"Judge Not..."

William V. Beasley
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

A favorite verse of many denominationalists and unfaithful brethren is, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matt. 7:1). As is true with many "favorite" scriptures it is almost entirely misunderstood.

When rebuked from the word of God, many will run to this verse to seek relief. The idea is: "You can not say anything about the way I am living because the Bible says, 'Judge not . . .' "

The context, especially verse five, shows that we are to be concerned with the imperfections in others. After cleaning up our own life ("cast out first the beam out of thine own eye"), we are in a position to help others ("and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."). Hypocrisy is the thing condemned.

It is true that we cannot judge the thoughts or intents of another. "For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him" (1 Cor. 2: 11)? While we cannot look directly into the heart of man we do have an insight into the heart by the outward acts. "Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (See Matt. 7:15-20).

November 18, 1971