“Do Not Judge According To Appearance,
But Judge With Righteous Judgement” – John 7:24 (NASB)
We all have to make decisions in life- which is just another way of saying we have to make a ‘judgment’ about something.
There are many times when we may wonder if a decision (a judgment) that we have made, or are planning to make, is right.
What is a right decision (judgment) anyway?
If we hold a belief in the Jesus of The Bible, we can read that He Himself tells us that we need to make “righteous judgment” a part of our everyday living:
John 7:24 (NASB)
” DO NOT judge according to appearance,
BUT JUDGE WITH RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT “
This statement from The Lord of Christianity reveals in itself the HOW-TO behind judging righteous judgment, where He says beforehand, “DO NOT judge according to appearance“…
God’s Word teaches us from the beginning that our decisions are not something to be based on our emotion, or our own logic of what might seem to us as right or wrong:
“There is a way which SEEMETH RIGHT UNTO A MAN, BUT the end thereof are the ways of death.” – Proverbs 14:12; 16:25 (KJV)
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
– Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)
Just about every aspect of life as a Christian requires that this commandment of Jesus be followed, in order for the person to remain faithful to God’s Truth. From a decision (judgment) to watch or not watch something on television; to what it is that we allow (decide/judge to be ‘Ok’) ourselves, or our children, to read; right down to how it is that we respond to people in everyday situations and conversations- it all demands that this commandment of Jesus be understood and followed for the decisions (and therefore the deeds) to be “right”.
Most of what is termed “Christianity” today seems to be convinced that people should not judge. Yet, the same people will do this very thing daily, without even giving it a thought- or at least without admitting to the fact that this is what they are indeed doing… Whether a person does in fact ‘leave all judgment to The Lord’, or whether that person decides that they can go-it-alone and decide for themselves on whatever decision there is to be made- the fact remains that they ARE judging and making judgments for or against something or someone…
Notice what the apostle Paul said about this very topic:
“…these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us YOU MIGHT LEARN NOT TO EXCEED WHAT IS WRITTEN, in order that no one of you MIGHT BECOME ARROGANT in behalf of one against the other.
Remember, decision-making is to be as Jesus Himself commanded – “with righteous judgment“. One must understand- by hearing and learning from God’s Word- WHERE this righteous form of decision-making comes from. When the source for right decisions is seen clearly- it is then that a person CAN fulfill Jesus’ commandment.
The following Scriptural study fully reveals that the frequently preached doctrine (teaching) of not ‘Judging’ stands against God and Christ’s own Doctrine; whether it be judging matters of day-to-day life, judging ourselves, or yes, judging another person or group of people.
Again, decision-making (being decisive) is merely another way of saying one is judgmental.
So, how will we be looked upon by God, when it comes to the decisions (judgments) we reach in our life here on earth?
Will we be found by Him as having decided to set ourselves as The Judge— OR, will we allow the “ONE Lawgiver and JUDGE” to hold that seat of power, and merely follow (by obedience) what HE has “before-hand” judged for us as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?
James 4:12 (NASB)
There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
Ephes. 2:10 (NASB)
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Romans 8:29 (KJV)
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate TO BE CONFORMED TO the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
– The Lie Behind Today’s Non-Judgmental Doctrine
As was pointed out above, it is a common belief (doctrinal stance) that judgment is to be left for Christ Jesus to perform WHEN He returns, that we are not to reach decisions against another person that would condemn them as a sinner.
The Truth (The Word of God; The Bible) speaks completely to the opposite however!
The ones who present this argument frequently use certain isolated statements from Jesus and His Apostles as proof of this doctrinal stance…
Matthew 7:1 (NASB)
“DO NOT JUDGE lest you be judged.
Luke 6:37 (NASB)
“And DO NOT JUDGE and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
1 Cor. 4:5 (NASB)
Therefore DO NOT GO ON PASSING JUDGMENT BEFORE THE TIME, but WAIT UNTIL THE LORD COMES…
1 Cor. 4:3 (NASB)
But to me it is a very small thing that I should be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I DO NOT EVEN EXAMINE MYSELF…
James 4:12 (NASB)
There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but WHO ARE YOU WHO JUDGE YOUR NEIGHBOR?
