Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Judging Others - Obviously we Need to

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged." Matt 7:1

This sounds simple enough. But does this interpretation make sense? We actually want to be judged, or how do we go to be with God? We also want to be judged correctly by others. We like receiving credit where credit is due, for starters.

So obviously this would be better interpreted to say that we shouldn't judge with a condemning heart, so that we won't be judged by a condemning heart.

Amidst this it could also be looked at to say that if we judge others with a condemning and unforgiving heart, that we will judge and condemn ourselves by the same standard: We won't really accept in our hearts that Christ's atonement can cleanse a person who has made errors (which includes ourselves).

As Christ stated _

"...Forgive, and it shall be forgiven you" Luke 6:37 or "Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matt 6:12

We will notice that others have done evil to us or others. Recognising that others have done evil isn't a bad thing. How can we avoid doing evil ourselves if we don't know recognise evil? But Christ is saying to forgive.

Christ warns, "but beware of men..." (Matt 10:16) [Some women may echo that]. But in all seriousness, he is saying to be wary of people in our dealings with them. This requires judgement.

We also have to find a marriage partner. While revelation as to whom to marry is advised, there is still a need for us to understand the person and whether they are suitable - judgement. The same applies if we have children. How can we help them to learn and in their squabbles if we don't judge them?

And what of bishops and stake presidents etc in dealing with confessions or accusations of serious offences.

So how do we judge righteous judgement?

Isaiah says in regard to Christ _

"...he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears." Isa 11:3

We have the tendency to judge people by their actions and words. Yet he is saying this isn't fair judgement. This then requires us to learn to judge by the intent of their heart and the perception in their mind. It is impossible to judge such a way without either an ability to see inside others or to use the Holy Ghost or both.

Moroni states the following _

"For look, my brethren, it is given to you to judge, that you may know good from evil... so, I show to you the way to judge; for every thing which invites to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forward by the power and gift of Christ; so you may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God." Mor 7:15-16

So Moroni is telling us how to judge. He's gone on in verse 17 to declare that those who subject themselves to the devil can be determined by the criteria of judgement he has set forth. Obviously, therefore, he hasn't regarded Christ's statement as posing that we don't judge people.

Either way I wish to stress again that the Holy Ghost is best used in any judgement we make. And if our judgement is made with a view to helping others move on from mistakes, we will accept our mistakes with the same attitude.


kh said...

To love someone for the person they are is good. To love someone for the person they can become is Charity. The pure love of Christ is the essence of righteous judgment.

yeti said...

I think I have taken the do not judge to mean do not look at someone's words and actions and judge their character and heart. Which you definitely did touch on. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul commands us to judge those within the Church. But in 1 Cor 5:12 he says that he has no business judging those outside the Church. Which I think is logical. there is a standard to which Christ has called us, and those following Christ should be held accountable to that, but for the one who is not following Christ, we can know for ourselves that thier actions are wrong, but until they make a commitment to follow after Christ, we cannot hold them to our standards.
This also made me think about James 2:12 "speak and act as those who are going to be Judged by the law that gives freedom" I think that is how we should judge, to bring other into freedom. to bring others away from the oppression and chains of their sins. verse thirteen there is important too. be merciful!

Doug Towers said...


Sounds good to me.

Doug Towers said...


I'd have to echo that.

However, I do judge anyone who has set a standard, even those outside the church, where they have one. Its just that I'm far more active at pointing out what I feel needs improving within the church, as we have more and a higher standard.

yeti said...

Doug... why?

Doug Towers said...


If someone doesn't believe something then they aren't going to accept me telling them they ought to. Whereas those who accept truth have more hope of recognising to move ahead. It isn't easy either way. But those seeking to be right with God have more hope of responding to truth.

yeti said...

So i quess my question is moreso why would you judge those outside of the Church?

Doug Towers said...


Mostly due to discussion with them. They may wish to judge Joseph Smith for practicing plural marriage, for example. I then point out that the Bible supports this, and that the Law of Moses commanded it in certain situations. I ask them why they don't believe their Bible, considering they claim it to be the ultimate authority.

