Judging: A shade of difference
The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,
- 1 Corinthians 2:15
... while we who are righteous by the Holy Spirit can discern, examine, search and question things through the Holy Spirit, that is exactly where it ends
I recently had someone use this as an excuse for judging people. A few things of note are:
- They said this was Jesus, but it’s actually Paul
- It doesn’t refer to what kind of judgment is in evidence
- It refers to a righteous man, which they admitted they were not
The word “judge” as used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:15 is “anakrinei” and it means to discern, question, examine and search, according to most Biblical Greek lexicons. "Ana" means "completing a process" and "krino" means "to separate." Counter to this concept is Christ requiring us to judge not in Matthew 7:1-2. The word Christ used, “krine” is altogether different in concept, although being the root for the word Paul used.
So, while anakrinei means to discern, search, question and examine, krine/krino means to judge and to do so in a final, punitive manner. The point is that, while we who are righteous by the Holy Spirit (the only righteousness we actually have) can discern, examine, search and question things through the Holy Spirit, that is exactly where it ends. Matthew 7 specifically forbade us from standing idolatrously in God's shoes, condemning others for their sins. That is actually a sin, usurping God's place as if you were above God and could step in line in front of him. It's called idolatry, and it's the very first commandment for a good reason.
What's more, is that along with the warning not to commit that specific sin, Jesus promised that we would be visited with that self-same judgment, but instead of it coming from man, it would come from God. I don't know how long your arms are, but I guarantee you, they're not long enough to box with God. While God does not enjoy boxing with His children (Ezekiel 33:11), if you want to poke the bear, He's just and will give you the consequences for your actions.
Beyond this, Jesus didn't believe that equating oneself with God was a good idea, and it wasn't even the reason he came to earth in the first place. John 3:17 tells us specifically that he came to save the world, not to condemn it. In our efforts to be Christ-like, that's where we should start and end, every single time.
Condemnation doesn’t belong to anyone in the flesh, including Jesus. Condemning judgment belongs to God and God alone. Who are we to judge our neighbors? (James 4:12)
Roland Millington is a United Methodist Church pastor serving Brimfield United Methodist Church in Brimfield, IL. He's the author of two books available digitally through our store, or as hard copies through LuLu Publishing.