Who Is The Judge?

When we are warned, “Judge not lest ye be judged,” in Matthew 7:1, who will judge us?  Does “lest ye be judged” refer to the judgment of God, the judgment of believers, or both?

judge's bench and gavelAs in our earlier example, if a friend judges me for not returning their call quickly, it will likely cause me to expect them to return my calls quickly…and be extra upset if they don’t!  So judging could cause fellow believers to judge me for the same thing.

But it could also refer to the Lord’s judgment, as some passages seem to suggest.  Let’s check out James 5:9 as an example:

Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

The concepts in this verse seem to be similar to Matthew 7:1 – that we shouldn’t grumble against or judge our brother or sister, or we will be judged.  Also, the wording is similar, and the Greek is identical to that of Matthew 7:1.

So who is judging in this parallel passage?  James clarifies that the judging is done by the Judge who is standing at the door. Who is this Judge?  Well, in the previous two verses, James reminds that the Lord’s coming is near, and here he says He stands at the door, so it seems that the Judge is the Lord.

So “lest we be judged” could refer to being judged by other believers for the thing for which we are judging them.  Or it could refer to being judged by the Lord.  Or both – yikes!

No matter whom it’s from, it seems like a wise thing to avoid.  We may reap eternal benefits of avoiding additional judgment… and the earthly benefit of not incurring additional judgment in our relationships.

Question: How do you keep from judging others? (that is, not judging others for things not in Scripture!) You can comment below.

1 Easy Way to Spare Yourself Judgment

Judge not, lest ye be judged.
~ Matthew 7:1

Do you like that?  A little Old English style : )

This verse is so sneaky – it has familiarity to many and brevity that make it seem pretty innocuous.  But we can’t let the familiarity fool us.  It’s got a poignancy that should transform our attitude towards others.

judge gavelWe will all be judged — we can’t change that.  Believers will all stand at the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10) where we will give an account of ourselves (Romans 14:12).  And Scripture is full of the things God cares about for which we will give an account.

So if we will for sure be judged, then what’s up with this “lest ye be judged”?

This is the part that seems especially poignant to me – since we will be judged, the “lest ye be judged” refers not to whether or not we will face a judgment seat, but instead to for what additional things we will be judged.

Additional?  Yikes.

This is how I figure it – if I ‘judge’ someone for lying, for example, that doesn’t change my judgment.  God says, “Thou shalt not lie” (I apparently keep going back to another century today : )), so I am going to be held to account for lying whether or not I judge someone for it.  Lying is God’s standard from His Word and is fair game to be held account.

But let’s say I get mad at someone for not returning my phone call within a couple of days and yell at them for it.  Oh yikes – now this is a whole different ballgame.  Nowhere in God’s Word does it say that phone calls must be returned within two days.  So if I judge someone for not calling me back, I’ve just introduced a new standard by which I can be judged.  I better make sure I return all phone calls within two days!

What clarity – and huge challenge! – this verse offers.  It’s got that Uggh. {punch} Ow! sort of poignancy that should rock our worlds. Why heap judgment upon yourself?  Judge not… and spare yourself the judgment.

What types of things do we judge others for – or have you been judged for – that are not in God’s Word?  {Praying the Lord would help us judge mercifully!}