"But test all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21 EMTV)
There is a difference between making a decision and making judgment.
- A decision is to choose between two preferences. Do I eat ham and eggs or biscuits and gravy?
- A judgment deals with a standard; is it met or not? The speed limit is 25. I am driving at 45. Am I right or wrong? The standard is 25, so the decision would be that I did not meet the standard. This is judgment.
If we are to decide or judge something, it depends if there is a standard?
The word for "judge" is krinō. This means to make a formal decision according to an established standard. It is usually used in the official sense of law.
The word for "test" is dokimazo. This means to test something against a standard. An example would be "And another said, 'I bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you, have me excused." (Luke 14:19 EMTV). This person who has bought five yoke of oxen has a criteria of what he wishes for oxen. He is going to test drive them to see if they meet that criteria. When we test all things, we have a criteria, too. It is the Bible—the things that Jesus and the Apostles taught us.
The judging idea of Matthew 7:1 refers to a standard. What standard do we use? If we use the standard of the Bible and understand what a person is doing or not doing, then we can and must (according to 1 Thessalonians 5:21) come to a decision if it is right or wrong.
The example that Jesus gives in Matthew 7 is a person is judging another person according to a standard and condemn them, but the judge does NOT judge themselves by that same standard. Two different standards are being used. One standard to condemn another person, and one standard to excuse another. This is why Jesus condemns this type of judgment. There is to be only one standard—the Bible in its plain, normal sense.
Some things that we can judge.
- Worshipping false gods
- There is only one God—Yahweh
- All other gods are either manmade or demonic
- The most usual is ourselves. We decide which is best or most comfortable and worship that
- One can say Jesus Christ reverently, which is OK, or say it as a curse word, which is wrong.
- Be sarcastic, etc.
- Cursing mother or father
- This could be considered any type of abuse.
- It could be taking advantage, manipulating, our parents.
- This could be taking the life of another human willfully as in
- Hate. Jesus considered hate to be wrong as in "But I say to you that whoever gets angry with his brother without cause will be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Empty-head!' will be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ' fool!' will be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:22 EMTV)
- This could be physical.
- This could be mental. Matthew 5:28
- This could be taking what is not ours.
- Some examples could be objects, time, affection, waste, etc.
- Not telling truth when asked as in a criminal case.
- A "white" lie.
- This is envy.
- Some examples would be
- I want Joe's farm. 1 Kings 21:1-4, 1 Kings 21:15-16
- I want Joe's wife. 2 Samuel 11:1-4
- I want Joe's money.