Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged—What Jesus Meant

Thankfully, He told us what He meant so we don't have to guess.

The best-known Bible verse used to be John 3:16. But our culture has a new favorite. In fact, it has become the trump card played to justify any and every lifestyle. It’s even a quote from Jesus.

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged—What Jesus Meant

(Photo by Photodune)

The phrase is often quoted as “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” While the meaning is the same, it’s interesting we have learned the wrong wording from the 1611 King James Version. It should be: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” The verse often is taken to mean nobody has the right to judge anybody for anything at any time.

The problem? The verse has a context. Jesus told us what He meant.

When Jesus spoke these words on the slopes surrounding the Sea of Galilee, He wasn’t saying never to judge. He simply warned about doing it the wrong way—by telling us how to make judgments the right way.

And believe me, it ain’t easy.

Jesus Isn’t Confused

Later in the same book, Jesus commands we do confront a fellow Christian caught in a sin (Matthew 18:15-17). This awkward obligation is supported elsewhere in the Bible (Galatians 6:1).

So, what did Jesus mean, then, when He said, “Judge not lest ye be judged”? The verse that follows explains—and often it isn’t quoted. Jesus tells us exactly what He meant:

Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. — Matthew 7:1-2

Jesus wasn’t confused in His teaching. He didn’t mean we should never make a judgment about right and wrong. As He explained, He meant we shouldn’t make a judgement hypocritically. The verses that follow make this patently clear (Matthew 7:3-5).

Please Pass the Perfection

We know no one is perfect, but we expect it anyway. Except in ourselves. We often excuse our own shortcomings because we claim God’s grace. But then we turn around and demand others be perfect—a standard we ourselves don’t meet.

This is precisely what Jesus was warning against.

The fact is, we never know all the facts.

  • How do we know the idiot driver didn’t just lose his spouse last week?
  • How do we know the rude saleswoman didn’t just discover she has cancer?
  • How do we know the Christian who cussed didn’t just accept Jesus and has no clue how to walk with God?

Wouldn’t it be better to tap the brakes on our judgment—especially when we don’t know all the facts? Before we call into question someone else’s walk with God, we should scrutinize our own.

NOTE: the Bible never gives us the responsibility of pointing out sins of the world as our priority. Unbelievers don’t need to hear lessons of morality as much as they need to hear the gospel. The judgment Jesus spoke of was primarily between believers, not unbelievers.

The world needs the gospel, not rules alone. Otherwise, they may confuse rules with the way of salvation.

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged —What Jesus Meant

Yes, there is a point when we must confront the sin in another Christian’s life. Otherwise, we’re failing to obey the process Jesus and Paul explained in Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1; and 1 Corinthians 5:3-5.

However, that process should only occur after we’ve gone through a more basic examination with our own lives.

“Judge not lest ye be judged.” Jesus meant that our priority for life change should first be to ourselves—then to others.

Question: Has anyone ever quoted you, “Judge not lest ye be judged”? What did he or she mean by it? To leave a comment, just click here.

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  • Don Den Hartog

    Seems to me in light of other NT teaching that the phrase, “…les we be judged. For in the same manner we judge, we will be judged.”, is a reference to the judgement seat of Christ. With a great deal of emphasis on rewards in the sermon on the mount, Jesus is warning that the standard and degree we judge others, we will be judged by him in a similar fashion! This motivates me to be much more merciful to people as I desire His merciful judgement/assessment before entering into the Kingdom.

    • I think you’re right, Don, in light of Romans 14:10. That’s a super point. It’s a challenge, isn’t it? For we don’t want to be so merciful toward others that we fail the command to urge them to godliness or even rebuke them in love. Thanks for your insightful words.

      • Mike Backfat

        Excellent insight Wayne!… I think besides sacrificing one’s own life for another the next greater love we can show a man is to rebuke his sin so that he may get closer to the love of God… Oh..as long as we have first examined that specific sin in ourselves first and found ourselves not committing that sin…otherwise it may require a dual rebuke….:)

        • Sometimes, Mike, that seems to take the wisdom of Solomon. Such a tough balance if love is really our goal. Thanks.

