2008-02-11

Judge Not yet Correcting

On the one hand, we have Luke 6:37 teaching us not to judge another so that we may not be judged. On the other hand, we have the responsibility in admonishing, rebuking, correcting our wayward brothers in Christ(2Tim 2:25 ESV, 2Tim 3:16 ). How can we correct another without first making a judgment? Is the Bible inconsistent?

The Bible is the written Word of God (2Tim3:16) and hence cannot be inconsistent. Whenever we come across such seemingly contradictary teachings in the Bible, we must first conclude that it is our outstanding and not the Bible that is at fault. We must also congratulate ourselves that we have hit upon a treasure of wisdom. If unravel the contradiction, we would have gain great understanding.

  • 2Ti 3:16-17 KJV All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Way Out 1 - Differentiate the Act and the Person
In Luk 6, we can see that the text refers to the people more. We can judge the actions as evil but not condemn the person at the same time. We are told to love the person and not his evil or sinful acts. We have the Bible as the standards of right and wrong and we can for many cases make a sound judgment provided we have all the relevant facts. However, the intentions of the heart are not easily observed. We could only make inferences. Even if the accused said what his intention was, his words need to be evaluated as to whether he was speaking the truth or not. This leads us the next interpretation of 'Judge'.

Way Out 2 - What is the Meaning of 'to Judge'
To make a judgment of right or wrong, we need to have the following steps as shown in the mind map below:

I think the 'judge' used by Jesus in Luk 6:37 does not mean the whole fair process of collecting the facts from all angles and then making the best conclusion, but a hasty, narrow, biased and prejudiced conclusion. This interpretation is supported by the following verses. In v39, it was recorded for our benefits that "He also told them a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person?"... showing he meant making a blind judgment. In v41 "Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?", it shows we are making a biased and prejudiced view of our brother actions. Jesus also provided the answer on how to judge rightly in v42 "Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye. ". We need to first remove our biases and prejudices first. i.e. follow the proper judicially process to arrive at a proper judgment. Since only God knows the intent of the heart, God is still the best judge of all. We must humbly acknowledge that we have a biased tendency and need to take steps to minimize that.

So, I think a better translation of Luke 6:37 is: "Do not jump to hasty & biased conclusions about others so that you not be similarly judged....."

2Tim 3:16-17 shows the better way of making judgment and correcting our brothers .... next post judging rightly and see also Making a Judgement and Being Judgemental

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