I will put the word ‘judgement’ in quotes throughout, to simply draw our continued attention to the word, and prompt us to think of how we individually think of or define it…
It is ‘uncomfortable’ to make pronouncements about another person’s spirituality or lack of it.
We shy away from passing ‘judgement’ upon their lack of moral fibre or faith.
In other words if they die having lived a non-Christian lifestyle, or one with no profession of any kind of faith, we nevertheless will not pronounce their reward (wages) as Gehenna/hell. Romans 6/:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Why is that? Why do we still restrain our pronouncements when the person has lived a life of obvious, either debauchery, deception, or violence, perhaps resulting in others, losing their lives? Mass shootings being an example.
Or is it only me that is reluctant to form any opinion on an individual’s final destination in the life hereafter?
Well the truth is, there is only One Judge of all the earth and He will do what is right.
Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
We want to hope the best for everyone who will one day stand before God Almighty. But let’s be clear – Christ and the finished work of calvary is the only antidote provided as a means of escape from the afterlife ‘judgement’, and sentence as a result of unrepented of sin.
Life without ‘judgement’ is impossible. Everyone makes ‘judgements’ every day. Of course defining the kind of ‘judgement’ we are speaking of, would be helpful.
So when you want to jump from a wall onto the ground – you weigh-up the consequences, you look at the grassy escarpment and consider how far off the ground you are – and then having made your ‘judgement’ you will either jump, or seek some other means of removing yourself from the wall.
When the salesman is sales-talking you – you are constantly weighing up his ‘patter’, and using your own ‘judgment’ as to the veracity of his presentation, this ‘judgement’ will end in a sale or not.
When the police catch a criminal seemingly red handed. The red bag stolen – is the red bag he is holding. So they make a ‘judgement’ and arrest him or let him go.
When someone lies to your friend and you know it is a lie – you make a ‘judgement’ call, and inform or warn your friend.
So daily ‘discernment’ is exercised by all – it is unavoidable if we are to see our way through life. This ‘discernment’ is – by another name – ‘judgement’.
However ‘to pass sentence on’, is usually reserved for court judges. Who hand out punishment ‘judgements’ to those found guilty.
Some falsely accuse and ‘judge’ others. ‘Judging’ them and passing sentence, because it suits their own ends. This is unjust ‘judgement’.
They ‘judge’ based on a few mis-informed – therefore pseudo facts.
They accuse the person of thoughts and actions, which they deem – prove them to deserve their condemnation, when in fact, they are ignorant of many other necessary facts, one would need, to make a proper ‘judgement’.
‘Passing sentence’ on people for things they have done, that we ourselves are guilty of – almost always, disqualifies us from the role of judge.
But ‘discerning’ and ‘judging’ a situation involving the behaviour of an individual or individuals, that is detrimental to the well-being of others, or even ourselves – is a necessity.
In short there is right ‘judgement’ or righteous ‘judgement’ or there is false or wrong ‘judgement’.
Everyone engages in ‘judgements’ of people etc., – reports, conversations, encounters, articles for sale, holiday offers, wallpaper, behaviour of celebrities, or paparazzi and so on and so on, in all these things we make a choice to ‘judge’.
We come to conclusions based upon our own ability to perceive, be it wise or unwise perception.
Often you will hear the sentence from the lips of another: ‘Don’t judge me’.
What they usually mean is: “Please accept me and don’t reject me or call me a bad person, because of what I am about to tell you, or for what I have done”.
This is usually preceded by some action that is questionable, (perhaps to say the least), and they still want your acceptance and friendship, despite what they said or did. And so ‘Don’t judge me’ is their first request.
To avoid ‘judgement’ especially to have sentence passed on us, is the desire of some folks, if not the wish of everyone.
We desire to be thought of as right in many things.
When we are guilty, we still try to avoid the ‘judgement’ of others, simply because it can be harsh and violent, and we don’t wish to experience the vitriol.
To remove ‘judgement’ from the planet and it leaves us with total anarchy.
That there is poor ‘judgement’, bad ‘judgement’ and unjust ‘judgement’ whether from an individual wrongly ‘judging’ us – or a government exercising foolish ‘judgement’ – we still cannot imagine life without it.
Unless we live in a perfect world where sin does not exist, we must have ‘judgement’.
The great news of the gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ is that He took upon Himself on the cross, the sentence passed on every person on the planet (because of sin and consequential guilt) – (over 7 billion of us – last count), – and of course all of mankind throughout history.
He died – the just for the unjust – to remove the penalty of all the wrongdoing we have participated in by thought, word and deed.
We need to make a proper ‘judgement’ of this glorious fact.
The ‘judgement’ we make will decide where we stand when we come before The Almighty, in the hereafter.
If we pay lip-service to the above idea, assuming that we can intellectually give ascent to the fact that Christ took our ‘judgement’ for sin, but then think we can continue to live like the devil – we will encounter an ‘awakening’ experience in the after life – to say the least. This is where Gehenna/hell comes in.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.
We could reference the original words (Greek Hebrew etc. for the words ‘discernment or judgement’).
But suffice to refer to the ‘judgement’ we use in discerning and forming a correct assessment, and differentiating it from the ‘judgement’ that passes sentence on others rightly or wrongly. This will put us on the same page regarding our subject.
Here is just one scripture where Peter and John the apostles, are exhorting their listeners:
Acts 4/19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.
So he is asking others to make a ‘judgement’ here.
Discern, weigh-up what I am saying, and make the right ‘judgement’, – come to the right conclusion about what I am telling you.
Some are skilled at ‘judging’ situations, scenarios, and the actions of others, so as to form true ‘judgements’ and come to proper conclusions.
But we live in a world where great confusion increases, and false accusers abound. Opinions are continually in opposition and half-truths reign over the truth.
To find a wise person is an increasingly difficult task in this self-opinionated world. Wrong ‘judgements’ are constantly made and voiced in and on all kinds of social platforms.
Some are heard to cry out: ‘Don’t judge me’ while they themselves, ‘judge and condemn’ left right and centre.
Sentence passing, false accusations, bad behaviour being justified by those who want selfish freedom to do as they please, without ‘judgement’ and so on, giving us this hodgepodge mix of unrighteousness and permissiveness in all departments of human – being.
Then there are those who foolishly tell us God is not a God of love if He ‘judges’, finds guilty and condemns to an eternal prison all those who continuously, persistently ignore Him and set themselves up in rebellion of whatever kind they choose.
Also Jesus said:
John 7/ 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
Notice He doesn’t say: judge with ‘self-righteous’ ‘judgement’.
He also tells us that how things might ‘appear’, does not provide enough knowledge to properly discern, and form a correct ‘judgement’.
There is only One who ‘judges’ righteously. And He has left us a book full of the principles essential in making a correct assessment of all things human.
Before any kind of ‘judgement’ can be entered into by human ‘court’, we need to ‘hear Him’…
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”