While “the untaught” might look at these statements and agree that they do ‘seem to prove the case‘- notice however that NOT ONE of these statements has been given in their full context.
Anyone who studies The Word of God–
“You search The Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me“- John 5:39
-anyone who studies The Scriptures could have identified for themselves this fact (about the scriptures not being given in full context). But, not someone who is newly learning The Truth– not right away at least- not unless they examined the statements by reading (studying) the Scriptures more fully.
Let’s start with Paul’s comment first, and beginning there we will look at what was being discussed in each of these statements presented above.
The end result will show us HOW we can be commanded by Jesus (our Christian master) to “Judge Righteous Judgment”, AND YET at the same time be commanded by Him, “Do NOT Judge”.
– Let’s examine the above statement by Paul first (as Paul was an excellent teacher on this very topic):
1 Cor. 4:5-6 (NASB)
Therefore DO NOT GO ON PASSING JUDGMENT BEFORE THE TIME, but wait until the Lord comes…
There is the statement from above (please note the “…” at the end of the statement- meaning there is more to his words)——- here it is in context to WHAT he was saying:
“Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness AND disclose the motives of men’s hearts; AND THEN each man’s praise will come to him from God.”
In order to put what Paul says in context here, please notice that he is speaking concerning men making very specific types of judgments-judging “hidden things“, “motives in men’s hearts“, and “man’s praise“…
Here to the Corinthians he was specifically speaking about men making certain kinds of “judgement(s)” – one Apostle being above another in honor and praise- he had JUST finished reproving (reprimanding) them for what they were doing in the previous chapter:
1 Cor. 3:3-5
…for you are still fleshly. For since THERE IS JEALOUSY AND STRIFE among you, are you not fleshly, and ARE YOU NOT WALKING LIKE MERE MEN?
 For WHEN ONE SAYS, “I am of Paul,” AND ANOTHER, “I am of Apollos,” ARE YOU NOT MERE MEN?
 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.
Fleshly judgments were being made here by Christians in the Corinth Church…
“Fleshly” Judgement is what WE decide (judge) as humans from OUR OWN LOGIC— knowledge that is aside from that of what The Word of God (The Bible) gives as knowledge and wisdom…
THIS is why Paul continues back here in chapter 4:
[4:5] “Therefore DO NOT go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.”
 Now THESE THINGS, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, THAT IN US YOU MIGHT LEARN NOT TO EXCEED WHAT IS WRITTEN, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.
Notice- “NOT TO EXCEED WHAT IS WRITTEN” in making judgments… Paul does not say DO NOT Judge Rightly- but rather do not make YOUR OWN Judgments…
Also, take note of WHAT Paul says results from going beyond “what is written” (or aside from “what is written“) in order to make judgment(s). He points out that exceeding what is written for us as instructions from God of Right and Wrong in judging causes people to “BECOME ARROGANT in behalf of one against the other“.
Here (and throughout Corinthians) Paul admonishes The Church (any Christian) on how to “Judge Righteous Judgment“…
Again, this is something that Jesus COMMANDS to be done by His people, in
“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment”- John 7:24
Also notice that WHEN Paul said this about ‘not judging anything’, he had ALREADY pointed out certain important truths about man’s wisdom versus God’s Wisdom:
1 Cor. 3:18-21 (NASB)
Let no man DECEIVE HIMSELF. IF ANY man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, LET HIM BECOME FOOLISH THAT HE MAY BECOME WISE.
 For the wisdom of this world IS FOOLISHNESS before God.
For it is written,
“He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”;
 and again,
“The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.”
He finishes the thought with:
 So then let no one boast IN MEN.
Paul points out that the first step to be able to accomplish judging WITHOUT BEING A JUDGE, is to FORGET ALL that WE think that we have as ‘wisdom’ from this world (human reasoning of things)… This applies when we need to make a RIGHTEOUS decision about ANYTHING… To “become foolish” to the world, “so that” we CAN “Become WISE”…
In not trusting our own logic and reason in order to judge- we are left with only one option- to rely on Something (or Someone) else…
Through this process we will, “LEARN NOT TO EXCEED WHAT IS WRITTEN”:
1 Cor. 4:6 (NASB)
Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.
