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Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

Matthew 7:6

With reference to Matthew 7:1-2, judge not, lest you be judged; notable Malaysian senior pastor, Elder Saw Lip Hean of FGAKL once said in a sermon he delivered several months ago:-

“This passage, is actually (the) subject of one of the most misused and abused (verses) that I have ever come across. Everybody who doesn’t like to be judged for what they are doing, or people or person who do not like to be put in a position to be judging anything, will always use this passage as an excuse. But this passage, contrary to what it appears, is actually telling us the direct opposite of what people perceived it to say.”

“Therefore it (the verse) cannot mean that we are not to judge. What is important is to look at the passage, look at the book, and look at the overall context. Not only the passage tells us that we should judge, not only this passage, even further down in chapter 7 (Matthew 7), you will find that Jesus said judge the false prophets for yourselves, are they telling the truth … but to avoid censorious, hypocritical judgment. That is what (this chapter) is trying to say.”

Now this is going to be an extremely mind boggling topic, particularly for those who have grown up in churches that taught them that judging others is wrong, judging is not right or the Bible instructed us never to judge. But before you override what Elder Saw said above, bear this in mind; that THE CHRISTIANS WHO JUDGE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, JUDGES TO RESTORE AND NOT TO CONDEMN. To judge is not the same as to condemn.

From Matthew 7:2-5, “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

If we read these verses carefully you will note that Jesus initially reminded us that before we judge, we are to first apply the same standards of judgment on ourselves. We are told to test ourselves before we qualify ourselves to judge others.

Then Christ went on further to reason with this question; how are we to judge correctly unless we ourselves are clear from similar wrongdoings? And in order to judge righteously, we ought to ensure beforehand that we are not in the wrong before accusing others of doing what is wrong. If we steal, we cannot teach robbers not to steal. Christ in fact gave a lesson, outlining to us how to judge in the right manner. He did not forbid judging. He is encouraging us to judge, to become the check and balance for one another and to let judgment become the tool that brings forth the light of righteousness to darkness in this world.

If judging others in itself is wrong or a sin, Matthew 7 would have been phrased very differently. Or judging others would have been a forbidden clarion clearly stipulated in the law of Moses. And if judging others is a sin, are we then to say that God Himself is a sinner? Isn’t God the biggest Judge of all judges? (Psalm 50:6)

A local pastor recently made a public accusation, that her name was tagged by others on social media, making allegations that she was linked to some sexually explicit materials that caused damage to her reputation. Nothing wrong in doing so (to raise the accusation), if she had indeed been unjustly defamed. But to raise an accusation is a precursor to judging another person and if all due respect is given to natural justice, the pastor should have also publicly revealed the facts of the case, the names of the individuals, who she is referring to and the nature of the damage done to her. In doing it likewise, it paves the way for those she accuses, fairly draws them into trial and giving them the opportunity to answer to the claims and to defend themselves. This is how judgment and justice works; it is not a one way ticket to be biased or partial to one party alone. In any dispute resolution, all parties must be given the right to be heard.

Otherwise the course of raising the accusation then becomes a worthless blame game, leading only to gossiping and insinuating chatters among other people. One group shall then agree with the accuser and another will side with the accused. And the name calling will go on and on. Any genuine intent to accuse rightfully will not serve useful purpose of letting justice afloat in their midst. You can see these unhealthy trends when the followers on social media start commenting and showing thumbs up for one party, but indiscreetly denying the other party the room and space to defend themselves.

It is important to note that Christ cautioned us, in respect of matters on judgment, the harm caused by censorious and hypocritical judgment do to others as mentioned by Elder Saw. If for any reason we are to judge, the objective must be for one purpose and one purpose only; that is to restore other believers, rebuking, correcting, training and leading them back to the paths of righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). Righteous judgment does not lead to condemnation. It is when after all avenues to seek justice has been exhausted, and disputed matters cannot be resolved, then by prayers, the case shall be brought to the heavens for God’s ultimate intervention (Revelation 8:3-4).

I too have often been the subject of being accused for the wrong reasons. In what is raising the truth and speaking out against false prophets, I’ve been called a devil’s child, a demon and have been repeatedly and graphically labelled as a serpent. When we call another believer a devil, we are not judging but condemning them without giving them any recourse to appeal.

That is exactly what happened to Jesus when the Pharisees accused Him of healing the blind with the help from demons (Matthew 12:24). In claiming so, the Pharisees gave no room for Jesus to defend Himself and they intentionally locked Him against the wall, driving Him to be hated by the people without cause. And it is because of such treacherous acts that Christ also cautioned us to be very mindful when labeling another person, of the devil without reason. These acts according to Him, if done outside what is truthful, are intentional blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-30) and of calling what is good as evil.

I have taken the condemnation from my adversaries with a pinch of salt and in the context of good faith, for in Matthew 10:16 Christ instructed us that, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as SERPENTS and harmless as doves.”

And in Matthew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Therefore if there is no righteous judgment in this world, how is the law going to be fulfilled, even by Christ alone?

The concept of judging correctly plays an important role in keeping our faith in check. Judgment will distinguish between what is holy and what are from the dogs and the swines (Matthew 7:6). Without righteous judgment, there would be widespread spiritual laggards among us. Without judgment, there would be no justice. Without judgment, the light of righteousness shall be nowhere to be seen. Without judgment there shall be no peace.