By Mark Verkler
What is judgment? Here is the definition according to Merriam-Webster:
judg·ment | \ ˈjəj-mənt \
Definition of judgment
1a: the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing // careful judgment of the odds
b: an opinion or estimate so formed
// is not worth doing in my judgment
There are two main forms of judgment. Jesus said in John 7:24 that we should judge, not according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.
“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” John 7:24
So what is righteous judgment and what is unrighteous judgment? I taught years ago about the importance of calling good good and evil evil. I finally found the verse in Isaiah 5:20. It says, what sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
The definition of insanity is actually, being out of touch with reality. The Bible is God is trying to get me through scripture in touch with reality. Now, in Matthew chapter seven, Jesus says the famous words- judge not that you be not judged. But look at what he says after that- humble yourself, take the log out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly, to help your brother get his splinter out.
The full idea of what Jesus is saying is that if I humble myself first then I can help someone else.
One of the ditches that we can fall into with judgment is prideful judgment. First Corinthians 5:12 says, what right do I have to pronounce judgment on unbelievers? That’s God’s responsibility. Those who are inside the church family are our responsibility to discern and judge, but we have to know how to do it in a righteous way. First Corinthians 11:31-32 says, “if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” We have to interpret Scripture with Scripture and a lot of times in Scripture, there’s a tension.
The Bible really teaches that we are supposed to judge other believers, but with humility and love. There are two ditches with judgment, and it’s prideful judgment and bitter judgment. 2nd Timothy 2:24-26 tells us, “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.”
Remember this when you are tempted to judge others in a prideful way: kindness, patience, humility, and gentleness are much more impactful to usher people into love, growth, and healing.