– Moving on to the other “supporting” Scriptures for the argument that Christians should “NOT Judge”:
Matthew 7:1 (NASB)
“DO NOT JUDGE lest you be judged.”
This seems like a pretty simple statement.
Yet, here it is, Once again, only this time WITH the context in which it was said:
Matthew 7:2-5 (NASB)
“DO NOT JUDGE lest you be judged. For IN THE WAY YOU JUDGE, you will be judged; and BY YOUR STANDARD of measure, it will be measured to you.
 “And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  “Or HOW CAN YOU SAY TO YOUR BROTHER, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?
 “You hypocrite, FIRST take the log out of your own eye, AND THEN YOU WILL SEE CLEARLY TO TAKE the speck out of your brother’s eye.
It turns out that Jesus was in fact TEACHING the “you” here, HOW to “judge righteous judgment” without the “You” becoming ‘The Judge’.
God establishes and teaches a very important Truth through His Word to us in The Bible- that when we judge anything according to “what is written” ( not exceeding it; not reading in our own ideas; not distorting it), it is then that WE are not the ones who are judging. It is when we follow this course in our life that God is allowed to be The One Judge and we followers of HIS pre-ordained judgments:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which GOD HATH BEFORE ORDAINED that we should walk in them.”
Which brings us to another on the list:
James 4:12 (NASB)
There is only one Lawgiver AND Judge, The One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
Look at what James was speaking about (again- the same statement in the context it was written):
James 4:11-17 (KJV)
Speak not evil one of another, brethren.
He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law:
BUT IF THOU judge the law, THOU art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: WHO ART THOU THAT JUDGEST another?
Notice what “speaking evil” of someone means:
Speak Evil …Strong’s Help: katalaleo, Greek 2635, kat-al-al-eh’-o; from Greek 2637 (katalalos); to be A TRADUCER, i.e. to SLANDER
“Traducer”- One who attacks the reputation of another by slander or libel (also- backbiter, defamer)”
“Slander”- Words FALSELY spoken that damage the reputation of another…Charge FALSELY or WITH MALICIOUS INTENT; attack the good name and reputation of someone”
The point James is making here is just like Paul’s- it involves a certain type (or manner) of judgment that is to NOT to be performed by a person if they wish to be a follower of God… “Fleshly” judgment.
They are teaching us NOT to perform judgments (decision-making) without a full reliance on (-being established by), “what is written”.
What is written in The Bible are God’s Words to mankind concerning right and wrong- first through His Prophets (from Moses to Malachi); secondly, through His Son (The Gospels); and finally, through His appointed Apostles (from The New Testament witness to The Church)…
All of this together is The Holy Word of God for mankind to follow.
Now again, judgments are merely decisions- how we make up our mind about something- whether it be a person or a matter in this life… We can see that James is pointedly showing us that, when someone makes their decisions (judgments) through SLANDER, or EVIL SPEAKING— it CANNOT produce “righteous judgment”…when YOU “speak evil AND JUDGE“— YOU are speaking evil and judging The Law… YOU become ‘a judge‘- rather than ‘a follower‘ of GOD’S before-ordained judgments.
In fact, James shows what results come from any individual person deciding to treat and judge people in this way-
“He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law:
but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.”
“YOU are…a Judge”.
Remember Jesus’ words “…in the way YOU judge, you will be judged; and BY YOUR standard of measure…”. Everyone who truly wish to be God’s people should want the standard of measure to be the same for ALL (themselves and everyone else)—
Leviticus 24:22 (KJV)
Ye shall have ONE MANNER OF LAW, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am The LORD your God.
Numbers 15:16 (KJV)
ONE LAW and ONE MANNER shall be FOR YOU, AND for THE STRANGER that sojourneth with you.
In Example of this “in the way YOU judge” and “by YOUR standard of measure”:
If you wish to strangle your fellow-servant for the few pennies that he owes you, then highly expect that God is not going to forgive you for those millions you can never repay Him!
