Being an Honest Judge
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
As you read the Bible, you will notice that one of the things God views as most disgusting is unjust treatment, especially when it comes to legal or religious trials. For God’s disgust with those that make unrighteous judgments is repeatedly given as the primary reason why He brought destruction upon Judah and IsraEl.
However, despite God’s strong views on this, people often fail to understand the seriousness of the situation they put themselves in whenever they are asked to pass judgment on others, and to do so honestly. For example, notice what Jesus said at Matthew 7:1:
‘Do not judge others, so you won’t be judged.
For the [rules] by which you judge others Are the rules they will use to judge you,
And the standards you are setting for them Are the standards that they’ll set for you.’
So, does this mean that Christians should never allow themselves to be put in a position where they must judge the actions of others, especially their brothers? No, for notice what Paul wrote at 1 Corinthians 6:5, 6:
‘Isn’t there at least one wise man among you that can [serve as] judge between his brothers?
Or must a brother take a brother to court to be judged by unbelievers?’
As you can see, there are times when a Christian must judge the wrong (and especially the notorious) actions of other Christians, where the holiness of the congregation is impugned. However, anyone that is put in such a situation of judging must realize the seriousness of the decisions that they make.
They may not be influenced by the coercion of others or by their own personal feelings.
For, making a wrong judgment is the worst thing a Christian judge may do in the eyes of God! Further, a wrong decision (either too lenient or too harsh) may disqualify that person from serving as a judge ever after.
So the point is this: Christian judges (or jurors) must realize that whenever they are put in a position where they must judge others, God is also judging them. So while passing a wrong judgment on others may have a temporary effect on that person, it may bring the wrath of God upon that judge! God will judge that judge with the same lack of mercy that he or she has used in their judgment of others.
Then does this mean that responsible Christians must overlook and even ‘forgive’ the actions of their unrepentant brothers so that they aren’t judged negatively by God? No, it means that they must be fair in their judgments.
Notice especially Paul’s charge to Timothy found at 1 Timothy 5:21:
‘Don’t jump to any conclusions before you hear the evidence, and never make a decision because you are biased one way or the other.’
Good advice for all.