Is it Wrong for Christians to Judge?
Some of Jesus' harshest words were directed toward the hypocritical religious leaders of His day. (Read Matthew 23 and Matthew 3:7.) Jesus, in fact, tells Christians to "judge righteous judgment." (John. 7:24) and Leviticus 19:15 says, "...in righteousness shall thou judge thy neighbor." Isaiah 61:8 says, "For I the Lord love judgment..." Proverbs 21:15 says, "It is a joy to the just to do judgment." Judgment is more of a discernment, looking at a situation with God's perspective and seeing what is true from what is false.
Those inside abusive, controlling groups love verses like Matthew 7:1-2 because they try to use them to shut down any and all criticism against them. But a through study of the verses 3-5 of Matthew 7 shows that it is the hypocrite who is to refrain from judging until he has cleaned up his own act. Those who try to divide these verses and make them say something else are condemning themselves as hypocrites.
Christians are not violating Matthew 7 when they expose evil for what it is and warn others. We are doing exactly what the Word of God tells us to do. In addition, it is always right to come to the defense of those who have been hurt or abused. If someone is going to use Matthew 7, then they must use it all. Those in bondage to any evil system should stay silent until they, too, come out of it. To not speak up about false prophets, false teachers and false gospels (which are an enemy of the true gospel) would be disobedience to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It is common for others, especially those in totalistic religious groups (such as Philadelphia Church of God, Restored Church of God, or Living Church of God) to accuse exiters (who were betrayed, abused and exploited at the hands of fraudulent, totalistic leaders) as being "hateful" if they talk or write about it. To deceive someone in a spiritual sense is one of the most wicked things anyone can ever do to another. Telling what was done and even naming the perpetrator is not about hate, but about truth, and it can serve the purpose of warning others. Abuse is always about revealing the abuser's heart, not the victim's.
"In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. (II Corinthians 13:1; also see Matthew 18:16 & Deut. 19:15)
Ecclesiastes 3:8 says there is "a time to hate." The Bible is clear that are certain things we should hate and not compromise with:
"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil" (Proverbs 8:13).
"Ye that love the Lord, hate evil..." (Psalms 97:10).
"Hate the evil, and love the good..." (Amos 5:15).
"I will set no wicked thing before my eyes, I hate the work of them that turn aside..." (Psalms 101:3).
"...I hate every false way" (Psalms 119:104).
"I hate and abhor lying..." (Psalms 119:163).
"A righteous man hateth lying" (Proverbs 13:5).
"I have hated the congregation of evildoers; and will not sit with the wicked" (Psalm 26:5).
The Bible reveals that God hates certain things:
"Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity" (Hebrews 1:9).
"...thou hatest all workers of iniquity" (Psalms 5:5).
"Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness" (Psalms 45:7).
"...thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate" (Revelation 2:6).
"These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him" (Proverbs 6:16).
One of these seven things that God hates is lies:
"A false witness that speaketh lies" (Proverbs 6:19).
God is a God of truth:
"a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he" (Deut. 32:4).
"thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth" (Psalm 31:5).
"..he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth" (Isaiah 65:16).
Love to others is to always be expressed with discernment and judgment. Jesus was at all times merciful and compassionate with individual sinners; i. e., the woman at the well, the multitudes (i. e., Matthew 9:36) and others, but he was straightforward with the false religious leaders who were hypocrites and liars, severely rebuking them. God has never told us that we are to love those who are an enemy of God:
"Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?" (II Chronicles 19:2).
We are to hate evil ways and deeds that harm others and bring to light their works of darkness.
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [rebuke] them" (Ephesians 5:11).
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (II Timothy 4:2).
"I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars" (Revelation 2:2).
Most leaders of abusive groups will say that exiters who expose them are "filled with hate" or "bitterness." These are tactics that religious cults have always used to try and silence their critics.
Christians are indeed to judge. The Word of God says:
"...in righteousness shall thou judge thy neighbor" (Leviticus 19:15).
"For I the Lord love judgment..." (Isaiah 61:8).
"It is a joy to the just to do judgment..." (Proverbs 21:15).
"...judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
"Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" (Luke 12:57)
"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man" (I Corinthians 2:15).
"...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?" (I Corinthians 6:2-3).
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment" (Philippians 1:9).
When one has gained victory over an evil system or wrong way, they have a responsibility to point out another's fault in the same area. This is not speaking in hypocrisy, but obeying the direct commands of God's Word. "Speaking the truth in love" necessitates loving people enough to tell them the truth and to warn them of those who are deceivers and who pervert the truth. Jesus had compassion on the multitudes, but he publicly rebuked the hypocrites.
By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™
March 1, 2004
Last updated December 1, 2015
What is "Agape" and How Did it Work? (Does love mean never saying a harsh word or stepping on the toes of others?)
"...it is both impossible and itself evil to totally refrain from making moral judgments."
~M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie, p. 255.