Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
– Matthew 7:1
Do you not know we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?
– 1 Corinthians 6:3
It’s been a long day. I finally flop down on the sofa, turn on my favorite sappy TV show, and tell my family with a wink, “Don’t judge me.”
Some days later I’m on the phone trying to work through a difficult and dangerous situation that touches my life. The person on the other end of the line dismisses my concerns, telling me, “I’m not going to judge.” The understood subliminal message: Like you are doing.
Judge is a word cloaked in daggers. It evokes visions of stern-faced men in powdered wigs and black robes. Its mere mention is accusatory, heaping suspicion on anyone who risks asking a question.
How many times have you heard the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:1: “Do not judge”?
How often has someone quote these words of Jesus from John 7:24: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment”?
How do we reconcile the two?
For one thing, it’s helpful to realize the New Testament uses different Greek words for the word judge.
Krino speaks of a judgment brought in by an officer of the court, and therefore an official pronouncement.
Anakrino means to “examine, investigate, question.” *
Diakrino refers to using discernment.
Today the word judge has come to mean “condemn.” But there is so much more to judging than that. In Christ, God has granted us the authority to correctly decide the affairs of men in this age in preparation for the age to come. We are commanded to question, examine, investigate, and discern the spirits behind the events in our lives. We are to conduct ourselves in wisdom, speaking the truth without condemnation.
God’s the ultimate Judge. His judgments will not only to put an end to evil, but they will reward those who received the King’s ransom for their sins, escaped the punishment they deserved, and served their Lord with passion. Until then, the job of those who follow Jesus is to practice discernment and extend the grace so hard won by the Savior.
Question. Investigate. Discern. Seek out the truth. Save the pronouncements for the ultimate Judge.
Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.
– 1 Corinthians 4:5
*Taken from Vine’s Greek New Testament Dictionary http://gospelhall.org/bible/bible.php?search=anakrino&dict=vine&lang=greek