Judge Not and Ye SHALL be Judged….

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The Citizen is undergoing yet another round of ‘stop being judgmental’ and ‘judge not’ remarks from the liberals of his acquaintance. While this charge is annoying when it comes from the secular lib, it is appalling when it comes from those who presume to be learned in theology and practicing members of one Christian denomination or another. The time has come for the Citizen to do what Catholics have done best throughout the centuries – apply the Magisterium and the philosophical school we have developed to refute the erroneous – and perhaps heretical –  interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount.

The pertinent passage most often abused is found in Matthew. As the Douay-Rheims is the closest to the Latin translations, and therefore the most pure and undiluted text, I often use this Bible:

Judge not, that you may not be judged, For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:1-5

This is the entire passage – the liberal often uses only the first sentence. But, as with all reasoning from the ‘intellectual’ left, the use of Scripture is incomplete – indeed, the most important argument is omitted. The rest of the passage – and the most important message – is that those who judge must not be hypocrites. “…with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.” This means that the judge will be held to the same yardstick he uses to judge others. Where in this passage does Christ condemn those who judge others? No where. He does tell those who judge without holding themselves to the same standards to be ‘hypocrites’. An example of this are those who proclaim that money is the root of all evil – yet surround themselves with the trappings of wealth. You can’t tell me that wealth is evil if you are blogging about it on your Iphone.

Throughout Christ’s ministry, he spoke often about those who were unfit judges. No where does he condemn applying moral values to hold people accountable. In fact, the Gospels are studded with Christ enjoining people to apply his teachings and hold people to those standards. Don’t believe me?

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment” John 7:24. Wow. Is that Christ telling us how to judge? Doesn’t much sound like ‘don’t be judgmental’, does it? Indeed, He is telling us that we must not look on the surface, but to reflect and discern before judging on an issue. Where does the ‘just judgment’ come from? The Bible and the Magisterium. The Catholic Church has spent two millennia reflecting, praying, thinking, and discerning on the Old and New Testaments. The embodiment of  Church thinking summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a solid intellectual and theological treatment of standards by which to judge ourselves and others.

Another passage expressly commands us to judge others who are in error.

Take heed to yourselves. If thy brother sin against thee, reprove him: and if he do penance, forgive him. And if he sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day be converted unto thee, saying, I repent; forgive him – Luke 17:3-4

Can it be any more clear to the reader? It is our obligation as Christians to rebuke those who sin against God. It is also our obligation to forgive them when they confess wrongdoing with a contrite heart. So great is God’s love that Christ enjoins us to always be ready to forgive – even if one sins ‘seven times in one day’ and repents each time. Forgiveness is one thing, judging is another – and the two are far from contradictory.

Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,  Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God. – Corinthians 6:9-10

Paul’s letters are considered to be a universal source of Christian thought. In this letter, he is clear and rather judgmental about those who will be worthy of Heaven. This is one of the earliest guides for the Christian community. In this passage, Paul provides a clear yardstick.

If a child were about to run into traffic, would we stand by and let it happen? If a child were about to plunge their hand in fire, would we stand idle? Of course not. If someone is behaving contrary to simple, basic codes of conduct, should we stand idle?

To do so would be dangerous – not just for the soul of the transgressor but our own as well.

It is simpler to not be ‘judgmental’. I have lost friendships and alienated acquaintances for exercising my responsibilities to my fellow man and to my religious beliefs. While it grieves me, I am content. Christians are called to a harder road. And the price is worth it. That passage of Corinthians ends with a warning and a promise – one that I will leave the gentle reader with….

For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body.

God Bless!


  10 comments for “Judge Not and Ye SHALL be Judged….

  1. herald7
    December 8, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye…" 😉

    • December 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      I'm sorry you seem to have a problem with my argument. I have absolutely no idea what I have written to merit the sobriquet of 'hypocrite'. Perhaps it is that I have written something you don't like.

