"I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee."
Job 42:2
Unbiblical Cop-outs: Don't Judge Me!
Christopher J. E. Johnson
Published: Oct 25, 2012
Updated: Nov 20, 2016

For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
-Isaiah 61:8

Any Christian who has ever given a Biblical rebuke has, at some point, heard this phrase: "You shouldn't judge, the Bible says so!" As the title of this article clearly states, this phrase is a quick unbiblical one-liner for those who claim to be Christians to spew out in an attempt to justify themselves, so they don't have listen to the truth.

cop out (v): to avoid one's responsibility; to back out
(See 'cop', Random House Dictionary, 2013, Random House Inc, retrieved Jan 14, 2014, [www.dictionary.com])

There is no place in the Bible that ever says we are not to judge. In fact, we have a responsibility as Christians to judge righteously. There are a number of verses that instruct and rebuke us on HOW to judge because judgment is a NECESSARY part of our lives, and without proper judgment, we would easily be decieved.

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

Jesus Christ would not tell us to "judge righteous judgment," if Christians were not supposed to judge at all. Let's imagine you're asleep in your home, and suddenly you hear the crash of breaking glass. As you look out into your living room, you see a dark figure entering your home through your now-broken window. You haven't talked to him, you don't know him, but if you reach for your shotgun and/or call the police, then you are judging that man. When a stranger breaks into your home, you make righteous judgments to stop him in order to protect yourself and your family.

What the average church-goer actually means when he says "don't judge me," is: "Don't tell me anything that will cause me to feel uncomfortable about my actions and words." Because the Body of Christ has devolved into a luke-warm, feel-good country club, the modern Laodecian Christians seek out comforts intead of the truth of the Word.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
-2 Timothy 3:1-4

When a don't-judge-me Christian makes these excuses, they're referring to Matthew 7. Let's take a closer look at it and get a context for what Jesus Christ is teaching:

Judge not, that ye be not judged.
-Matthew 7:1

Typically, the average church-goer stops here, and doesn't read any more. There are two ways this could be interpreted:
  1. Don't judge others, so you won't be judged.
  2. Don't judge others as if you will not be judged the same way. (i.e. don't judge hypocritically)
How do we know which interpretation is correct? We keep reading:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
-Matthew 7:2-5

Nowhere in these verses does it say "don't judge." As we saw earlier, Jesus Christ taught us to "judge righteous judgment," but in Mat 7, he is also teaching not to judge as a hypocrite.

hypocrite (n): One who feigns to be what he is not; one who assumes a false appearance
(See 'hypocrite', Noah Webster's Dicitonary, 1828, retrieved Jan 16, 2014, [webstersdictionary1828.com])

So there are three types of hypocrites that come out of these verses, and first type are those that accuse another of not doing right, when accuser doesn't do right either. For example, a sister scolders her brother for not doing the dishes, but she doesn't do it either.

The second type of hypocrite is when the accuser does the same wicked action for which the accused is being rebuked. For example, a parent scolds a child for lying, but the parent lies all the time.

The third type is when the accused is said to be doing wrong, but the accused is actually doing right, and the accuser refuses to acknowledge that he is doing the same thing as the accused, but in the wrong manner. In fact, when a Christian says "don't judge me," he often refuses to acknowledge that he is judging the other person by labeling his neighbor as a "judger of others."

The Bible tells us we are to judge matters and people in the rightousness of the Word of God, but that we should examine ourselves first.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
-2 Corinthians 13:5

Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
-1 Corinthians 11:13

Food for thought: As a Christian, what's the first thing you do when someone accuses you of something? Are you a scorner who immediately gets defensive and rejects rebuke, or do you analyze what they're saying, examining yourself objectively and righteously, to see if what they say is true?

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
-1 Corinthians 2:14-15

But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
-1 Corinthians 11:32

My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
-Proverbs 3:11

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
-Hebrews 12:5

If we would examine and judge ourselves in adherence to the righteousness of Jesus Christ in all matters, we would have no need to be judged of man. But when men say and do things that are contrary to Christ's doctrine, we Christians should have a desire for them (and ourselves) to be sound in the faith.

This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
-Titus 1:13

God also told the Jews that if they were to do well, they needed to seek righteous judgment:

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
-Isaiah 1:17

And that they were righteous when they judged, but when judgment stopped, they were like harlots and murderers:

How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
-Isaiah 1:21

The Bible tells us the reason men reject proper Biblical judgment and rebuke:

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
-1 Corinthians 2:12

This is why it is so wrong for Christians to call an unbeliever "stupid," because we were also once blind, but given knowledge by the spirit of God. That knowledge is a gift that was not earned, and by calling a scoffer heathen "stupid," you are telling them that they should be able to figure out the spiritual things of God on their own, without God giving them the same knowledge He gave you. (i.e. Don't judge hypocritically!)

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
-1 Corinthians 2:13

So when we judge and rebuke, we need to do so from the foundation of the Word of God, not our own words.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
-1 Corinthians 2:14-15

If what we say and do matches what the Word of God says for us to say and do, then we are rightly dividing the word of truth, and we have no need to be ashamed of our words and actions, nor do we have a need to be judged of men.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
-2 Timothy 2:15-16

However, if what we say and do does NOT match what the Word of God says for us to say and do, then we need rebuke, and that requires proper Biblical judgment. And this is what the new-age church is rejecting. The Word of God should be paramount in our understanding, every word we speak, and every thing we do, because if it isn't, we'll end up doing what's right in our own eyes, instead of that which is right by Jesus Christ.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
-Proverbs 21:2

Preachers who teach the new-age false doctrine of "don't judge others" often quote from Romans 14:

Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
-Romans 14:4

Of course, preachers today often do as other false religions do: they read one verse and make an entire doctrine out of it, instead of read the chapter as a whole to get the context of it's meaning. This chapter is referring specifically to traditions of the old covenant, like eating habits, or the sabbath day, and Paul says these are disputations that aren't worth arguing about.