          • Mike Backfat

            Well I try for balance and not throwing the baby out with the bath water but I am mortal and human and thus fail quite a bit…thank God its a learning curve and a process of spiritual growth …and I am ok with striving for a never ending perfection despite the fact I won’t get there…:)

            I really love Solomon and like him I strive for Truth, Sacrifice, Justice, Mercy, as they are the blocks of Love. They are Jesus.

  • Don Den Hartog

    PS: Thanks for the emails! They are very practical & applicable.

    • You’re very welcome. And thank you for the encouragement.

  • Pingback: Why We Should Default to Grace Rather than to Criticism | Wayne Stiles()

  • Melba

    a friend of mine recently pointed out to another person that I actually believe we shouldn’t judge other people..I quoted, “judge not lest ye be judged..” she then pointed out to the other person how wrong i am. I am 68 years old and was always taught not to be judgmental of other people. I know we all have to make judgments but I don’t know what circumstances others have and i certainly make my share of mistakes. at the time, she asked me if i knew where that scripture was in the bible and i did not—-but i sure do now! so this incident did cause me to research the Bible and in the end, has helped me. I still try to never judge other people!!

    • That’s great, Melba. This context actually teaches that we should not judge others hypocritically. That doesn’t mean we should make no judgments at all — but that we should be careful how we do it. Not with hypocrisy. Thanks!

  • Bud

    “What Jesus Meant”….. I am certain that you are every bit the authority on the mind of Jesus that you claim to be….right? Here’s the reality…..you have know flipping clue what Jesus meant and are just another among us with an opinion….please try to constrain yourself from believing otherwise.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Bud. My opinion is no better than any others. I only understand what you’ve written here because I take it literally. Your view is clear. Unless we approach the words of Jesus the same way—and take them literally—no one can ever know the truth. In fact, “No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Cor. 2:11–12). I’m simply interpreting Jesus’ words as literally as you’re interpreting mine.

      • Bud

        It’s refreshing to me that you have this attitude. I am often frustrated by those (of any religious stripe) claiming to know the mind of God. As you pointed out, we do not possess this ability. Perhaps the title could be…
        Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged—What I Think Jesus Meant

        • I understand. It is also frustrating that those of any stripe choose to claim ignorance of God’s truth when He has expressly revealed it so that we may know it. As Moses wrote: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). Thanks.

  • Kerstin Zander

    Thanks for this educative article, which, amongst all first page search results was the only one without a dense air of claiming to know THE TRUTH ™, spewing condemnation and making my “heathen” toenails curl. Scripture – regardless of its brand – contains universal wisdom, thanks for making it more universally accessible 🙂

    • You’re welcome, Kerstin. It’s a shame that blogs can’t do a better job of showing God with His arms open rather than His arms crossed. Without diminishing the effects of all of our sins, God’s grace is a far more compelling argument for believing in Jesus Christ than God’s condemnation ever will be. Thanks.

  • wonderstanding

    Thank you for your insights, Wayne. I appreciate you sharing your perspective on the art of judging without hypocrisy. I would like, if I may, to allow for another way of looking at this.

    From my perspective, Jesus was aware of the un-divided wholeness that is ‘God’ or ‘The One.’ He knew that our separation was an illusion; that man had never truly been cast out of the wholeness and was thus only experiencing an illusion of separation. Looked at in this way, one can interpret ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged’ as a literal statement.

    If we are One, if we are God undivided, then any aspect of us rendering judgment upon another is actually a judgment upon Our-Self because that ‘other’ is not really another, it is only an illusion that they are another.

    Seen this way, we could interpret Jesus as saying that in the very moment anyone judges, and regardless of how they judge, they will have ultimately judged an aspect of themselves and thus have judged themselves – literally. Put simply, the judge and the judged are One, so it would be as if our left hand were judging our right, and if there is condemnation in that judgment, then it would be as if our left hand were damning our right. And we will feel it.

    So rather than Jesus suggesting an ideology or means by which to engage the act of judgment, I perceive him as being an unconditionally loving being who was simply explaining the mechanics of Creation, of how things work, so as to assist everyone in transcending the illusion of separation so that they might consciously unite with the Undivided God they have always been and forever will be.

    God as I experience, IS un-conditional Love – literally. With such Love, there are no conditions upon anyone or anything. God allows for both judgment and hypocritical judgment as well as the simple realization that all judgement is a Self-judgment.

