Understanding Matt. 7:1

Q. What is the proper context of Matthew 7:1 regarding judging? Is it wrong to judge? The gay community (and the Christians who support it) love to toss “Judge not” around. How then should we respond?

A. The Greek word for judge in Matt. 7:1 can mean several things from rendering an opinion about whether something is right or wrong to pronouncing a judgment against a person. Certainly the Bible gives us grounds for rendering an opinion about whether homosexual behavior is right or wrong, and this includes the right to disapprove of such behavior. Therefore Jesus must have been saying we don’t have the right to pronounce judgment against someone else. That’s a privilege He reserves for Himself.

But there’s more to it. In 1 Cor. 5:12 Paul said it’s none of our business to judge those outside the Church. And in Romans 2:1-4 he said that if we, who are sinners as well, pronounce judgment on other sinners we’re showing contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that was His kindness that led us toward repentance.

If our goal is to bring sinners to the Lord we need to understand that they will be attracted to Him because of His love and His forgiveness, not because of His righteous standards. The Holy Spirit will teach them about those things after they’re saved.

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