Should we Judge?

This question comes up almost on a daily basis. If there is one scripture that everyone is familiar with it is Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

What most people are saying is don’t remind me of the fact that I’m transgressing Gods law.  If you were to tell them that the Bible says this or that most people will take offense to what you say. This is because you bring conviction to their life.

You are exposing hidden sin and bringing it into the light. It says in John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  When you expose the truth and people are reminded of their inter-self  or their dark side, they try to ignore it.  Also, it exposes their true heart to others around them. This makes them feel very uneasy. So they will try to justify themselves by quoting pieces of scripture no matter how far out of context it is.

Lets take a close look at what the Bible has to say about judging one another:    

Lets start with Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. (2) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (3) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (4) Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? (5) Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. 

In Matthew 7:1 We are told that we should not judge.  Most people stop reading there because this allows them to prove their point. However if you continue reading to Matthew 7:5 it tells us that in order to judge someone else make sure that you are right with God first, then you can judge them.

Here in John we are told that we need to judge.  John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. At first glance this seems to contradict itself. However, if you read it carefully you will understand the whole point of judging one another. 

First we are told that we are not to judge by the appearance.  Again this does not mean that a person dressed in ragged clothes is to be judge by them.  This point out that a poor person who cannot afford the luxuries of this world should not be looked down upon. Secondly we are told that we should judge a person by using righteous judgment.  What is righteous judgment? 

Remember that no man is righteous, but God is righteous.  So if we are to judge another person we are to use righteous judgment and not our own thoughts and ideas. We are to use the word of God as a measuring stick to tell right from wrong!

For instance if someone was committing adultery the conversation could go something like this:

person 1: Do you know that you should not be living in adultery?

person 2: You have no right to judge me, the Bible says that you should not judge someone.

If we are not to judge, then person number 2 is right.  Because most people don’t have a full understanding of the scripture the conversation will end there.

However, person number 1 should reply:

person 1: I am not judging you, but the word of God is judging you. The Bible says that you should not live in adultery. Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.  

By putting the phrase in the correct context, person 1 is not judging person 2 but the Holy word of God is the standard for which person 2 broke Gods commandment.

1st Corinthians chapter 5 also tells us that we are to use the word of God to determine if we should fellowship with people or not.  

1Corinthians 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: (10) Yet not altogether the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. (11) But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat.  (12) For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? (13) But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

If we were not to judge, how could we determine if someone was a fornicator, covetous, an idolater, a railer, a drunkard, or an extortioner?  At sometime you have to say, I should not fellowship with that person because he or she is a drunkard.  We must judge that persons life, in order to come to the conclusion that they are a drunkard.

If you were not allowed to judge then you would never not fellowship with someone who is a drunkard.  This idea of not judging gives people an “easy out”.  You can do anything, go anywhere with anyone you like.  This is pleasing to the non Christian or a person who calls themselves a Christian but their life does not bear fruit.

Continuing in 1Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.  Again Paul is telling us to judge what he is saying.  If we are not to judge then this verse would not make any sense. 

Once again 1Corinthians 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? Again we are to judge using the word of God.

Luke 12:57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? Here we are to judge what is right. In order to determine what is right we need to look into God’s word and weight the deeds and actions against the Holy Word of God. We are not to determine by our own knowledge but refer to the Bible.

1Corinthians 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?  Once again we are told to judge, to reason within our self. To find righteous judgment you need to refer to the Bible.

We as Christians are commanded to “1. To decide 2. To determine” what is “right” and “wrong” according to the word of God.

If you do not “judge” – “right” from “wrong” – you are traveling a blazing “one-way” course to “perversion” and “degradation” that will eventually land you in a “lake of fire”! read Revelation 21:8

A lot of Christians read Matthew 7:1 and say, “See, we’re not supposed to judge between right and wrong”. And any sense of declaring someone, especially other Christians, to be wrong, is “judging” that person.

There are some serious problems with this interpretation. . .

For instance, if you keep reading Matthew 7, you’ll soon read in verse 15:

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15

Notice these false prophets “come to you in sheep’s clothing”– in other words they are “masquerading” as Christians! And yet, according to the Lord Jesus Christ – “they are ravening wolves.” According to the Lord Jesus Christ – Beware: some “so-called” Christians – are “ravening wolves”!

How can we tell the “sheep” from the “wolves” unless we “judge” or “determine”?

How can we do as our Lord commanded and “beware of false prophets” unless we “judge” them by the word of God?

If we do not “judge” or “decide” their error by the word of God, how do we even know they are in error?

Just because someone “sings” about the Lord Jesus Christ, are we to not “judge” their “songs”, “conversation”, and “testimony”? Because someone professes to be a Christian should we accept whatever they say and do as “right” and “pleasing to God”?

