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To Judge or Not to Judge

In an essay entitled “How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society?” the eminent philosopher Ayn Rand wrote, “One must never fail to pronounce moral judgment. Nothing can corrupt and disintegrate a culture or a man’s character as thoroughly as does the idea that one must never pass moral judgment on others, that one must be morally tolerant of anything, that the good consists of never distinguishing good from evil.” So many today in this country would strongly disagree with Ms. Rand and say morality is a private matter in which each individual can decide for themselves. Is it wrong to make moral judgments on other people’s conduct? Matthew 7:1-5 (Jesus speaking), “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Jesus commanded, “Do not judge.” Regrettably, this is about all of the passage that many people remember. They never read (or understand) the next four verses. But these latter verses give us the proper understanding of the three opening words. We need to consider what Jesus did not mean. Certainly He could not have meant that it was wrong to pass judgment against sin, as found in God’s Holy word. Constantly, Jesus himself spoke out sharply against the evil practices of His day (Matthew 5:17-6:34; 19:8 & 9; etc.). Neither could Jesus have meant it was wrong to render a guilty verdict against sinners, especially those in the faith. Jesus often confronted the religious elites of His day with a crisp note of judgment. Matthew 23:15 (Jesus speaking), “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are!” In the mind and ministry of Jesus it was never wrong to judge ...

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