    So rather than question our judgments or the ways by which we judge, what if Jesus was just prodding everyone to uplift their perception into the realm of non-duality, of Oneness, of Unconditional Love, of God…

    Thank you for allowing me to share.

    • Thanks for expressing your view. I think I understand where you’re coming from. If all we had of Jesus’ words were this passage, it might be tough to have much confidence in what he meant. But he also spoke other places in the gospels. For example:

      “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ . . . Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 7:22–23; 25:41)

      Such difficult words are spoken to those who reject the love of God. One beautiful thing about God is that he allows us the freedom of choice but not the freedom of consequences from our choices.

      The unconditional love of God, if we take the Bible as our source of information about God, is a love that allows anyone to come to God, regardless of the sins they have committed, as long as they come by the means he has provided: faith in Jesus who died for our sins. It’s tough for me to be intellectually honest about an interpretation of Jesus’ words that isn’t literal–just as you and I interpret each other’s words literally, and so understand each other. Thanks again for sharing—and may God guide you on your journey.

      • wonderstanding

        Thank you for your reply, Wayne. I greatly appreciate your willingness to be open. Your answer however, leads me to a question:

        If the love of God is truly un-conditional then why place a condition on the means by which someone must come to him? Only a conditional God places a condition, right? The definition of un-conditional is after all: ‘without condition.’ And thus to an un-conditional God, all paths would be validated, right?

        I thank you once again for your insightful sharing, and I wish you a most wondrous and fruitful journey.

        • An important part of God’s unconditional love is that he allows us the freedom of choice. Love forces no one to love in return, and although God could have created us with no other option, his unconditional love allows the possibility that someone may not respond in kind. He wants true worshipers and not robots. His love honors the choice of others. Again, these are principles from Scripture—not merely my opinions.

          According to the Bible, the unconditional nature of God’s love means
          that he requires no prerequisites to be met before giving his son, Jesus, by which people can be forgiven. God’s love has no conditions, but the response to that love does have conditions. (We do the same with our children.) The truth is beautifully expressed in a well-known verse from the lips of Jesus:

          “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16–18).

          • wonderstanding

            Thank you, Wayne. I appreciate and honor your road.

  • G J

    You did a very good job with this passage of scripture. No one knows the heart of man except God. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. One doesn’t know his own heart, so how can he judge someone else’s motives or walk with God.

    • Thank you, G J. How refreshing to read your words. So often those who comment on this post take issue with it. And you’re so right, following our heart is a bad idea, so we must trust God above all else. Thanks again.

  • Jason

    If we look at John 7:24, scripture tells us to judge. But as was pointed out to it righteously and not be hypocritical. If we examine ourselves and take the log out of our own eyes, we can see clearly to help the next person out.

    • Yes, Jason. Exactly. Both of those commands are tough assignments. Thanks.

  • Blair

    I have to disagree… you’re right in that you do have to take it all in to understand it…. to do this lets reach all the way back to the beginning of the Bible. When did sin enter the world? When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. The KNOWLEDGE… not the fruit of good and evil. With the knowledge of good and evil comes sin because without that knowledge one is incapable of sin. An animal can’t sin because it has no ability to know that it’s actions are wrong or sinful by the same token an animal does not judge the actions of another animal.
    We, as human beings, have the knowledge of what’s right and wrong but our knowledge is limited. We can’t know the full context of the actions we are judging. We don’t know what led up to those actions nor do we see the bigger picture of how those actions fit into God’s plans.
    Flash forward once again to Jesus. Matthew 18:3 and Jesus says, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you change and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” A child does not judge, a child loves, trusts, has natural, beautiful faith in themselves and in others. They don’t LOOK for reasons to distrust or to judge.
    Another example of this lesson from Jesus is John Chapter 8:4-11. Jesus refuses to condemn the adulteress because he does not judge her. Because with Judgement comes condemnation.
    The bible is FULL of instances where God’s chosen do things that would, by those around them, be seen as sins. One that comes to mind is described by Jesus in Matthew 12:4 and continues all the way through 12:8, When David ate the bread reserved for the Priests. Another example is Jesus’ disciples picking and eating grain on the Sabbath, and Jesus Healing on the Sabbath, and, and and…
    Through all of this it strikes me as funny… the only circumstances in which we see Jesus become angry is when he is dealing with the church leaders (the judges and the ones who TEACH others to judge) and the money changers in the temple. Through out his ministry Jesus spends a majority of his time… that which we see in the Gospels… preaching against judging others… Matthew 22:36-40 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” If you truly love someone… as a child loves (see above)… do you judge them? OR do you through faith see them as perfect creations of God and leave the judgement to the one being who knows the whole story…?

