Does the Bible contradict itself
Let’s take a look:
Paul the Apostle says, “The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.” 1 Corinthians 2:15 ESV
Jesus says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1,2
Thomas Brooks had this to say on judging others, ”Believer, be much in self-judging. There are none in the world who so much tremble to think evil of others, to speak evil of others, or to do evil to others, as those who make it their business to judge themselves. There are none who make such sweet constructions and charitable interpretations of men and things as those who are most careful to judge themselves. Ah, were Christians’ hearts more taken up in examining and condemning themselves, they would not be so apt to judge and censure others, and to carry it sourly and bitterly toward those who differ from them.” *
I know the language of this quote is antiquated, and I admit that I had to read through it several times myself, but it carries a strong caution. The double standards of Christianity, sadly, are almost too many to single out. And yet, from these two verses and others like them, believers are called to judge and not to judge simultaneously.
How are we to Judge and not Judge at the same time?
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 To say someone is doing something wrong is to make a judgement. But, is this the kind of judgement that Jesus was referring to?
I am not pitting Paul against Jesus, and I see no contradiction between them. In fact, I believe that what ever Paul writes in the New testament is what Jesus wanted to to say through Paul. Paul says the following:
“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.” Romans 2:1 NLT
The most commonly quoted anti-judging verse is Matthew 7:1,2 But it simply can not mean that we are not to judge between right and wrong. Notice later in the same chapter, Jesus says
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:15,16
If we judge that someone is doing something wrong, are we just to keep it to ourselves?
There is a pragmatic paradox with respect to judging others. Even if someone says, “who are you to judge me?” they are making a judgement and in the question they’re so much as telling you that you are wrong for doing so. It’s inescapable. The most basic commands of Christ, REPENT & BELIEVE, are commands we too must carry out into the world. Calling others to repent is to judge that what they are repenting of is contrary to the path of God. Calling others to believe, is to call them out of unbelief. Both of these commands require a judgement.
So then, are we supposed to judge or not?
Finally, there is a difference between telling Christians (those in the body of Christ) what they should or should not be doing and those outside of the body (unbelievers). I think we are far too prone to impose our should’s and should not’s in either case.
Are we to tell others what they should or shouldn’t be doing?
It seems that I and my brother and Frank Viola are on the same page again (scary) with this post entitled “How (Not) to Correct Another Christian.” It speaks to the last part of this article. You may want to check it out.
*Brooks, Thomas (2012-04-21). Smooth Stones Taken From Ancient Brooks (Kindle Locations 1507-1510). GLH Publishing. Kindle Edition.