"Judge Not" - A Dangrous Myth
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Calling sin a sin: does a Christian have the right to judge another?

The golden rule has changed. It used to be "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It is now "Judge not, that you be not judged." The new golden rule is the golden sword drawn to ward off those who dare to declare that someone else's belief, actions or lifestyle is morally amiss.

"Judge-not" is the most misunderstood and misused principle in Christian doctrine. When coupled with the numchucks of "intolerance", the bearer wields a formidable weapon that can do more than just silence dissenters--it can pulverize the solid-rock foundation of the Church into sand. It is an especially heinous weapon when wielded by those who call themselves Christians in order to protect themselves from the condemnation of the Church. When Christians claim we should not pass judgement on another believer's actions or lifestyle, they have it dead wrong. Discerning judgement is not only one of the underpinnings of Christianity, Jesus requires it of us.

In the same context in which Jesus admonished His followers against hypocrisy (the true meaning of "judge not" in Matt. 7:1), he also tells us to make judgements concerning the morality of others: "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs...Watch out for false prophets." Paul commands the church to make discerning judgements about morality within the Christian body: "...you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you."

The basis for discerning judgement is the Word of God. If God has declared something a sin, we are not passing judgment, it is the Word of God that judges. If we find that a brother in Christ is sinning, we should reach out, according to Paul in Galations, to "restore him gently." Jesus gave an example of this with His story of the shepherd going after the lost sheep that was restored to the fold. But in the same context (Matt 18:15-17), Jesus also said that if the rebelling brother refuses to repent, then let him go--he is no longer to be considered a Christian.

Last week, during the attempt to vote on a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, a caller to Janet Parshall's America radio talk show identified himself as "gay and Christian." The conversation centered on how God defined marriage and Janet handled it superbly (you rock, Janet!). However, I would like to address the "gay Christian" oxymoron. Don't get me wrong--I have no problem with a non-Christian who chooses to be gay. I cannot judge them because I have no right to. But I have every right to discern the wrongness of a Christian who practices the gay lifestyle. God has unambiguously declared sex outside of marriage to be a sin (perhaps the reason for the push to legalize same-sex marriage?). If you practice sin--any sin--without regret, refusing to change your behavior, then by Jesus' own words, you are a pagan--not a Christian. Paul says you are to be expelled from the church body. Therefore, you can't define yourself as both "gay" and "Christian."

Jesus praised the church in Ephesus for not tolerating wicked men within their midst. You can do no less. God, in His Word, commands us to practice discerning judgement. This is in no small way for the protection of the Church, for as Jesus explained, a little yeast permeates the whole loaf. The message is clear: When confronted with sin within the Christian body, you are to measure your response to it by God's word. You must judge!

P.S. If there are people out there who identify themselves as "adulturous-and-Christian and proud of it," or "thieving Christian and proud of it," I apologise for the oversight. I would have been happy to include them also in my example of an oxymoron.
posted by K. Geffert | 2:51 PM


Anonymous Hagios said...

Hmmm. Christians have no right to judge unbelievers? I beg to differ. If we fail to tell unbelievers of their fate for violating the just Law of God, are we not doing them an injustice? We are not judging them: THEY ARE ALREADY JUDGED. We are merely reminding them of the Judge's verdict.

Those who so often quote "Judge not lest you be judged..." far too often stop there and fail to finish the quote..."FOR THE MEASURE BY WHICH YOU JUDGE IS THE MEASURE BY WHICH YOU WILL BE JUDGED."

12:51 AM, July 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if gay marriage was legalized, that wouldn't make being gay right. Sex outside of marriage is only part of why it is wrong. God called homosexuality 'an abomination' in and of itself.

5:02 PM, July 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand how God can say such things as being gay is bad* and yet we hear that he acutally hung out with prositutes/tax collectors etc. He didn't seem to 'expel' these wicked people from among him and his disciples?

4:10 AM, July 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in answer to "i don't understand how god could say gay is bad because he 'hung out' with prositutes"--- if you will read the new testament and the life of Jesus you will find out that ANYONE with ANY SIN in their life came under conviction when they came into the presence of Jesus...even the Pharisees and High Priest. Although all did not repent, all knew what their sin was and felt the judgment of God...the same is true today. Every one who hears the truth knows in their heart that they need to repent and accept Jesus. Why else is their so much "Do not judge me" being spoken. We are already judged. However if we will rpent of our sin and turn away from them we will not receive justice but we will receive grace.