    • You’re right, Blair, we do disagree. Thanks for sharing your view and for seeking the truth in Scripture rather than logic alone.

      • Blair

        We’re not as far apart as it may appear. We as human beings HAVE to judge. Walking down the street at night we judge the individual walking toward us when we decide if they are a danger. By the same token we MUST judge the actions of others according to what we are taught is right or wrong. Ultimate Judgment lies in the hands of God but we as a society must judge to prevent anarchy and the devolving of our society.
        Matthew 12:7 “If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” Notice Jesus does not say “you would not have judged the innocent” He said ” you would not have condemned the innocent”. Knowing that our judgments are imperfect as we can not know the whole story or how the actions of the one we are judging fit into the way God’s plans will unfold, our judgments MUST be first based on mercy understanding that we may be judging someone for doing the will of God or at the very least something that God will hold that person innocent of, for a reason that at this time only God understands.
        To understand this we must look once again at Matthew 18:3. A child naturally fears strangers or strange surroundings etc and looks to their parent in deciding if they are safe and how to react in the given situation. We as children of God must do the same. we must look to OUR parent, God, through prayer and ask him to guide us on how we proceed. The HARD part is not allowing our previous beliefs no matter how deeply held, to color our understanding God’s answer. Acts 10:15

        • Matthew Sabella

          There’s a difference between evaluating your environment and assessing threats and judging someone. If you see man in ragged clothing and assume he’s a bum, a parasite of society because he’s wearing rags and hasn’t showered in days that’s judging, if you see a pair of large men walking shoulder to shoulder and approaching you at 2am down an alley and think to yourself that you’re going to get mugged that’s a fight or flight response, you’re evaluating a potential threat, it’s not the same thing as judging. Judging would be assuming because said men where of a specific demographic that they’re thieves or murders. See the difference?

    • Gina Vance

      Exactly. I have read and pondered on these words many many times, and have come to the same understanding. Our job here is to love one another as Jesus loves us. Leave the judging to our Heavenly Father. Only He knows/sees the entire picture.

    • tx1955

      Proverbs 22:24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do …
      biblehub.com/proverbs/22-24.htm
      Bible Hub
      Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, … Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: How do suppose that you knew this guy was angry,….. you heard it, you saw it…. so you made a judgement call, a Righteous Judgement Call. What if your daughter were about to go on a date with this guy, would you let her. Satan loves to quot scripture out of context. By doing so there is a verse that tells you what happens. Hosea 4:6King James Version (KJV)

      6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

      • Dalphon Hamilton

        Not making friends with an angry man (or woman, for that matter) is just plain, old-fashioned common sense because it can be unhealthy for you! Angry people need healing. Often as Christians, we want to heal everyone we think is hurting. We forget that healing is done by the will of God-not our will but His. Angry people often lash out, or worse, at the very people trying the hardest trying to help them.

        Sorry I digress. I work with angry people.

        My point his that as Christians, we are to heal when and where we can, and leave the rest (judgement, for example) to God. Sometimes I wonder just how many Christians realize that when faced with the option to heal or judge, Jesus choose to heal. Maybe this is why we can not help/heal like we should. We are so busy judging that we leave no room for healing (and usually, at the same time, we ignore/minimize our own faults).

      • Ernest Nunnally

        Psalm 137:9,Hosea 13:16,Nahum 3:10 ESV Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!

  • Billy Brown

    most “Christians?” use it in the same way that the democrats, liberals and black lives matter use “racist, bigot. to shut someone up when they don’t want to be told other lives matter too.

    • Often, that’s true, isn’t it, Billy? Thankfully, regardless of the hypocrisy of others, we can do our best to make sure our own lives are faithful and gracious as a priority before observing the lives of others. Thanks.

    • Matheus H Macedo

      The reason the organization is called Black Lives Matter is because black people are treated as if they don’t matter, it doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter, it means black lives matter too.

  • RobW

    As I read somewhere, being a sinner is a prerequisite for becoming a christian (surely as part of baptism/communion/confirmation you had to make a confession? In that light, as a christian you have no right to judge another because you yourself are just as guilty. As jesus said in another context on the same topic, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” – jesus is clearly saying do not make judgments on others.

