I am amazed at the number of people in our churches that are Biblically illiterate. People often quote [or misquote] a verse from the Bible trying to make it say something far from what it was trying to convey. An urban legend is a story or piece on information told as true. In misapplying scripture, we make it a Christian Urban Legend. A phrase that has been used countless times during contentious conversations or in defensive moments when someone is confronted about their behavior: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” These famous words from Jesus are recited by many but profoundly misunderstood. Many use this verse to justify living as they please without any regard for moral boundaries or accountability.
The context of this passage, Matthew 7:1-5, clearly teaches we cannot “judge” people of a certain sin or behavior, if we are also guilty of that same sin. Jesus said a greater judgment is reserved for the one who has purposefully overlooked his own mammoth sin while pointing out the smaller sins of others.
The Bible makes it clear that it is our duty to encourage one another on to live lives that please God. A closer study of Scripture commands us to judge – hold people accountable for their behavior.
- My friends, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. Galatians 6:1
- My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins James 5:19-20
- It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.1 Cor. 5:12
“Jesus does not forbid all moral judgment or accountability. Rather, he forbids harsh, prideful, and hypocritical judgment that condemns others outright without first evaluating one’s own spiritual condition and commitment to forsake sin.” — The Most Misused Verses in the Bible by Eric Bargerhuff, PhD