Matthew 18:24-35 (KJV)
And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
– It IS a human judgment (decision) that is reached for one to decide NOT to forgive a person when they repent- since God says:
Luke 17:3-4 (NASB)
“Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and IF HE REPENTS, forgive him.
 “And if he sins against you seven times a day, AND returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
The decision NOT to forgive someone is one we make alone (one that we reach without looking to anyone but ourselves):
John 8:16 (NASB)
“But even if I do judge, MY judgment is true; FOR I AM NOT ALONE IN IT, BUT I AND HE WHO SENT ME.
But, one MUST KNOW, AND RELY ON “The Word of God” in order to understand this point about THEIR OWN decision making (judging) being UNLAWFUL according to God.
The Way of Judgment, and The Standard of Measure should be “righteous” (“right”) at all times and for ALL people and situations… Which is exactly what The Law of God commands.
James points out that these things also apply to decisions and judgments about ANYTHING (situations in everyday life) as well…
When WE decide- and leave out The Word of God in our decisions- we have left The “One Judge” out of the deciding factor, and WE have become ‘a judge’…
As James explains here:
 Go to now, YE that say, To day or to morrow WE WILL go into such a city, AND continue there a year, AND buy and sell, AND get gain:
(Notice the fleshly judgments being spoken here-it WILL happen- no mention of God’s will) notice what James continues with:
 Whereas YE know not what shall be on the morrow.
For what is your life?
It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
 For that YE OUGHT TO SAY, IF THE LORD WILL, we shall live, AND do this, or that.
This no longer would be fleshly judgment- but subjecting our will to that of The Lord’s (which would require examination of ones deed before they set to do it)…
Then James points out what this is (take note that all these points that James makes are THE SAME EXACT THING Paul spoke about)–
 But NOW YE rejoice IN YOUR boastings: all SUCH REJOICING IS EVIL.
1 Cor. 3:21 (NASB)
So then LET NO ONE BOAST IN MEN.,
1 Cor. 4:6 (NASB)
Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might LEARN NOT TO EXCEED WHAT IS WRITTEN, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.
These instructions from James bring up another good point for us to consider in our everyday decisions (again- judgments) about what we will be doing…
– Has the will of The Lord been sought out- since perhaps what we plan to do is not according to righteousness?…
– Is The will of The Lord truly considered A DECIDING FACTOR-“The Judge“- through which we test our daily activities? Meaning, when we examine our will by that of The Word of God- and find it NOT to be in agreement with what HIS Way prescribes-are we going to change our own will “to conform”? OR, will we conform HIS Will (His Words) to suit our will?
– “But judge with righteous judgment”
Jesus’ life AND His word to us are the key to all of this in the end:
John 5:30 (KJV)
I can OF MINE OWN SELF DO NOTHING: AS I HEAR, I JUDGE: and my judgment is just; BECAUSE I seek not mine own will, BUT the will of the Father which hath sent me.
John 8:14-16 (KJV)
Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
 YE judge after the flesh; I JUDGE NO MAN.
Remember- The Word that Jesus judged and lived by WAS NOT HIS OWN-
John 14:24 (KJV)
He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
John 7:16 (NASB)
Jesus therefore answered them, and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.
 And YET IF I JUDGE, MY JUDGMENT IS TRUE: FOR I AM NOT ALONE, BUT I AND THE FATHER that sent me.
Jesus Christ is our Lord AND our TEACHER. It is HE that teaches us HOW to be Christian:
John 13:12-15 (NASB)
…He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?
 “You call Me TEACHER and LORD; and you are right, FOR SO I AM.
Luke 6:46 –
“And WHY DO YOU CALL ME, ‘LORD, LORD,’ AND DO NOT DO WHAT I SAY?”
He taught us that we are not The Judge– but rather God The Father is The One Judge and Lawgiver. He teaches us that GOD HAS pre-established judgments are that He expects to be followed in our lives.
When we follow THESE judgments- The Law, Prophets, Christ and His Apostles teachings (doctrines), WE are not judges, but merely following The One and ONLY Judge- God (The Father of Jesus Christ and Christianity).