoever [you are] that judge that judges: for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you that judge do the same things."
So when we condemn another person, what we're being told here is, "You hypocrite! You do the same thing! You're condemning somebody else for the very thing that you do." "But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to the truth [to God's word]..." God will take care of that. God is going to judge. God judges the deeds. God judges and knows the hearts of men. When you criticize others, do you think somehow, that gives you a pass on God's judgment and Christ's judgment? Verse 4: "Or do you despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering?" He's saying "When you judge somebody else, they you're condemning them. And he says, Look at what God's done to you." I look back at my life and I see that God has been so good to me even when I was sinning. God has been forbearing me, as it says here. That means "put up with me." God has put up with me and my attitudes and my wrong thoughts for so long and He didn't judge me or condemn me. He gave me time to have the light come on and to begin to see. And yet, when we judge our fellowman, we don't give them that time. We're condemning them right then. God gives us sometimes decades! He has for me. Sometimes decades to come to the realization of certain sins and certain wrong attitudes and wrong thoughts and wrong approaches. Longsuffering, forbearing, giving me decades to do that! And yet, when we judge our brother, you see, we're condemning him right on the spot! We're not giving them time. We're not giving them decades. We're not allowing them to grow in God's Spirit because of our condemnation. Make no mistake, at the end of the day, we're judged. Our deeds are stacked up against God's Word and we're judged accordingly. God does that. Christ does that. Not each of us.
Now let's go to James 5:9 and see another scripture about when we judge somebody we condemn ourselves. "Do not grumble against one another." Don't do that. Why? "...lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
Peter said, "Judgment is on the house of God." James is saying, "Don't grumble and complain against each other because you're going to be condemned. You're condemning yourself when you do". Also we are told that we're going to be judged with the same yardstick we judge others. We're going to be judged with the same severity that we judge others, or we're going to be judged with the same mercy that we show others. Christ said this on the Sermon on the Mount. "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." "For in the same way, you judge others, you will be judged,and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Matthew 7:1-2). Meaning, if we have a harsh yardstick and we measure others according to our harsh yardstick, Christ says, "I'm going to use that same yardstick against you. You want to be harsh with your brethren? You want to be condemning? You want to cut them no slack? "I'll do the same to you." That's a scary thought! Matthew 7:3 - "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" How can you say to your brother, "Let me [in my wonderfulness and righteousness] take the speck out of your eye," when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
We've all done it! We've all had it done to us by hypocrites. And all of us have been hypocrites in doing it to to others. Hopefully, we're not doing it now, but I used to years ago. And you just didn't think twice about it. Just hypocritical!
Verse 5, He says: "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
I can remember years ago in Washington. One of the churches - I won't tell you which, but - we had a church in a certain area and we had a man who was a self-appointed "church policeman". And he was the self-appointed "church spot remover!" And so we would have a Sabbath service and then during the week, he would go around, primarily to widows and housewives and all. And he would call on them and tell them in a monologue of what their sins were at Sabbath services or what their sins were during the week. And he would sit down with them and he would correct them in that sense. I started getting reports from people who were offended by this. Obviously! We all would be! And so, I was given the job of sitting down and talking with this man. Now the hypocritical thing is the reason - one of the reasons - this guy did it is because he had plenty of time because he didn't work. His wife supported him. And so he had plenty of time to go around and criticize others. And you see, it never occurred to him that he was going to be judged with the same severity that he was judging others. And he felt quite free to point out everybody's faults. And he had these gigantic spiritual blind spots in his own character. One of which is 1 Timothy 8 - "You're worse than an infidel if you don't support your family." He couldn't see that! And so we need to understand that boy, if we're severe in our judgment of others. Christ and God are going to be severe with us.
(continued with # 4)