    • It can seem a fine line, Rob, I agree. But there has to be some point at which we recognize and deal with the sin in the lives of others. Paul wrote: “If anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). Also, it’s not judging our children when we address their disobedience—even though we also disobey. It takes the wisdom of Solomon to obey this command of Christ. The goal is restoration, not stone throwing.

  • Mike Backfat

    Hi Wayne,

    I have a question or two… Is it possible that we may rebuke others sin despite us having sin?… I somehow believe that rebuke and judgment are ok if we are rebuking and judging the sin and not the person in regards to punishment. Ie the adulteress with Jesus…As the only person who can judge with punishment is God and Jesus.

    However Moses appointed judges to judge the people in God’s Words and Commandments and those judges could punish by the law of Moses. Do you believe Jesus abolished the Laws of Moses and now we can no longer punish people who sin?… Should murderers not be punished and left to roam around in society?

    I know these questions are tough because I have been searching them through the Bible and I only come up with contradictions. With that being said its impossible for me to believe that murders and child molesters should be unpunished and be free in our society as it leaves the young and weak unprotected. That would be letting Evil triumph rather than be fought. The only answer I could ever come up with is exile to some deserted place as that would keep children safe and force evil to live and prey on itself.

    • Great questions, Mike. The context of Jesus’ command in Matthew 7 is a context of personal relationships. In essence, He says we should first judge ourselves so that we aren’t hypocrites when we, as Paul wrote: “If anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). Also, we “judge” our children when we address their disobedience—even though we also disobey.

      The larger issue you ask about falls in the realm of government, an institution God set up for our protection from lawlessness, such as you mentioned. Paul explains this in Romans 13: “If you do what is evil, be afraid; for [government] does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil” (v. 4). The sword is a reference to capital punishment. Thanks for your great questions, Mike.

      • Mike Backfat

        In my judgment, and I pray its righteous, the problem is the socialist and liberal government we have today is so immoral that it is not the minister of God. It is the enemy of God. This makes it very tough sledding for Christians today as we will be and are being persecuted by this immoral government as Jesus foretold.

        • Indeed, a godless government does make it tough, Mike. However, the government at the time Paul wrote this command was Rome, with godless Nero at its head. Even if a government fails to honor God, it still serves the function as God’s servant—whether it knows it does or not. That’s why Paul also urged us to pray for the governing officials—for their salvation as well as for their protection “that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:2).

          • Mike Backfat

            The govt of man hasn’t served by action as God’s servant from the beginning despite the intent. God gave warnings of setting up a govt monarchy to Samuel. I pray for Jesus to rectify the situation.

            I have a question…

            If a man serves a Godless govt or Church is he not committing the same sin? If a man lives in an unjust governed and Godless society and pays a tithe or tax that goes for abortions and other corruptions is he not guilty of the same corruption and sin? If a man serves govt can he still serve God when Jesus said we can’t have two masters that are divided? Isn’t that why Jesus and his disciples lived outside of society to avoid that sin?

          • You’re right. No government perfectly fulfills God’s intent. Neither does a pastor, elder, husband or any other authority God has set up. But they still have authority—and we are to submit to them unless they require us to sin. This is the critical difference. This why the Hebrew midwives in Exodus were honored. Egypt required sin—so they disobeyed the government to obey God. Peter and John said, “We must obey God rather than man,” because the Jewish leaders required sin. Jesus said to render to Caesar the things that are his (i.e. taxes). Paul also commanded we pay taxes. These teachings are clear.

            But . . . abortions are not required, to use your good example. As I mentioned before, the NT commands we obey the government and doesn’t give an exception clause unless the government requires we sin. The government allowing sin is totally different. Of course, if we do disobey, we need to be ready to face the consequences of persecution.

          • Mike Backfat

            You split an interesting hair but maybe I misunderstood you…

            Are you saying if the govt requires a tax of which a part of that tax money goes to an abortion clinic, that we are not sinning if we pay that tax that pays for the sin of abortion?

          • Mike Backfat

            To simplify…If we pay a tax to a govt that pays for abortions with part of that tax are we still moral and doing the word of God? Or are we sinning by funding abortions when we pay that tax?

