"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"
To Judge Or Not To Judge (Mt 7:1-6)
1. A favorite saying of many people is "Judge not, that you be not
a. Frequently quoted whenever someone is pointing out the sins or
faults of another
b. The impression is that we should never make moral judgments in
what we see in others
2. Is that true? Is that what Jesus meant when He said this?
a. Are we never to make moral judgments about the right or wrong in
b. If we see wrong in others, can we never point it out?
3. I am persuaded that Jesus’ statement is often misused, that Jesus
a. There are times when we must judge
b. There are times when it is appropriate to point out the faults in
["To Judge Or Not To Judge", that is the question before us. The proper
answer comes from a closer look at Jesus’ words in Mt 7:1-6 . First note
how His words are frequently misused…]
I. HIS WORDS OFTEN USED TO FORBID "ALL" MANNER OF JUDGMENT
A. SUCH AS ADVERSE OR UNFAVORABLE CRITICISM…
1. Like pointing out a fault in someone else
2. Even if it be truly "constructive" criticism
B. SUCH AS THE EXERCISE OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE…
1. Exercising discipline of any sort does require "judging"
others as to their moral or spiritual condition
2. Since such "judgment" is involved, some feel verses 1-2 rule
out any sort of church discipline
C. SUCH AS EXPOSING THOSE WHO TEACH ERROR…
1. Admittedly, it requires making a judgment in order to consider
whether someone is teaching error
2. Therefore, some people, in light of verses 1-2, believe we
cannot speak out against those who teach error
[Is that what Jesus means? Must we remain silent when we see people
overtaken in a fault, bringing reproach upon the name of Christ, or
blatantly teaching error? Let me suggest that…]
II. JESUS DID NOT RULE OUT "ALL" FORMS OF JUDGMENT
A. NOTE THE "IMMEDIATE" CONTEXT…
1. Which reveals that in some cases "proper" judgment must be
2. Mt 7:6 implies judgment is to be made as to who are "dogs" and
who are "hogs"
a. Otherwise, how can we know when not to give that which is
holy to "dogs"?
b. Or how can we know when not to cast our pearls before
3. Mt 7:15-20 implies that we must make judgments in determining
who is a false teacher ("by their fruits you will know them")
B. CONSIDER THE "REMOTE" CONTEXT…
1. Which speaks of times when judgment must be made!
2. Elsewhere, Jesus taught people to "judge with righteous
judgment" – Jn 7:24
2. Christians have a responsibility to "judge those who are
inside" the local church – 1 Cor 5:9-13
3. We are taught by the apostle of love (John) to "test the
spirits" (which requires making judgments) – 1 Jn 4:1
[There is no contradiction here, for as we continue with our text, we
III. JESUS DEFINED WHAT "KIND" OF JUDGING HE IS CONDEMNING
A. JUDGING WHEN ONE IS BLIND TO HIS OR HER OWN FAULTS…
1. Read carefully Mt 7:3-5
2. Jesus is saying "that is it wrong for anyone to concentrate
his attention on the speck in his brother’s eye, and while
thus occupied, to ignore the beam in his own eye" (Hendriksen)
3. Just Paul taught the necessity of proper "introspection" when
helping others – Ga 6:1
B. JUDGING WITHOUT MERCY AND LOVE…
1. "The Lord is here condemning the spirit of censoriousness,
judging harshly, self-righteously, without mercy, without
love, as also the parallel passage (Lk 6:36-37) clearly
2. James warned against making judgments without mercy – Ja 2:13
a. If we make judgments without showing mercy, then no mercy
will be shown when we are judged!
b. Just as Jesus said in verse 2…
1) "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged"
2) "With the same measure you use, it will be measured back
[The implication is not we should never judge, but when we do judge,
remember that we shall be judged by the same standards we use! Let
mercy and love temper our judgments. Finally…]
IV. JESUS IMPLIES THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE "MUST" MAKE JUDGMENTS!
A. IT IS "AFTER" WE HAVE CORRECTED OUR OWN FAULTS…
1. First, we must remove the "beam" from our own eye – Mt 7:5
2. When we have done so, we are able to see, discern (judge), and
be of help to others who are overtaken in their faults
3. Indeed, "the law of Christ" requires us to! – cf. Ga 6:1-2
B. AGAIN, WE MUST JUDGE BETWEEN THOSE "WORTHY" AND THOSE WHO ARE
"HOGS & DOGS"…
1. Note carefully Jesus’ words in Mt 7:6
a. Some are not worthy of that which "holy"
b. Some are like "dogs" and "swine"
— Determining who is which requires "judgment" upon our part!
2. With those who are receptive, we are to be long-suffering in
trying to help them come out of their error – cf. 2 Tim 2:24-26
3. But for those who are not, we are not to waste what is good
and holy on them!
a. Cf. the instructions of Jesus to His disciples – Mt 10:12-15
b. Cf. the example of Paul and Barnabas at Antioch of Pisidia
– Acts 13:42-46
1. The kind of judging forbidden by Jesus is that which LENSKI calls:
"self-righteous, hypocritical judging which is false and calls
down God’s judgment on itself."
2. This is the kind of judging that was also condemned by James when he
"Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil
of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and
judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of
the law but a judge."
"There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who
are you to judge another?" (James 4:11-12)
3. May God help us to refrain from such judging…
a. To be more apt to remove the "beams" from our own eyes
b. To then be more useful in helping others with their problems
But to say we should never judge, is to abuse what Jesus teaches, not
only in this passage but elsewhere as well!