Judgmental Spirit

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
1 Corinthians 11:31

Have you ever heard some Christians praying to God to deliver everyone from a judgmental spirit? Is it Biblical to pray that way? It depends very much on the definition of a judgmental spirit. For a godly man, he might mean that he is afraid he might make mistake in making judgment based on his own prejudices. But for an ungodly man, he could very well be implying that “you should not judge my rotten lifestyle and I will not judge yours so mind your own business”.

In Matthew 7:1-5, the Lord Jesus told the disciples, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged. 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 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.” The context here is concerning hypocrisy in making judgment on others when we don’t judge sins in our own lives. It is very easy to be harsh on others but lenient on ourselves. Here is not a command not to make any judgment at all for the Lord also said in John 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

There was a case concerning a fornicating member cohabiting with his father’s wife recorded in 1 Corinthians 5 where members refused to exercise judgment on the sinning member. In fact they believed so much in “liberty” and they took pride in their “liberal” lifestyle. However, they were soundly rebuked by the apostle Paul.

“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 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 5:1-6, 12 & 13)

Paul instructed them to judge that sinning church member but leave the sinners in the world alone because judgment of sinners is God’s prerogative. It is also interesting to note that the Christians in Corinth exercised defective judgment. When they should be judging sinning Christians in their midst who dishonored God, they brought their own petty quarrels among themselves for judgment before the unsaved!

“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” (1 Corinthians 6:1-5)

Paul had to remind them of their princely privileges of judging the world and even angels in the world to come and so they should practice making judgment calls on matters pertaining to this life. Concerning the matter of stewardship, Paul gave instructions to Christians how they should deal with such matter.

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:1-5)

Consider the attitude of Paul when he told the Christians in Ephesus how they should deal with wicked people in their midst; “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” (Ephesians 5:5-7)

If you are still not convinced, listen to what Paul told the Thessalonians; “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thessalonians 3:14) Paul also told the believers in Corinth; “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) Paul was extremely judgmental! He commanded Christians to follow his examples to be judgmental!

When making judgment on matters where there is no Scriptural basis, we must be very careful, especially when it has got something to do with one’s motives, because we cannot know exactly what is in the hearts of men. Therefore, we should leave the issue alone and God will reveal everything in due time.

So, don’t let anyone cowed you into paralysis and loose your ability to make sound judgment on issues in this life. Read the Bible and learn to practice Biblical judgment. In fact it is the sane thing to do. It is for your own safety; lest you be tossed about with every wind of doctrine by wicked men, who will lead you into the path of perdition and destruction.