3:11 AM, July 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the one who asked how God can say being gay is bad---It is clearly written in the Bible--which is the true Word of God. He also spoke against prostitution and usery. The bottom line question is this--Are we going to follow God's will or not? There is no in between.

4:26 PM, July 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, I'm a regular church goer, and I certainly believe that some things are right and some are wrong.

But here's the thing. Nothing about interpreting the Bible is unambiguous. It's a loose collection of texts gathered over several hundreds of years and several cultures. It has places in it that demand as law that women sit in a tent while they menstruate!

Does that mean we shouldn't make any judgments based on the words we find there? Of course not. But it _does_ mean that we have to turn our brains on before we use it. We have to consider contexts and, more importantly, we have to use our own rationality as best we can. Do you honestly believe that God has randomly created a group of folks whose sexual preferences (usually from birth) doom them to hell? That seems unlikely.

But here's the thing. I'm quite happy to say "You know, I can't be quite sure. I trust God to do what makes sense." That way I don't have to spread condescending and often hateful nonsense about gays in the name of God, thereby smearing the idea of Christianity for people who actually think about there spirituality instead of having it handed to them.

If you're not willing to do the heavy mental lifting God requires of you, then you certainly need to "Judge not, lest ye be judged." That way, at least, you won't keep fouling up the real golden rule. I like the gay Christian's chances of living a life that God approves of more than I like yours. Luckily, he'll forgive us all.

9:18 PM, August 05, 2006  
Blogger Heather said...

It is my belief that Jesus died for ALL our sins and salvation. We as humans do not have the right to pick and chose who is saved or not. Judegement or bigotry against another is a truly human trait and has no place in our vocabulary if we truly believe Jesus is the Lord and Saviour. Gay or straight, Black or White, Jews, Christians, Muslims...Jesus came to save us all and he did not Judge. He loved. Can we say as much?

1:52 PM, August 16, 2006  
Blogger K.Geffert said...

Dear Heather,
The point of my post was about recognizing sin in our midst, not about discerning who is saved or not, because we all sin every day, even the saved. Righteous judgement, which is what we are called to, is not the same as bigotry. We are commanded to call sin a sin, and when it is present, we are to excise it so that it does not become a cancer within the Christian body (Corinthians, Hebrews). Furthermore, Jesus did indeed, judge. He judged the Pharisees when He called them hypocrites and "whitewashed tombs." He judged the adulterous woman and the man at the pool of Bethesda when He told them to "sin no more." And He commands us to judge sin--in the same passage as His famous "judge not" words. He told us to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing, and to recognize the unrighteous by their fruits (Matthew 7). Paul exhorts us to uphold one another "lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)" To let a believer continue in sin is heartless; the Bible is full of examples of believers who suffered for their sin even after they repented--King David is a good example of this. What the world can not understand is how drawing attention to sin in a Christian's life is ultimately, an act of love.

6:00 PM, August 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hagios, love and humility(!) are central themes of Christ's teachings. How can you reconcile them with making judgements? Judgement always precipitates condemnation, which is quickly followed by persecution.

Let him who is without sin cast the stone. We should concern ourselves with our own souls only--it's hard enough to make sure that we ourselves are still on the straight path, without arrogantly judging others. Part of that is teaching others--by example!--what they can do to earn salvation. Imitating Christ, we should love unconditionally and through this change the hearts of sinners. Then, and only then, permanent change in their actions would follow.

Put your trust in God. He will judge because he knows everything, unlike us.

4:31 PM, August 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:48 PM, August 26, 2006  
Anonymous Igor said...

Why die on the cross if forgiveness was the only purpose? Why not just forgive?

I don't believe it would be fair if that were the case. I think He came to our world to teach us a lesson--a lesson most of us still haven't learned. The path to the Kingdom is through Him, meaning that by being as much like him as we can, we are saved. His purpose here was to show us how to live--not to die, although that was the inevitable result.

12:35 AM, September 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a free gift to those that accept it. But you trample the blood of Christ, if try to live a sinful life and declare yourself to be a christian.
By sinful life, I mean unrepentant life. God will forgive sin if you ask. The problem is that if you glory in your sin, that is not being repentant. There are those who cannot control themselves and committ adultery. That would be wrong, but they could still be forgiven, if they asked. But if they lived in a constant adulterous lifestyle, and never repented, they wouldn't be forgiven. A christian wouldn't make his living by stealing. A prostitute would give up sexual immorality on becoming a christian. A homosexual upon becoming a christian should be willing to give up his sinful practices also. Sex is not everything! If the Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination, it really leaves nothing to be interpreted. It is an abomination. If you enjoy your life of sin then Christ's sacfifice means nothing to you. We should at least be trying to follow in His footsteps. And by the way, Christ did not "hang out" in the way we talk about it today. He brought sinful people the message of the kingdom, and they repented. He did not endorse their "lifestyle" choices. He told them to go and sin no more.

