For quite awhile, the word “judge” has been haunting me. As a person who believes the whole Bible, I’ve been disturbed by the fact that the Bible seems to contradict itself in places when we are told not to judge, yet it seems clear that we must exercise judgement to understand anything, doesn’t it? And, we are told to “judge rightly.” (John 7:24) So, how can we judge rightly if we aren’t allowed to judge? I felt confident that there was a logical answer but it bothered me that I didn’t know what it was.
Probably the smart thing to do would have been to ask someone knowledgeable (like a pastor who went to seminary or something) but I didn’t. I just got real worried that people were hearing “don’t judge” like there is no right or wrong. And they were calling other people judgemental and I’m over here thinking, “aren’t you judging someone if you say they are judging someone?” Or, are we judging child molesters by saying they are wrong to molest children? Yes, we are but that seems okay to people. So. You can understand why I was a lil mixed up.
Thankfully, the Lord led me to find my answer.
Without making this post five days long, I want to just summarize my findings but feel free to ask for clarification if I make it too succint.
Okay, turns out, different Greek words were used for places that were translated as “judge.”
- One word, “krino” means to judge in a judicial sense. (used in Matt 7:1-2 and James 4:12, for example) It is a word that describes judging in a condemning way. We are commanded not to condemn others (to assume they are going to hell or to be unforgiving) or to judge their hearts and minds.
- Another version of the word, “diakrino,” means to discriminate or make a determination. It is used in 1 Cor 6:5 and 1 Cor 14:29, for example.
- Another version is “anakrino,” which means to examine, investigate and “sift.” I like that it said “sift” and I think gives an accurate picture of how we should go through each issue deciding what is what, based on the Bible. It’s used in 1 Cor 2:15 and Acts 17:11, for example.
So. There ya have it. We are actually called to judge between right and wrong without condemning people and now I have some proof. I sure did feel better when I found this information, so I hope it will help someone else, too.
Here is my usual disclaimer: I am not a Bible teacher, scholar or theologian. I am a person who has access to Google. So, you can agree with me or not and I am open to hearing your thoughts. In fact, I have published posts before that now, looking back, I can see that I did not have the whole picture and I am wondering why none of my more knowledgeable friends pointed out my errors. By errors, I mean I read a part of the Bible and took it to mean one thing before considering it in context or understanding other relevant verses. So, if you are thinking that you can see I’m trying but you know something about the Bible that I have missed, please tell me! I won’t get mad.