Posted by: Anne | July 30, 2011

What Did Jesus Mean by “Judge Not”?

What Did Jesus Mean by “Judge Not”?

What did Jesus mean when he said, “Judge not, and you will not be judged.” It’s one of the most commonly quoted verses from the bible (Luke 6:37). Many of us, and not merely politicians, invoke the verse as a first defense when accused of wrong. It is also a favorite stone thrown by those outside the church to accuse Christians of hypocrisy.

In 2007 a book was published called UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity. It’s based on research done among non-Christian 20-somethings. One of their core findings was that nearly nine out of ten young people view Christians as “judgmental.” And given the prohibition against judging issued by Jesus, this would mean most people view Christians as hypocrites.

Given these findings, it’s pretty important that both Christians and non-Christians understand what Jesus means when he says “judge not.” The key is recognizing that the word judge can be used in two different ways in the New Testament. Sometimes judge is used to mean “judge between things,” to differentiate, or discern. In this case we judge between right and wrong, good and evil, righteous and unrighteous.

But this kind of judging-the act of discernment-is not what Jesus is forbidding. In fact throughout the Bible we are commanded to discern. In the same chapter of Luke 6 and in the very same discourse as the famous “judge not” statement, Jesus talks about having the discernment to see the difference between good people and evil people (Luke 6:43-45). He compares them to trees. Good trees, he says, produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit. The call to differentiate good from evil is to judge, to discern, correctly.

This is often what gets Christians into hot water in our uber-tolerant and increasingly diverse culture. When a Christian labels something as “wrong” or “evil” they are often pounced upon as being judgmental and out of step with Jesus. Sometimes this is the case… but very often the accusation is the result of a culture that no longer understands the difference between discernment and condemnation…

Read the whole article at the source:
www.OutOfUr.com/archives/2010/09/what_did_jesus.html

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