Judgment: It’s Tricky

John D. Barry

Ezekiel 19:1–20:49; Revelation 9:1–21; Job 34:31–37

Judgment is both a curse and a blessing. If you judge others, you might be judged yourself—especially if you judge them incorrectly. Yet if you know how to judge right from wrong, you can discern truth from fiction. Although judgment can be a wretched thing, there is a time for it: When God has confirmed something in your heart, and the Bible verifies your view, you must stand up for it. When Jesus tells us not to judge, He is not declaring that we should be passive (see Matt 7:1–6; see also Matt 7:15–23, where He condemns false prophets and false followers). Instead, Jesus is saying that we should be careful about what we say and do, for we could be the one at fault.

Ezekiel also deals with the very fine line of judgment. Yahweh says to him, “Will you judge them? Will you judge them, son of man?” (Ezek 20:4). This question implies the very point Jesus makes: Is Ezekiel capable of dealing out judgment? Certainly not, but with the power of Yahweh, he can speak the truth. Yahweh goes on, “Make known to them the detestable things of their ancestors” (Ezek 20:4). He follows this with a commentary on “the detestable things” accompanied by a comparison to how Yahweh has treated His people despite their disobedience (Ezek 20:5–8).

Judgment is tricky, but fear of “getting it wrong” should not keep us quiet in the midst of misdeeds and misconduct. Instead, we must speak up—let’s just be sure that we first pray and examine our thoughts in light of the Bible.

What have you previously been quiet about that you should speak up against?

This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.

John D. Barry is the CEO and founder of Jesus’ Economy, a nonprofit dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. To empower the extreme poor, Jesus’ Economy also has an online fair trade shop. John is also the general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and the former editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. Learn more about John’s work with Jesus’ Economy at www.jesuseconomy.org.