          • That’s right, Mike. It is our responsibility to pay our taxes. It is the government’s responsibility to use that tax money in a good way. If the government uses our tax money to fund ungodly actions, God holds them responsible — not us.

          • Mike Backfat

            Well first we arent paying OUR taxes. We are paying the govt’s taxes and at an amount well past the Biblical tithe.

            Do you believe Jesus wants us to fund a corrupt govt with OUR money so they can use that money to fund sin and Evil?

            If you believe Jesus wants us to fund sin… then why did Jesus go into the temple and throw out the sinners who were corrupt and evil? He didn’t fund them. If we dont follow His example how are we free from sin as his disciples?

          • David Leonard

            Mike
            Really are you so combative that you even find fault with the phrase “pay our taxes”. We all knew what was meant by this statement.

            Although i agree with the idea that you have issues with the government spending our tax money in certain ways, i do not think it makes a case for refusal to pay taxes or for us being immoral for paying them.

            I am sure that many others have the same issues you have with the government but it isn’t Wayne’s fault it is ours.

            The bible say’s we get the leaders we deserve and although i think it is a hard pill to swallow sometimes i think it is as true today as it was then. If you are looking for someone to biblically make a case for your refusal to pay taxes I think you are going to have to make that giant leap yourself.

            Also remember what Peter said in 1 Peter 2:11-18.

            And above i think you are trying to find justification for judging others, you have paraphrased the urban slang phrase of “hate the game not the player”, in Jesus’ encounter with the adulteress remember what he said? Did anyone condemn you, then i wont either go on your way and sin no more.

            By saying I am rebuking and judging the sin not the person doesn’t change the fact of what it is. Are you rebuking and judging the sin in the privacy of your own thoughts or your home or are you sharing them with the person whom you have the issue with. If we are telling them your a sinner and you will burn in hell for XYZ then we are claiming God’s wrath as our own. Not only is this wrong but its not helpful.

            Today you are not going to make a case for God by telling someone they are a sinner and living wrong, You make the case relationally for Christ by showing them how great it is to live under Jesus and God’s rule.

            Discipleship these days is relational until they know and respect you, you will have no traction to speak into their life and have it mean anything anyway. So better to leave it alone unless you have the relational credit to actually help them through it as one believer to another. When we rebuke and judge people who we don’t have relational credit built up with all we do is push them away from God.

            I hope this helps 🙂

            David

          • Mike Backfat

            Hmmnnn…

            Did I ask for your help?….:)
            Will you judge me for being judgmental?…:)

            You make far too many assumptions and unrighteous judgments of my words. I was asking Wayne questions as they are things I struggle with and I wasn’t making declarative statements for the most part unless it was preceded contextually by a question.. But you publicly came in and made many judgments without being asked for.

            With that being said I wouldn’t have minded if you had made “righteous” judgments on my questions and words to Wayne but you took them out of context and sadly polarized them in extremes. This is common today as most liberals that think they are Christian commonly do this in an attempt to be combative and win an argument that they are actually creating. It’s a projection and very sad when they misuse Bible scripture and think they understand it in an attempt to get self esteem they obviously are lacking.

            As far as public rebuking and judgments. We are commanded by Jesus Christ himself to do so.

            John 7:24…”Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

            Luke 17:3 – If your brother sins, rebuke him

            Matthew 7 is actually about first looking at and JUDGING OURSELVES and if we have done that THEN we are indeed allowed and expressly told to judge and give opinion and rebuke in public or private as Jesus commanded in the verses above.. I think where most self professed Christians get confused is thinking no public rebuke or judgment is allowed at any time if we have sin, but the fact is we all have sin, and if this was true then no one could give rebuke or judgment. And that is opposite of Jesus’s commands above to rebuke with righteous judgment.

            In addition you may wish to understand when Jesus talks of judgment it often is in the context of punishment. For example I am pretty sure the context is in regards to punishment when He let the adulteress off without being stoned. But he warned her to sin no more. And told his disciples and followers to judge with righteous judgment and rebuke and righteously judge the sin of others, and themselves. both in public and in private.

            I hope this helps:)

  • Ed

    Which version of the bible states “judge not, lest ye be judged”? I believe I read it that way some time ago and always heard it that way, but can’t find which one states it that way- I thought KJV, but I’m not sure.

