JUDGE NOT, LEST YE BE JUDGED: MY THOUGHTS REGARDING THIS VERSE
“Judge not, lest ye be judged. For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2).
This verse is often bandied about by those who know next to nothing else about The Most High Eternal God or His Eternal Word. And I felt the need for some further reflection upon it, after having written a piece regarding Hugh Hefner and the porn industry. I believe that properly understanding what “judge not” means is crucial enough to even affect our witness, on His behalf, to the unsaved.
Firstly, I stand by my belief that the porn industry has corrupted the true and sacred meaning and purpose of our sexuality, according to the One who gave us this precious gift – our Creator, God Himself. I also stand by my belief that the porn industry has physically, emotionally and spiritually bankrupted millions of men and women over several decades.
Secondly, we must acknowledge this: we are ALL sinners, without exception.
We may not murder, steal or engage in sexual sin; but how often do we gossip, tell “fibs,” or think unkind thoughts about other people, even if we never verbally express those thoughts?
How often – through selfishness or laziness – do we commit sins of omission? Not all sin is “active.” There is also “passive” sin: in other words, failing to do what we should do simply because we don’t feel like doing it.
There is also the sin of IDOLATRY, which takes a myriad of forms. Mankind makes idols of many things. Without even realizing it, we make idols out of money, material possessions and luxury; out of physical beauty, power, prestige and charm; out of activities such as shopping, sports, gambling and gluttony; and YES, we even make idols out of PEOPLE such as boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives. And often CHILDREN are essentially turned into idols by their parents and by society in general. The fact is, at a certain point, love can cross the line and morph into idolatry if we are not careful.
We ALL sin, yet our sin manifests itself in different ways. Remember, sinful thoughts are NO less sin, according to what Jesus taught us. And I will say this plainly: Some of us need to get off our high horses from a spiritual standpoint. Spiritual arrogance equates to spiritual immaturity.
Yes, we are to “call a spade a spade.” We must not soft-soap or sugarcoat sin. We must not dismiss it and look the other way. Jesus Himself certainly never did that. He always called out sin for exactly what it is: That is not judging people; that is rightly agreeing with what God Himself has clearly stated in His Word regarding what He finds acceptable and pleasing, and what He finds unacceptable and revolting.
Remember, after Jesus saved the adulterous woman from being stoned to death, He not only forgave her, He also told her to “go and sin NO more.” He never implied that it was OK for her to simply keep on doing what she had been nearly stoned to death for.
What IS wrong is gleefully, gloatingly proclaiming that someone is in Hell or is going to Hell, based upon their behavior, and based upon our limited knowledge of them. We have NO business making such proclamations. That is the domain of God Himself alone. He is the Creator; He is the all-knowing, righteous Judge; and He is the ONLY One who truly knows the mind, heart, soul and spirit of each and every one He made in His image.
It should go without saying: Jesus is God; we are NOT. HUGE difference there, as far as stating who has been condemned to Hell.
Thirdly, we simply do NOT know what takes place between God and an unsaved soul in the hours, minutes and moments before He takes that soul into Eternity. Perhaps Jesus ministers to unsaved souls in those final moments, giving them one last chance to repent and receive Him as their Savior. Perhaps some unbelieving individuals may cry out to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation. I certainly hope so; and I believe that it is most certainly within the realm of possibility. I don’t see why not. After all, God is UNWILLING that ANY should perish. God takes NO delight in ANY soul being separated from Himself. It deeply grieves His heart.
Returning to my thoughts about Hugh Hefner: Despite any negative feelings we may have harbored about the man himself, we must refrain from making verbal proclamations about him (or anyone else) now being in Hell, as I’ve seen some do. We have no business making such statements for the reasons I’ve stated above. Condemning the vile porn industry is one thing; proclaiming that Hefner is now in Hell is quite another.
Jesus despised the attitude of the Pharisees, referring to them as a “brood of vipers” and as “white-washed tombs filled with dead men’s bones.” Jesus despised their hypocrisy; He despised their unkind treatment of others; He despised their finger-pointing at others, while ignoring their own sin. And we must be very careful to not allow arrogant, self-righteous pride to cause the same attitude to rise as an ungodly specter within us.
God’s love, understanding, patience, mercy and forgiveness – these qualities of His are PROFOUND in their depth, far beyond what our finite minds can even begin to comprehend. And anyone who repents and cries out to Him to be forgiven and saved – believing upon our Lord Jesus Christ and receiving Him as such – that soul WILL be saved, no matter how long and ugly a list their sins amount to. For He will turn them as white as snow – cast them as far as the east is from the west, provided we cry out to Him and NO other.
Jesus – through His agonizing death – purchased “pardons” for each and every soul who chooses to repent, believe Him, and receive Him as their Savior. Each pardon was purchased at an incalculable cost – His shed blood – the blood, sweat and tears of God Himself. May that reality never cease to fill our eyes with tears, our souls with awe, and our hearts with love for Him, who died for each and every one of us.