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
-Romans 14:1-3

The context is obvious when one slows down to read it carefully, that we ought not to judge minor issues, like eating habits. Some people might be weak in temperance to sins like gluttony, so they stick to a more rigid diet to put their flesh under subjection to the Word of God, and we should not judge a man for minor disputations like that.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
-Romans 14:5-6

In my personal life, I don't see any need to give respect to a particular day of the week. Why is that?

And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
-Mark 2:24-28

So because of Romans 14, I do not judge men when they are personally convicted to give respect to the sabbath. However, I have had people write me and tell me I need to do a list of things on the sabbath, and honor the correct day of the week, etc, but I respond to them with Romans 14. Often, they refuse understanding of the matter, and continue to rail on me and condemn me for not respecting the sabbath day, but I sanctify myself from them and receive them not becasue the Word of God says:

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
-Romans 14:1

Those that are going to cause contention over things the Bible clearly says not to dispute over, then we need to set ourselves apart from that man/woman. When the Bible asks us why we judge our brother, it's asking in the context of the subject matter of Romans 14.

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
-Romans 14:10

When the Bible tells us that we judge all things, and judge righteous judgment, that means we judge matters based on God's Word, and God's Word gives specific standards to follow when judging. Verse 10 does not tell us that we should not judge, but judge not based on the minor disputes to which it is referring.

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
-Romans 14:13

This is another verse I've seen commonly abused, where a Christian will read the first nine words, and then stop. Again the context is not to judge one another in disputations, but judge that no man put an occasion to fall in his brother's way, which means if a brother is teaching false doctrine and/or sinning, we need to judge and rebuke that matter so that other Christians will not find a stumblingblock in their path.

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
-Titus 2:15

If you will read more articles on our website, you'll notice we have many "judgments" that we make. We rebuke many sins and false teachings. We want our Christian brethren to be sound in the faith, and that requires judging a matter in the righteousness of the Word of God, but when a Christian says "don't judge me," he/she is teaching other Christians (by example) that judging is wrong, and therefore will put a stumblingblock for other Christians to use "don't judge me" as a quick one-liner to escape having to be told the truth about their sin, or to be convicted to repentance.

Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
-Romans 14:16

But we have a different situation when someone is living in sin or teaching error, and we must judge matters Biblically to protect ourselves. Let's continue in Matthew 7, and we'll see why Jesus Christ told us not to judge hypocritically:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
-Matthew 7:15-20

How can we know good/evil fruit if we don't judge it?

Imagine an usher at a church, passing around an offering plate, and you see him subtly take $100 out of the plate and put it in his pocket. What would you do? If you take any kind of action against what that usher did, then you judged him, because even if you tell someone else about it, you're saying something because you saw it to be wickedness, and you immediately judged his actions with righteous judgment.
(Read "Is Tithe a Christian Requirement?" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)

Even the unbelieving heathen of this world judges matters:

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
-1 Corinthians 5:11-13

Because we are to be a peculiar people in Christ (1Pe 2:9), we have a responsibility to judge people in the church, and if they openly do wicked deeds, we are supposed to put them out of the church if they do not repent. The world looks upon true Christians as an example of righteousness and faith, and we should live in that, otherwise we give them the wrong impression of Jesus Christ, taking His name in vain. (Exd 20:7)

When Peter and John were performing miracles, the higher powers in Israel sought to shut them up and send them away, but had a hard time of it when blind men were made to see in front of everyone.

But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
-Acts 4:17-19

If this new-age "don't judge" teaching were true, why would Peter and John tell the people to commit sin? There are no contradictions in the true Word of God, and they told the people to judge the matter because we are to judge with righteous judgment.

In our daily lives, we judge all the time. We judge the temperature of our bath water. We judge if a meal is properly cooked. We judge the clothing we wear with the weather outside. We judge all the time, every day, and if we didn't judge all the time, we would quickly end up dead.

A great example is how I've seen women drivers panic when seeing a child run out in the middle of the road to get a ball. Her effort to slam on the brakes to stop the car is judging the situation and doing what's right in the best interest of the child, even if she's in a hurry. If she didn't judge anyone, she would just drive over the child and never look back.

But the important point here is that in order for us to know and understand the peace of the Lord God, we need to judge in His righteousness, from His Word.

Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace. -Isaiah 59:7-8

And blindness in darkness will come upon those who do not judge in the rightousness of the Word:

Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us... and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
-Isaiah 59:9-15

When someone judges our actions and words, and rebukes us, our first inclination should be to listen, which can be difficult if we are prideful. If the accusations they make against us are true, we should reconsider what we say and do so we can conform to the Word of God, but if their accusations are not true to God's Word, then we should judge the matter and offer an explanation and rebuke in return. If the other Christian refuses to listen, then let them go, because there is no reason to emulate the situation, which in turn causes contention.
(Read "Did Christ Come to Bring Peace?" here at creationliberty.com for more details about Christians setting themselves apart, or sanctifying themselves, from others.

The question we have to ask ourselves is not "Are we judging others?" It is obvious we judge others all the time. The questions we have to ask ourselves is: "Are we judging others in the righteousness of God's Word?" and, "Do we judge hypocritically?"

The way to make sure you're judging matters in the spirit of God is to study His Word continually. As we learn more of His Word, he will reveal to us our presumptuous sins (sins we don't even know we're committing), and through that, can make us into vessels of righteousness to go forth and set an example that instructs others to adhere to the doctrine of Jesus Christ in all matters of faith and practice.

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