By Scott Tibbs, July 22, 2009
One of the most common heresies both Christians and the world have about Scripture is that "only God can judge." This is taken from Matthew 7:1, which is the most quoted verse of Scripture by our decadent society but is also taken out of context most of the time. When taken in context with the rest of the chapter, Matthew 7:1 commands Christians not to judge as hypocrites. The verse does not forbid us from judging at all.
The heresy that forbids Christians from judging goes against common sense. We judge North Korea and Nazi Germany for terrible crimes against humanity and we judge Somali warlords for creating a man-made famine. Judgment is the foundation of our criminal justice system. When someone is speeding, the police officer judges him by giving him a speeding ticket. Do those who are quick to whip out the misinterpretation of Matthew 7:1 advocate the abolition of government? The logical conclusion of this heresy is anarchism.
Would those who condemn judging refrain from judging someone who steals $300 from their wallets, right in front of them? Would they ignore someone beating a child because they wish to consider the beam in their own eye (Matthew 7:3) before examining the speck in another's eye? Would they argue that he who is without sin should cast the first stone (John 8:7) at the child abuser? After all, no one is perfect. The reality is that we practice judgment in every area of our lives, including moral judgment. Someone who chastises another for judging is practicing judgment himself.
In fact, judgment permeates all of scripture. Pastors and elders judge sinners when the sinner's rebellion reaches the point where excommunication is necessary. (See 1 Corinthians 5.) The Apostle Peter confronted Ananias and Sapphira for lying about what they gave the church. The Apostle Paul pronounced judgment on those who reject God and are therefore given over to "vile affections." (See Romans 1:20-32.) What is really going on here is that modern society, which hates discernment and distinctions, is looking for a way to silence the voices that prick our guilty consciences.