      One of the most significant problems with our society is the aversion to apply appropriate measures to evaluate behavior, actions, conduct, or speech. As a practical Catholic, I cleave to the Bible and the Magisterium – the traditions and teachings of the Catholic Church. When a person or group acts in a way contrary to my beliefs, I will apply the measure provided by the Church. You are welcome to accept my position or not. But it does not make my judgement that the behavior is morally wrong irrelevant.

      Interesting that you call a person who is articulating his beliefs and is actively defending them hypocritical.

      • herald7
        December 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm

        "Hypocrite" was Jesus' word to describe someone who spent so much time judging others, they failed to notice their own sins. Just saying you might want to worry about your own failings first before you "rebuke" others.

        I have nothing against you personally, I just found your argument theologically flawed. But I wish you luck. And Merry Christmas. 🙂

        • December 24, 2011 at 4:58 am

          With all due respect, your comment was a blatant ad hominem attack. There was no elaboration, no substance, just a quote – and a carefully selected quote taken out of context. This is a tactic that is often employed and is actually the thesis of this essay. This emphasis on not judging people is not realistic – nor is it Christian. Christ never told us not to judge people – he told us that if we were to be judgmental, we should apply the same measure to ourselves as well. I try very hard to live according to the Magisterium, and when I fail, I make amends – and partake in the sacrament of reconciliation.

          The argument is far from flawed theologically. I believe that I provided sufficient passages from the Gospels and the Letters of St. Paul to corroborate my thesis. To cast Christ as an 'anything goes' God is an attempt to trivialize Him. If we were to subscribe to your line of logic and not render judgment, then the concept of Free Will would be meaningless. In a world where there is no judgement, there is no right or wrong. In such a world, choices would have no meaning because there would be no consequences for bad choices. Furthermore, rendering judgement – if done correctly – is not punitive but corrective intervention. It allows people or societies to apply a common measure to adjust and correct behavior. If a person is doing something contrary to the teachings of the Church, failing to address the situation is a much greater sin than to ignore it or not act for fear of the 'log in my own eye'.

          Being Catholic is not always easy. The discipline of the Magisterium is sometimes difficult and I have struggled with some tenets of the Faith for years. But I am a Catholic and I follow the teachings of the Church. You are more than free to judge me – and you have. I am content that when I exercise my judgement, it is in accordance with doctrine, with the Gospels, and done not out of malice but out of compassion.

          • herald7
            December 24, 2011 at 11:26 am

            At no point did I cast God as an "anything goes" God. I said if you concentrate so much on judging others, you have no time to judge your own sins. You can't control how others think and act. You can certainly give them advice or warn them if they are hurting themselves or others. Not saying you shouldn't do that. But not to the point where you neglect your own soul. Because in the end, that is ALL you can truly control. 🙂

            I did agree with you on one thing though, about not being a hypocritical judge. That is how I feel as well and I don't think we're as unalike as you think. I also think you were right when you scolded people who "proclaim that money is the root of all evil–yet surround themselves with the trappings of wealth." I see this often, mainly from the so-called conservative politicians in our society (not all of course). What you call "secular libs" are the ones who fight against such hypocrisy in our society. I wouldn't be so quick to judge them. 😉

            Again, this was not an attack against you personally, just a disagreement regarding your statements. I am not perfect; I get things wrong, I certainly have an ego at times, lol. And now I will go and tend to that, rather than continue to concentrate solely on you. Because THAT is what Jesus taught. 😉 Again, I wish you well. Merry Christmas. 🙂

          • December 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm

            And Merry Christmas too you as well.

          • Grammy
            December 7, 2013 at 3:21 am

            let anyone here who is without sin cast the first stone, rebuke, I believe that Jesus truly meant that we judge not that we will be judged the measurement is a test of our Love for one another.