** Note all references are taken from the King James Version.

Borrowed from:

Ark Encounter

Ark Encounter

While researching and preparing for my next Simon book I wanted an opportunity to see Noah’s Ark at the Ark Encounter.  As our travels took us through Cincinnati, Ohio it was the perfect time to stop and see it.

As you enter the parking lot you have to search to find it.  I don’t mean it’s hard to find, it’s just a long ways from the parking area.  Keep in mind that they are building this property to be a type of amusement park, not just an ark.  The parking area is a long way from the ark, however they provide shuttle buses that are never more than a couple of minutes wait.

When we arrived in our RV I took a few minutes to survey the view.  The ark sat about a half-mile from our parking spot on an opposite hill.  I tried to imagine the thoughts of the folks in Noah’s day who would see that boat from a far hill.  Although there were significant cities in those days, and appreciable technology, nothing would compare to the magnificent size of this “building”.  Certainly, they had boats, and even ships, but this would be more like a giant barn or enclosed city.

The bus ride to the ark was quick and comfortable in the heated and air-conditioned (we needed both throughout the day) transit bus.  The road to the ark winds up and down through the hills on each side of the valley.  The road is nice but poorly planned.  The buses are not able to cross each other except on the limited straight sections.  There is even a bridge across a gully and stream that is only wide enough for one bus.  It’s no big issue, they seemed to have worked out a system and communicate via radio to handle the traffic problems.

Approaching the ark was an emotional experience for me.  I can’t find the words to describe the size.  Yes, I can tell you the dimensions, but numbers don’t describe the enormity of this ship.  It’s not what I imagined at all.  Words escape me but the experience was breathtaking.  As you converge on the ship you can look up and it towers over you like an overhanging giant stadium.  This wooden vessel can’t be absorbed with the eyes from any perspective.  It has to be examined in sections.  The bow of the ship looms taller than a five-story building and the length is more than one-and-a-half football fields.  The top deck is large enough to carry three space shuttles nose-to-tail with room to spare.  Just to walk the length was a time-consuming event.  Again, I can’t put this into words to help you grasp the sheer massiveness of the ship.

Stepping inside I was somewhat less in awe.  Yes, impressive and professionally done, but the reality of the awesome size wasn’t as noticeable inside.  As you climb the ramp and enter the main body of the ship you’re besieged by photographers who want to take your picture so you can pay an exorbitant price later to have your photo superimposed in front of the ship.  I felt it was cheesy and irritating to be ambushed in this way.

In my typical introvert way, I found my way quickly to the lower bow of the ship.  The crowds were headed in one direction, I was running for solitude.  In this isolation, I found the awesomeness of the ship again for just a moment.  In the darkness of this tiny space was a sound system that imitated the crashing of the sea, the fearful noise of creaking boards, and the crashing of the storm above.  I found myself relating to what Noah’s sons might have felt: fear, loneliness, and despair; cold, dark and noisy, floating around in the great unknown; no understanding of the future, no hope for the past.

Moving from my private seclusion I again joined the crowds to view row upon row of hand-made wooden animal cages.  The cages, presumably built mostly from bamboo were of various sizes and held many exotic and long-past extinct animals.  Again, the recorded sounds were realistic and eerie.  Alongside the cages, above, and everywhere possible were rows of clay freshwater canisters and bundles of various feeds.  The lower deck seemed to somewhat realistically characterize the enormous amount of work that would have been involved in managing the thousands of animals on board.

As we worked our way to the second deck the inside of this awesome ship become more of a museum than Noah’s Ark.  Excellent detail, but no longer maintained much of the feel of the enormity and purpose of the original ship.  The two upper decks were very interesting, but if you come when there are larger crowds the museum exhibits would be very difficult to enjoy.  We had, what I would consider, a maximum crowd to enjoy and read the exhibits.  At this point, most pre-teen children would have a marginal interest.  However, a teenager, especially one who has a healthy education in natural science and Biblical study, would find most of these exhibits educational, compelling, and professionally designed.

There was a special place for me that I spent a great deal of time contemplating.  It was a particularly emotional place that I didn’t expect.  The Door. God said to Noah, “You shall set the door of the ship in its side”.  The metaphor of the “Door” is used frequently in the Bible.  Yet, the reality of this door really hit me when I stood there.  Jesus said “I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved. . .”  As I surveyed that great wooden door on the side of Noah’s ship I considered Jesus words.  “I am the door”.  That great ship was for the salvation of mankind.  In the same way, Jesus is the salvation of mankind.  Yet, the book of Genesis tells us that there came a day, after Noah and his family were safely on board, that Yahweh God shut the door.  I stood there in tears before that giant wooden deleth [Hebrew: door] and considered the woeful screams of the people outside when the destruction began.  Imagine the water crashing against the sides of that great ship while men, women, and children, in panic, pounded on the door.  Yet it was too late, the door was shut and sealed by the hand of God himself.

