Sin

To Judge or not to Judge

Only God can Judge

Do not Judge

by

Jose de Carvalho

‘God Himself doesn’t judge a man until he is dead. So why should you?’ How often have you seen this? Is it true? What does Jesus mean that we are not to judge others? (Matt 7:1) Many people use this verse as an attempt to silence/intimidate their critics.

The statement is actually not true, biblical history is replete with God judging His chosen and others in His interaction with human kind thought-out history. What does Jesus mean that we are not to judge others?

I find this comment from a Bible commentator interesting; ‘Jesus’ command not to judge others could be the most widely quoted of His sayings’.

Subsequent to reflection I have to agree! Considering that non-Christians also use the saying and quote the biblical verse as some sort of a proverb, meaning in the secular context; ‘the truth is relative.’

Many others claim that this is one of the most misquoted verses in the New Testament. This is an indication of how a non-biblical worldview influences biblical interpretation (ethical relativism that denies the existence of moral absolutes).

What did Jesus mean? Did he mean that we must never voice an adverse or unfavorable opinion? He certainly does not prohibit negative assessments, considering that Jesus has given us permission to tell right from wrong later on in the following verse and chapters (see vv.7, 15-16; 10:11-15; 16:6, 12; 18:17-18).

Whatever the case merits, what is certain is that Jesus is expecting merciful judgment, and if you judge without mercy, you will be judged without mercy (v.2). The immediate context also cautions that one should not judge others more harshly or by a different standard than one judge oneself.  ‘Lest you be judged’ does not mean you will not be judged by God if you do not judge.  The principle is that if you are judging, while you yourself are guilty, you are condemning yourself (see parallels 6:14-15; 18:32-35). Therefore make a more charitable judgment of your brother.

Another commentator stated, ‘to be discriminating and critical is necessary; to be hypercritical or a hypocrite is wrong’ which the immediate context of Jesus’ teaching (vv. 3-5).

The same original commentator then rightly concludes:

Anything that contradicts the truth is a lie—but, of course, to call something a “lie” is to pass judgment. For example to call fornication a sin is to likewise pass judgment—but it’s also to agree with God. When Jesus said not to judge others, He did not mean that no one can identify sin for what it is, based on God’s definition of sin.

So, it appears that we have a standard to evaluate after all. Not that this is going to convince those that deny the existence of moral absolutes. For others at this point of the interaction the common saying that God is a loving God (unconditional) card is played.

However in this context this comment just displays a lack of understanding of God character. So, what does it mean that God is love?

Love is one of the attributes of God. Love is a core aspect of God’s character, His Person. God’s love is in no sense in conflict with His holiness, righteousness, justice, or even His wrath. All of God’s attributes are in perfect harmony.

Love and Truth

 

 

To Judge or not to Judge?

Judging

To Judge or not to Judge?

By

Jose de Carvalho

The topic of judgement has bothered me in my early christian life, especially in light of the fact that when a christian points out another’s fault, whatever it may be, he/she is always accused of judgement by the proof text in the Bible,  Matthew 7:1  ‘Judge not, that you be not judged’. The conundrum for me has been balancing the above with the other biblical exhortations, namely to beware of evil doers in the Church and that believers are to test everything for false prophets and to avoid those who practice all kinds of evil – now we have to do all this without making some sort of judgement and with careful discernment of course (John 7:24).

In my experience, in most cases these issues arises out of misinterpretation of the Word and the fact that western thought (being based on Greek education processes) cannot deal with antimonies – when the Bible asserts to seemingly different things and that they both are true – whereas Hebrew philosophical thought can and did.

The key interpretive issue in Matthew is that he was telling us not to judge hypocritically; not , not to judge; a point that any interpreter that is not using scripture out of context to prove a point, will clearly identify by just reading the rest of Matthew’s discourse.

Matthew (7:2-5) declares:

Mat 7:2  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

Mat 7:3  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

Mat 7:4  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?

Mat 7:5  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.

 

‘What Jesus was condemning here was hypocritical, self-righteous judgments of others.’

Redefining the concept of the seven deadly sins

seven deadly sins
seven deadly sins

 

The New seven deadly Sins

By

Jose de Carvalho

 

 

Before the interesting part I am first compelled to offer some theological comments. 

This post does not imply an endorsement of the Roman Catholic teaching that sins can be put into two categories: ‘venial’ and ‘mortal’.

In Roman Catholic teaching, a ‘venial’ sin can be forgiven but a mortal sin causes spiritual death and cannot be forgiven; it excludes people from the kingdom of God. 

According to my interpertation of scripture all sins are ‘mortal’, even the smallest sin makes us legally guilty before God and worthy of eternal punishment. Yet even the most serious sins are forgiven when one comes to Christ for salvation, thus in this sense all sins are ‘venial’.

Redefining the concept of sin

 The Vatican’s’ Apostolic Penitentiary, which decides on matters of conscience and grants absolutions, decided that the seven deadly sins need to be updated to reflect changes in society. The original sins were:

Envy, pride, lust, gluttony, anger, greed and sloth, as laid down by Pope Gregory in the 16th century, were now revised for the 21st-century. The seven new sins that were identified are:

Genetic modification, experiments on human beings, pollution, acts that cause social injustice, taking drugs, causing poverty and obscene wealth. 

The church stated that the ‘new’ sins identified were the application of Catholic moral principles in a changing world and did not change the original sins as not sins.