          • December 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

            Grammy;
            Did you read the essay or just react to the title? If you did the latter, don’t worry – you are not the only one to have done so. I provided the passage – in it’s entirety – in Matthew that explains the Christian precepts on judgment. I also quoted John where we are instructed to ‘judge just judgement’. In Corinthians, Paul warns us that the sinful will never gain Heaven…without the intervention of loving critics. Loving critics? Yep – did you read my reference to Luke 17? The one where Jesus calls on us to forgive those who sin?

            Frankly, your stance itself is hypocritical. I have the integrity to accept that I am willing to call out behavior that is contrary to the Magisterium. In your comment, you judge me for assuming a role that is not mine. Frankly, it is this type of passive-aggressive behavior that has helped create an American church that is paralyzed by ineffective political correctness and an unwillingness to accept the cross of truly living the life of a Christian. While you may be content to watch a child run into traffic or engage in dangerous behavior without rebuking them, I am not. It is the duty of every Catholic to be a witness – and a voice. If I speak out of love and if I speak from the teachings of Holy Mother Church, criticism is not only constructive.

            It is essential. It is the truest measure of love for your brother and sister. It is my responsibility. And yours.

          • December 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

            Grammy;
            Did you read the essay or just react to the title? If you did the latter, don't worry – you are not the only one to have done so. I provided the passage – in it's entirety – in Matthew that explains the Christian precepts on judgment. I also quoted John where we are instructed to 'judge just judgement'. In Corinthians, Paul warns us that the sinful will never gain Heaven…without the intervention of loving critics. Loving critics? Yep – did you read my reference to Luke 17? The one where Jesus calls on us to forgive those who sin?

            Your use of John 8:7 is simplistic. Christ never denied the validity of the Law nor did he excuse the sin of the accused. He was trying to teach us that one cannot cast judgement while being guilty of such sins oneself. Stoning a sinner to death would have accomplished nothing save win another soul for Hell. Compassionate judgement is acceptable. Did you forget to read the rest of that passage? “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” It's a big phrase – and frankly, the most important one in the whole verse. Christ judged her – compassionately – and chose not to condemn her with a punishment that would have closed her from the chance of salvation.

            Frankly, your stance itself is hypocritical. I have the integrity to accept that I am willing to call out behavior that is contrary to the Magisterium. In your comment, you judge me for assuming a role that you believe is not mine. Frankly, it is this type of passive-aggressive behavior that has helped create an American church that is paralyzed by ineffective political correctness and an unwillingness to accept the cross of truly living the life of a Christian. By ignorance or malice, you omit the 'sin no more' passage – a key one that totally changes the message of John 8:7. Totally.

            While you may be content to watch a child run into traffic or engage in dangerous behavior without rebuking them, I am not. It is the duty of every Catholic to be a witness – and a voice. If I speak out of love and if I speak from the teachings of Holy Mother Church, criticism is not only constructive.

            It is essential. It is the truest measure of love for your brother and sister. It is my responsibility. And yours.

          • December 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

            Grammy;
            Did you read the essay or just react to the title? If you did the latter, don't worry – you are not the only one to have done so. I provided the passage – in it's entirety – in Matthew that explains the Christian precepts on judgment. I also quoted John where we are instructed to 'judge just judgement'. In Corinthians, Paul warns us that the sinful will never gain Heaven…without the intervention of loving critics. Loving critics? Yep – did you read my reference to Luke 17? The one where Jesus calls on us to forgive those who sin?

            Frankly, your stance itself is hypocritical. I have the integrity to accept that I am willing to call out behavior that is contrary to the Magisterium. In your comment, you judge me for assuming a role that is not mine. Frankly, it is this type of passive-aggressive behavior that has helped create an American church that is paralyzed by ineffective political correctness and an unwillingness to accept the cross of truly living the life of a Christian. While you may be content to watch a child run into traffic or engage in dangerous behavior without rebuking them, I am not. It is the duty of every Catholic to be a witness – and a voice. If I speak out of love and if I speak from the teachings of Holy Mother Church, criticism is not only constructive.

            It is essential. It is the truest measure of love for your brother and sister. It is my responsibility. And yours.

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