Satan is no stranger to Scripture. If I were a betting man, I'd be willing to wager that he can probably quote it in both the King James and ESV, whichever is most handy for him at the moment. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the devil had no trouble twisting Scripture to try and cause Jesus to stumble (Matthew 4:1-11). The devil is still in the business of distorting Scripture, and I think that he may have a favorite verse.
How many times, I wonder, have you read an article, overheard a conversation, where the "shut down" argument employed by one party is "judge not that ye be not judged" follow with the obligatory "That's what Jesus said, you know. You have no right to judge me!!!" That, my friends, seems to be the devil's favorite argument in these silly, sinful days in which we live.
The strategy is that anytime a Christian speaks about sin, calls sin sin, or implies that something is sin, it should be immediately hooted down with "you shall not judge, Jesus said so!" and then they should be shamed for daring to speak up about 'morality'. What's sad is that it seems to work more often than not, and that is why this strategy is a personal pet peeve.
Here is the full quote that is being hacked to death and twisted by Satan in such exchanges:
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and t with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but u do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye (Matt. 7:1-5).
Here is Jesus' point: whatever you judge as sinful, if indeed it is sinful, know that you are also going to incur the same judgement! So, before you go popping off about the wickedness of others, just know that you are a sinful person as well, which means you are in as desperate need of Jesus as the guy/girl you are talking to.
This point does not, in any way, forbid a Christian from judging. It is meant to keep us humble in judgement and to keep us from being arrogant in judgement and to keep us from being graceless in judgement. That, dear reader, is the point.
For example, if I have a friend who is in sexual immorality, before I go and confront them for being perverted, I need to confess to God that I also have a perverted heart. I need to seek forgiveness for the same weakeness I have spotted in my brother or sister. I need Jesus to be my savior from perversion. Armed with this attitude, I am now able to seek my brother's well-being by confronting him about his soul-damning practices.
So, if the devil parrots this silly argument around you again, arm yourselves with humility and explain the passage that they just quote. They will be surprised that you know where the quote came from, they most likely won't. And, they will probably listen to you.
May God help us to be good, gracious, gospel-speaking judges who point out sin that Christ might kill it.
Occassionally, I write a story based on a particular passage I am thinking about. Here's one I did today. I hope you find it edifying.
I call it "Sleepy Jesus".
Look to the hill by the sea. The crowds are coming and desperate. Some are cradling sick children, carrying crippled loved ones, all of them with broken hearts. Can you see the mother with the dying child? Can you see the cloud of death over them? Can you feel her agony as sin’s curse hovers so near? He sees. He feels. He touches. He heals.
Each one healed goes away rejoicing, but he remains. They surge around him like waves. Help my baby. Help my child. Help my mother. Help my son. Help my husband. Help my brother. “If you are willing, you can make me whole!” He is willing. They are made whole. But death and rot infects everything here. There is no end of need and he must carry them all.
He teaches them. He tells them of the Kingdom of God. The press close and he goes out to sea so that they may hear. He wants to heal their hearts. He wants them to listen and live. He teaches from morning till night.
He decides to cross the sea. Sleepy, he lies on the deck of the boat. Images of hurting faces and sin-sick people fill his thoughts. Their burdens are great, and he must carry them all.
They are sinking down. Death draws them into his long embrace and robs them of joy and dreams and love. They are drowning in despair. They are sinking. They are sinking.
Lord, do you not care that we are perishing?! He wakes from dreams with a start. The boat is rocking. The men are frightened. The waves are great and the storm is strong. Peace! Be Still! He commands, and the storm ceases. The proud waves bow and rock no more. Of course he cares that we are perishing. Shouldn't they know that by now?
I am a pastor serving in my hometown of Albertville, Alabama. The greatest evidence of God's grace in my life are my wife, son, and daughter. One look at me and then my wife will tell you that her "yes" was a modern day miracle. Otherwise, I am almost completely mundane.