Those people who had rejected the warnings of Noah would die terrible deaths.  Their screams would have been heard inside.  Not strangers, these are the workmen who toiled alongside Noah, many would have been family and friends.  Yet, they did not heed his words.  How long until the screams fell silent that eerie night?  How long before their ears were no longer assaulted by the pleading of their loved ones?  How long before the mothers who could no longer hold their crying babies above the water would lower their arms and submit to the death of the cold water?

At that door I considered not only the deaths of thousands, even millions of souls that terrible day, but I considered the eternal deaths of billions today when God will again close the door.  The day will come, the day is coming soon, that God will no longer strive with mankind.  The day will come when it’s too late.  No amount of screams, no amount of pleading will open that door again.

What side of the door are you on?  Do you care?   You will.

One interesting side note: The Hebrew word for Ark used in the bible is “ta-va”.  This word is used twice in the Hebrew Torah [Bible], first for Noah’s Ark and the second is the basket that carried Moses down the river to safety.  Both were used exclusively for the salvation of God’s people.  This could be a whole article all by itself.

We returned to our RV shortly after noon and felt we had seen much of the Ark and its exhibits.  We couldn’t leave the parking lot because our motorcoach is much too large to navigate the tight parking spaces.  We didn’t mind, we enjoyed lunch, I took a nap, and then I returned to the ship for a second tour, this time without Amy.  This gave me an opportunity to roam the grounds, to snoop around and take the time to absorb the magnitude of this great ship.  I spent a great deal of time outside, under and around just trying to envisage the eminence of this floating wooden engineering phenomenon.  I returned to many of the more extensive exhibits that Amy wasn’t interested in.  In addition, I returned to the Door.

I invested many long moments contemplating the magnitude of that door.  Not the magnitude of the physical door of this ship, honestly I don’t think this door was very well done.  The door of this ship in Kentucky could have been closed by any man.  I was only contemplating the magnitude of what that door signifies.  The metaphor of that massive wooden door from the book of Genesis is sobering.

I Finally returned to the motorcoach and soon the parking lot opened enough to allow us to wiggle out.  We had to move some directional orange cones and find our own way out, the exit drive was not designed for large vehicles.  But we are used to making our own path.

The cost of the Ark is $40 per person plus an insulting parking fee of $10 for cars (or $15 for an RV).  I feel that price is overinflated and unrealistic.  Maybe someday when they have a full amusement park for children this could be acceptable, but for someone on a modest income, this price is painfully steep for what you see.  There is no question that the ark is breathtaking and professionally done.  Don’t mistake this for just another Christian museum, this is a money-making operation and the opportunities for you to spend a significant amount of your money, even after the $40 admission, is plenteous.

One last critique, although not offensive in any way, this is advertised as a fully wooden structure.  I guess I had an expectation of a duplication of how Noah might have actually built this enormous boat.  This structure is a heavy steel commercial building, made to look like a wooden ship.  The wood boards cover everything yet most of the wood is not structural in any way.  I had hoped it would be more realistic in construction, but I’m sure that would be a legal impossibility.  This building had to meet modern commercial building codes and is expected to last many lifetimes.  Noah’s boat only needed to last through one terrible storm over the course of about one year.

I have to give a huge thank you to a friend who helped us make this visit a reality.  I thank God for men like Ken Ham who had the vision, resources and connections to make this possible.  But more than that, I thank God who found the mercy to save the family of Noah and provide life to a dying and sinful world.  God again has shown great mercy through his own Son Jesus who is the “Door” and the way of life.  Only those who enter eternal life through Jesus will find life.  All others will find only death – eternally.  Please heed the voice of Noah and turn from your wickedness and cry out to Jesus who is “The Way, the Truth, and Life, no man comes to the Father except by Me [Jesus]”. 

One day the DOOR will close forever.

Pearl of Great Price

Pearl of Great Price

The angels rejoiced that warm spring day as a penniless child opened her heart to Jesus.  But the child was ignored by the house of worship, for an impoverished child has no place in the modern church of human worship.  Those who are hungry and naked are not welcome in the hearts of those who worship in those hallowed halls.  Oh, but place an ounce of gold in her hand and the cathedrals would have welcomed her with open arms into their game of churchianity.  Angels rejoice for they perceive with the eyes of God, but the congregation with eyes of carnal man. 

In the wisdom of God a great pearl, formed by a mote of great pain, was hidden inside that child that no congregation of human eyes could discern.  God used those sands of affliction to polish and perfect a pearl of great value.

On that day, before the Kingdom throne, we will not be judged for our ability to prosper with greed and gold but our ability to seek and buy the pearl of a great price.

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls,  who having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Mother and Daughter on the day the daughter met Jesus