Judge Not

Abraham_Lincoln_by_Alexander_Helser,_1860-cropAfter clarifying his belief that the God of the Bible disapproves of the practice of human slavery, Lincoln urges, “but let us judge not, that we be not judged.” He alludes here to one of the most referred to and perhaps least understood verses in the entire Bible, MATTHEW 7:1. The rest of chapter 7 explains that to “judge not” does NOT mean not to refrain from ever making any judgments concerning another person as Jesus tells us in MATTHEW 7:15-16 to “Beware of false prophets” and that we “will know them by their fruits,” which requires us to make judgments about the behavior of others. Too, in JOHN 7:24, Jesus commands, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment,” which does NOT contradict his command in MATTHEW 7:1, but complements it, explaining that it is wise to be discerning, judging the right way instead of the wrong way.

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