3:57 PM, September 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right. If you don't believe that homosexuality is sin, you can interpret away. But that leaves having other gods,taking God's name in vain,,forgetting the Sabbath, not honoring your father and mother,lying, stealing, murdering, bearing false witness, and coveting to interpret away. If you interpret it just right, maybe you won't have even have to repent. Just show up in the Kingdom and demand that God respect your interpretation.

4:07 PM, September 09, 2006  
Anonymous Bill said...

A comment above asked, "
. Do you honestly believe that God has randomly created a group of folks whose sexual preferences (usually from birth) doom them to hell? That seems unlikely."

Would you honestly believed that God has ramdomly created a group of
folks whose sexual preference is children? We are all inheriently sinful from birth, it does not matter what your particular sins are, either gay, and adulter, pediphile, murder, liar, etc...

While a Christian may struggle mightly with sin, declaring any particular sinful behavior as now "ok" since you have been that way from birth does not change sinful behavior to righteousness.

Only the power of the Holy Spirit can turn our hearts from sin, making it where we desire to do what is right instead of desiring what is evil. For those who struggle with this or any other sin, the only hope is to turn to God and asked him to deliver you from these sinful desires. For some deliverence from these desires sometimes come quickly and for others it may not. But either way, the desire does not make this behavior ok no more that it would make murder ok (just because I felt like it).

3:17 PM, September 15, 2006  
Anonymous Igor said...

The Bible is unambiguous about homosexuality. It's a sin. But the question is what we should do about it, as Christians. Persecute? Outlaw? Lynch them? Nonsense!

We should love them and serve them and sacrifice ourselves for them. As disciples of Christ, the best we can do is emulate him. That's what He would do.

9:57 PM, September 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was redirected to this site while searching for a story called "God's Great Water Heater". Is this story available? If so, where might I find a copy. This is for a Sunday School workshop for children in our church.
Thanks very much,
Angee Woody
Cherokee UMC
Johnson City, TN

8:47 PM, October 27, 2006  
Anonymous Matthew Barlow said...

In your blog you state that
"Jesus praised the church in Ephesus for not tolerating wicked men within their misdst." Do you mean Paul? If not please e-mail me with the scripture you are refering to. There wasn't a church per se, while Christ was still walking the earth. I may be ignorant of which scripture you are alluding to, but this sounds like yet another example of christians misquoting Jesus in favor of Paul. As a rule of thumb, if it is condemning, legalistic, self-righteous, and judgemental, it is coming from Paul's mouth...the exact opposite is true of Christ. This is why the early church used Paul's scriptures to justify the terrible injustices, killings, massacres, tortures, pillaging, persecution, etc...that has taken place for the last 2000 years. It is much easier to be a follower of Paul than it is to follow Jesus.
Please respond to treetitan@hotmail.com

9:04 AM, December 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep putting the truth out there, cuz these people really need it!! I'm only 19 and I can say that. You're either in or you're out according to God's standards so just get it right.

4:04 PM, March 01, 2007  
Anonymous Still Not Convinced said...

I see a lot of quoting - noted by the use of "" and statements about God and Jesus saying this or that. In the original blog posts, you quite often put the appropriate verses in parentheses relating to what you have just said. Not ONE of these comments has referred directly to where in the bible God is "unambiguous" about homosexuality. And please prove me wrong, but I didn't think Jesus said anything about it at all - "unambiguously." He says quite a bit about divorce though, doesn't he? And once you're divorced, you may feel repentant but you're... still divorced. Isn't that continually choosing to go against God's word? Don't start throwing examples at me - what about domestic abuse, what about adultery etc. That's not my point. Given the original post reference to homosexuality, and especially the resulting comments, you'd think homosexuality had it's own Book in the Bible somewhere. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, and Pat the Evil Gay Hairstylist.

4:15 AM, March 19, 2007  
Anonymous Ambiguously Confused said...

