By Scott Tibbs, February 28, 2008
Mike Adams addresses a piece of hate mail sent to him. When Adams asked why the critic is morally superior to him, the critic responded: "Because I don't look down on other people." This exchange is an example of why Matthew 7:1 has become one of the most popular Bible verses in today's society. Most people have seen, heard and used this verse used so many times that it is second nature to them. Unfortunately, the verse has lost its meaning as the context in which Jesus said it.
The next four verses give more insight into what Jesus meant when He spoke these words. What Jesus is saying here is to not judge as a hypocrite. The Pharisees would look down on other people, puffing themselves up while ignoring their own sin. Jesus did not condemn judgment of sin; He condemned the self-righteous arrogance of Judea’s religious leaders. In fact, the Bible not only allows Christians to judge, it in some cases commands it. Paul commands the Corinthian church to disassociate itself from a man who is having an affair with his father's wife. (I Corinthians 5). Jesus was anything but non-judgmental when he used a whip to violently drive the moneychangers out of the Temple in Matthew 21:12-13. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites and uses the phrase "generation of vipers" in Matthew 3, Matthew 12 and Matthew 23.
The hypocrisy of the "judge not" crowd is readily apparent to anyone who thinks about it logically. If we are not to judge others, then we certainly cannot judge someone for being judgmental. We judge in every aspect of our lives. If someone who spouts the gospel of not judging were to observe someone stealing money out of his wallet, would he object to the theft? After all, Matthew 7:1 commands us not to judge and Matthew 7:3 commands us to remove the beam in our own eyes before we take the speck from someone else's eye. Since we are all sinners, would we really be Biblically justified in alerting law enforcement to this crime?
Judging is fundamental to our criminal justice system. We judge rapists, murderers, and thieves. We judge lesser crimes like speeding and vandalism. Without the capacity to judge, we would have anarchy. And in order to have something to judge, we must have standards we use to apply that judgment. But where do we find these standards? From a civil standpoint, we look to the law. From a spiritual standpoint, we look to the Bible.
What this sloppy thinking demonstrates is that too many people base their opinions on what feels good. But something that feels good mid not necessarily logically sound or morally good. What this society is in desperate need of is instruction in basic logic. The government school system should make teaching students how to think as much of a priority as any other academic subject.