Many other such judgements arise. In making these judgements I look at their claimed beliefs and how they contradict each other, and particularly, the Bible.

Such judgement is needed to get to the truth. And such judgement may help them to consider what they do believe and why. Is it just tradition: Just what the ministers have always believed?

Even a Muslim believes in the true God. So do they actually follow the Koran? Or do they just follow tradition and their ministers opinions?

yeti said...

I feel like what you are talking about is more of a judgment of facts than a judgment of character. like you are judging what they believe rather than who they are. Is that what you are saying? That would not be what comes to my mind when i hear judging others, so it is not the over all feel i got from this post. now I am confused a little

Doug Towers said...


People judge us by our actions and words. What you say is true that this shouldn't be the case as such. Yet people judge us by the opinions we express because they assume the actions and feelings support the beliefs.

People are motivated by their beliefs. So a changing of beliefs leads to a changing of thoughts, feelings and actions.

I don't feel there is a conflict.

yeti said...

I also don't feel like there is a conflict.
what i was trying to say that if someone does something, we can know that the action was wrong, but what we don't know is what the person is/has gone through which caused them to do whatever they did. I don't think that we can ever judge someone's motive. I agree that we can judge actions. if a teen punches someone that is wrong. but what we don't see is the years of abuse that the kid experienced at home, the teasing he faced at school. the self hate promoted by satan or the powerlessness of which he is tired of being a victim. Still the fact that he punched the kid was wrong, but i don't even know if we could tell him that he is wrong. do you see what i am trying to get at? would you agree?

Denidowi said...

I love your opening comment here.
- dh

Denidowi said...

As you say, Motive, to me, IS the Real action - not what one physically sees occur.
Let me place example:
You speak of one pnching another, and that the act of punching was wrong ... this is certainly not the case, for instance, if intruders break into one's home and corner your family.
At that point, if they won't listen to reason, or they give you no time for talk, the right thing is to send them reeling and keep the pressure on them until they take flight!!
Then you call police.

Doug Towers said...


I understand where you are coming from.

I can't support, though, that the person is powerless. The Scriptures inform us that we can overcome any temptation.

I do agree that without the Holy Ghost and or an ability to see inside people it is impossible to judge them. I don't doubt your point there.

Yet in my case I have both. And we all are offered the Holy Ghost by ceasing sin by having faith in Christ. So I still hold that we can make correct heart judgements using the Spirit.

Doug Towers said...


Thanks for the thoughts.

I certainly go along with your example and that we would have to judge in such a circumstance.

yeti said...

i think I would agree that we are not powerless (though i did make it sound otherwise)but at some point in that situation, I would still say that we don't need to judge. our job is to love that kid weather or not he had a good reason to punch his brother.

Doug Towers said...


I think the difference here is that you are looking at the idea of judging as condemning of an individual. I see judging as possible condemning of their actions.

It's like the person said to be a bankrobber. This is a condemnation of a person by their actions. Yet we can also say that this person performed a bankrobbery or two. The second is looking at condemning those actions.

The second requires no judgment of those unseen things that are unknown to us.

yeti said...

yep. I do think so. But I guess I'd say that is judging the action, not "judging others". just semantics that has thrown me off, that's all.

Doug Towers said...


I think we are coming from the same place in reality, as you say. It isn't always easy to communicate what you really mean in spite of us all speaking the same language.

Anonymous said...

I think what the Lord means by "Judge not lest you be judged", means to be careful to make correct judgements and not judgements that condem but rather causes us to avoid making the same mistakes that can be observed in others, bearing in mind that we ourselves are weak in certain areas.

Keeping that perspective causes each of us to want to help those lacking in good judgement to benefit from our own, just as we struggle with overcoming our own faults.

Doug Towers said...


You have judged such people as Abraham and Joseph Smith as perverts because they married outside what you see as their age group (whatever that really means). Do you feel that was a God like judgement or just something you have been mindwashed with from youth?

We have to be careful not to judge as the world judges. Christ was said to judge not by the seeing of the eyes. Looking to the heart and the intent is what we must do. You can't judge a person by such a flimsy criteria.