    Also, I do agree with your interpretation and know the verse

    • The only place I can find the old version comes from the 1611 KJV: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Not sure how the “lest ye” crept in, but it’s stuck in our minds. Funny how that happens. Thanks, Ed.

  • Matthew Sabella

    These words are of wisdom, doesn’t matter who wrote it, if it was a direct quote or paraphrasing, no matter how you slice and dice it from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English, revised, unedited it’s all the same. Logic and common sense come to play, it says why critique the spec in the eye of your brother when your eye is impaled by a wooden stake. It means don’t be a hypocrite and don’t be judgemental. Why do we care if it was from God, the son of God, the prophet, the the Holy Spirit? It’s a book of wisdom.

    • Truth is certainly true, regardless of who says it. It’s also true that truth must have a source—otherwise it’s my “truth” versus someone else’s—and that’s just opinion. Thanks, Matthew.

  • Damian Nix

    Wayne… Are you aware that the words “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” never appear in the King James Bible?

    Given that 7 months ago you wrote this article with the understanding that this was the verbiage… It never was… I’m wondering what you think about this, it must be fresh in your mind, writing this.

    I grew up knowing this phrase by heart. Judge not, lest ye be judged.

    I know it in my heart, just as the lords prayers was ALWAYS “trespassers”, it was NEVER “debtors”.

    Something terrifying is happening, I think. God’s word is being changed.

    • Damian Nix

      By the way, not just digital copies of the bible are changing. Physical copies I’ve owned for years all reflect the changes…

    • Yes, Damian, I’m aware that exact wording never appears. In fact, only a few days ago another reader and I commented on that fact. I wrote the post with this verbiage because that’s what people search the internet for, and I hope they’ll go to the Word itself to see the full context of that passage. It is strange—and a bit frightening—how tradition creeps in to truth. Thanks.

    • Mandela effect. Lots of well known passages have changed.

  • Karina Chapman

    “Yes, there is a point when we must confront the sin in another Christian’s life. ” Excuse me? Who says? Who are you to confront me about my sin–or your perception of it? And who is to say that your version of Christianity is better than anyone else’s?

    I’m tired of so-called Christians behaving as hateful and judgmental and nasty as you could ever imagine but then say they’re “good” because they’re “Christian”. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in the ocean makes you a fish. Behaving in a Christ-like manner is better. I think everyone’s forgotten an old mantra–love the sinner. Or phrased another way: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

    • You’re right, Karina. There are too many Christians who behave without grace and without giving someone the benefit of the doubt before jumping in with words that pigeonhole others.

      You asked “Who says?” about confronting another believer who refuses to repent. That’s a tough question. It’s hard not because the answer is unclear; both Jesus and Paul commanded we do so in Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1; and 1 Corinthians 5:3-5. The hard part is doing it without hypocrisy. The biblical goal is not condemnation of anyone but restoration to a life of obedience and grace. Thanks.

    • Rebecca

      Read 1 Corinthians 5.

  • subexpression

    I can’t find the version that reads, “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

    • I’ve not been able to find that version either. I mention that in the post as well as in this comment. It’s a bit of a mystery. Thanks.

  • leisa

    are you all aware the Bible NOW says “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”???? Go get your Bibles out fellows, we got a problem here.

  • leisa

    I grew up believing the Lion shall sleep with the Lamb….it says Wolf? what happened? Isaiah 65:25
    “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” Am I losing it?

  • Wayne, if this Mandela effect is not real why would you write the quote incorrectly at the top of your article and then reference Matthew 7:1 knowing it was wrong? I take this effect seriously.

    • Your point about me misquoting the verse is well taken. I have fixed it. I wrote the words that way so that people could find this post (because that’s what they’re searching for). The meaning is identical and the translation is still accurate from the original Greek. But it could cause confusion. Thanks.

      I have no doubt that misquoted passages can become ingrained in our minds. But that happens because we spend so little time in the Bible—not because the Bible changes. I’ve heard many people misquote the Gettysburg Address with “forefathers” instead of “fathers.” The concept of the Mandela Effect simply highlights our tendency to quote people rather than the source; it in no way supports the notion of glimpses into parallel worlds—a worldview the Bible contradicts.

  • Wayne, did you change your website and this page today or yesterday, JUNE 24th

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  • Matheus H Macedo

    But there is also: “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:12, can you speak to this?