I especially like how an anonymous person in September seems to think that homosexuality is in the Ten Commandments specifically. He only lists the "other" nine... Actually he only lists eight. Lying and bearing false witness is the same thing. I'm guessing, then that he considers homosexuality to be adultery somehow (I do consider Brokeback marriages in that category, personally), or would that be worshipping a graven image?

4:31 AM, March 19, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that if you read the Bible it is hard not to see that homosexuality is wrong and something that scripture speaks against. With that said:

1. When it comes to behavior, Christians should first and formost be concerned with their own and other Christian's behavior, long before concerning themselves with the behavior of those not claiming a relationship with Christ.

It is only through that relationship that we have freedom over our sin. Why would we expect someone who does not know Christ to behave like a Christ follower. Lost people are going to act like lost people. It is our responsibility to reach out to them with the love of Christ to show them that there is a better way through a relationship with Christ. Through that relationship and Christian accountability the behavior issues can be dealt with.

2. Although homosexuality is a sin, it is only one of many sins that people commit every day.
I do not intend to make light of this sin, because it is very serious, However today's Christians seem to be placing a serious spotlight on this one particular sin, while allowing many others to go almost unnoticed. I am afraid that many times we do not show the love that Christ would have us to show and even go so far as to cross the line into hatred, which is forbidden by the same scriptures those who practice it use to justify their actions.
It saddens me when so called "Christians" march the streets with signs saying God hates f**s. This is not the message scripture gives to us. Although homosexuallity is a sin, we are also told that While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. God loved all of us so much that he sent his son to die for us.
Before he died, Jesus spent a lot of his time with people that everyone else despised and even hated. People sometimes talked bad about Jesus because of the company he sometimes kept, but it was worth it to him to reach out to those people who needed him most. He never said that their behavior was ok, but he did let them know that he loved them and cared about them. I think as a whole we as Christians, especially in the South have missed the boat on this one. We need to examine if what we are doing and saying is in line with the example that Jesus set, or if we are allowing our culture to affect how we deal with all types of sin. Would there be the same uproar at our church if a person who was living with their boyfriend or girlfriend came to visit our church as there would be if a homosexual couple came to visit? Would they be treated differently? I am afraid that they would and likely, dramatically so.

3 Judge not that ye be not judged, does not mean that we should stand by doing nothing and allowing our Christian brothers to behave in any way they like without confronting them about it.
However, I have not found the scriptures which call us to go to war against the unsaved homosexual community.

4. As far as a "Gay Christian" is concerned, I think it depends a little on what your definition is.
I believe that their are many Christians who are tempted by various forms of sin. I do not see why homosexuallity should be excluded. However, there is a difference between struggling with something you know to be sinful and trying to overcome it with God's and other Christians' help and proudly displaying your sin and daring anyone to tell you it is wrong because you have no intention of repenting. In the second case, I would find it hard to believe that someone who is unashamed of their sin and has no desire to repent could also call themselves a Christ follower.

The Bible speaks on many of these issues at various points in scripture. Below are only a few examples. My opinons matter very little if not backed by scripture.
If there are any areas of my post that you feel do not agree with scriptur, please let me know, I woul be happy to discuss them with you and where I read what led me to my conclusions.
I can be reached at


I Corinthians 6:9; 10

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Romans 1:26-27

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Luke 15:1-7

Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Luke 5:27-32
After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. "Follow me," Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

4:39 PM, May 06, 2007  
Anonymous Jim Baxter said...

...and there is a major difference between judge the act and/or condemn the person. We don't want the job of condemning, but evaluate any choice or behavior? YES!

All humans, earth's Choicemaker, evaluate something every moment of every waking hour. What is the need and function of criteria, God's Transcendent Criteria, if we do not use it to determine value and results prior to choosing?

Modern psychiatry, claiming to be a 'science,' attempts to dissuade judgement and throws out character and value in humans in the process.

Judge value or its lack by God's Transcendent CRITERIA! Remember, no one is smarterthan their criteria. Joel 3:|14 Psalm 25:12 kjv

11:05 AM, February 26, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all are freaks...no wonder so many people choose not to be part of a religion....they appear to be more judged there than in the outside world..shame on all of you who think that you have the right to make such comments..pull your heads out of your 'god-given' buts, and be good people..believe, me, the God that I worship, would be proud.

6:47 PM, March 23, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me guess, you are all inbred things from middle america somewhere?

6:49 PM, March 23, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your your article to be a good one. Thank you.

11:24 AM, June 26, 2009  

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