    • That’s a great question, Matheus. To this question we could also add Romans 14:4: “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” And yet this command seems to contradict what Jesus and Paul commanded we do in Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1; and 1 Corinthians 5:3-5. The answer to each of these seeming contradictions comes by reading the verses in context.

      The context of James 4:12 is written to those who are compromising their walks with Christ for selfish purposes, and verse 11 speaks specifically to the arrogant. So, the next verse you asked about refers to judging others in a hypocritical, arrogant manner—the very thing Jesus warns about in Matthew 7. James 5:9 gives a similar command, but there it’s about complaining against another person in judgment. It’s interesting, but we find very similar themes in the book of James as the Sermon on the Mount.

      Everything has a context, of course. If we took verses by themselves, we’d find the Bible contradicting itself on every turn. (The same could be said of our words each day!) But when we examine the verses in context, we find God’s Word offering a consistent message. Thanks, Matheus.

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  • Paul Jalbert

    Yes they have. Two married Catholics that ran a “Christian” support house. After explaining what I perceived to be bad, and wanting to know why it was perceived to be good, they proclaimed “judge not or you will be judged”
    They used the quote then proceeded to cast judgment on me for a multitude of behaviours they believed that I had for the past decade. It turns out that they believed I was somebody else. They had me mistaken for another person, and told me I was in denial when I explained that I never did what they accused me of. They never did explain why the situations that I thought were bad, were actually good. They just said “don’t question it, and do it- it’s the rules.” I think they were possed by the devil- not sure.

    • Wow, Paul. The situation you describe sounds pretty much exactly what Jesus was warning against! It frightens me how often I respond hypocritically, when in my heart I’m simply pointing out the truth. Sometimes I wonder if my faults are as obvious to others as theirs are to me! Thanks.

  • Jeffrey Bell

    My understanding is that as a Christian we are to approach others with love, to patiently listen, guide, teach, and above all, forgive. Not to rebuke, condem or ostracize. So many Christian groups turn people away because they have deemed that their sin is worse than their own…but all sin is sin! How can anyone say that a particular sin is greater than any other sin? We all need forgiveness daily, hourly, and probably from minute to the next. This should cause us to be humbled by grace and to never take pride in our righteousness, it simply does not exist, we are only saved by God’s grace!

    • I agree with you, Jeffrey, that Christians should approach others with love. After all, that’s what Jesus did. The problems occur, of course, when believers point fingers to the world and speak words of condemnation rather than words of grace that Jesus died for their sins. Jesus’ point in Matthew 7 isn’t believers with the world– but believers with other believers. None of us has the right to judge another on our own. But Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 have to harmonize with what Jesus and Paul commanded we do in Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1; and 1 Corinthians 5:3-5. Those passages clearly call on believers to humbly confront other believers when appropriate. Even when this difficult task does occur, it must be done in love and with the goal of restoration, not condemnation.

      • Jeffrey Bell

        Certainly very important to understand in these times of sharp division! Even still, you run the risk of ‘judging’ when you point out to someone that they might be judging… But done with patience and love and a desire to understand the other person point of view seems to be the way…provides an opportunity to develop a greater understanding.

  • Deborah Wheat

    I quote this one often. In my opinion, what he was saying was just that. We were given free will from God/Creator, and only he can truly judge judge us. Yes we as a society can create laws in which to live by and function as a whole, but to judge another’s walk in life is not our place.

    Our place is to learn, love and share our knowledge. That and finding common ground of understanding. We were put here, in my opinion to do just that.

    Only at the end of this great journey will we be judged on just how we did, and only God/Creator can do that.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Deborah. Of course, part of what you mention that God will evaluate us on includes how we have obeyed what He has clearly commanded us—including the difficulties of mutual accountability among Christians. Thanks.

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  • Phil

    I do apologize. But have we all not sinned and falling short of the glory of God?? So therefore what you or anyone else may believe, I believe that judging someone in any manner is completely wrong and so uncalled for. For we all know what we do and what is right and what is wrong. And we all must account for our own wrong doings when we face the Lord. Because in the end he is the only one that the the determination in the end!!!! So chew on them words for a bit.

    • If we leave God’s Word out of the picture, Phil, I’d completely agree with you. It’s just that if the Bible represents God’s view on the matter, there’s more to the picture than what you or I think on our own.