Teaching Our Children to Judge
Does the notion of teaching children to judge make you nervous? Does it seem wrong? Aren’t we suppose to love one another, not judge one another?
The world tells kids (and adults) not to judge because judging equals intolerance. In an effort to bolster the argument, some may even point out that Jesus said we shouldn’t judge each other.
Such reasoning sounds good, right?
We MUST teach our children to judge if we hope to prepare them to one day stand firm in their faith.
The irony of the world using Matthew 7:1 (the “judge not” verse) as support for tolerance – more precisely a Christian’s tolerance of sin – is that the world doesn’t actually believe in the validity of the Bible (except when it’s convenient).
In context, Matthew 7:1-5 warns against hypocritical and condemning judgment. In the verses following the “judge not” excerpt, Jesus tells us to first judge ourselves and remove the plank from our own eye. But He does not stop there, He says after removing our plank, we can then better tend to the speck in our brother’s (or sister’s) eye. Notice He does not tell us to pretend the speck in our brother’s eye doesn’t exist.
The point of this passage is not to forbid judging. On the contrary, it encourages judgment that is grace-filled and humble, a love-filled judgment that brings a fellow believer into right standing before God. We walk beside the person because we too struggle with our own sin. We judge not by our own authority, but by the Authority that will one day judge us all.
Webster’s defines judging as “forming an opinion through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises.” By that definition, I want my children to judge and judge often!
If we don’t equip our kids with the Truth, they will fall prey to the enemy’s deceit. The best weapon of the enemy is ignorance – specifically, ignorance of the Bible. In 2013, The Barna Group conducted a survey revealing that although nearly 90% of Americans own a Bible, only 26% read it regularly. That number is much lower among young people.
So are we called to judge?
Jesus says in John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Jesus clearly tells us to judge…but only by righteousness.
How do we teach our children to judge righteously?
When we judge by our own power or opinion it is called self-righteousness. When we judge according to the Word of God it is righteous judgment. Therefore, we need to teach the Bible to our children so they can judge according to His truth, not their own.
The goal is to teach our children to judge sin, not the sinful person. We can’t send our kids into the world telling them to use good judgment if we haven’t taught them how to judge appropriately.
The only way our children will stand strong against the lies of this world is if they have a solid foundation on which to stand. Will they waiver? Will they sway? Maybe. But it is our responsibility to teach them the truth of God’s Word so they recognize a lie when one comes their way.
If we do not reverse the downward trend of young people reading the Bible regularly, we will lose a generation. And if we lose this generation, what hope is there for the generations that follow?
Yes. Teach your children to judge by the righteousness of God’s word, but remind them to use that “hammer” (Jeremiah 23:29) first on themselves so that they may be humble witnesses of God’s grace in their own lives.
A much needed well balanced Biblical teaching on this often distorted subject. Thank you!
Thank you for your kind words. I agree that the enemy loves to distort the truth. Which is why we must keep the Bible at the center of our families. Thanks again for your comment!
Yes! You have expressed my thoughts perfectly!! We are in a world where no absolutes is now the normal belief system, and that’s scary.
Christine, thank you for the encouraging words. We certainly live in a time where absolute truth is viewed as ignorance. Keep the faith!
Yes, I’m so tired of hearing “you can’t judge me” and the twisting of Scripture to support that view – I recently shared some thoughts about DWTS (which I haven’t watched, but have read articles and seen clips) and was told I’m judging – UGH so over it.
As God’s children we will always be strangers in this world which is why we should heed Ephesians 6:11. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Of course we need to use judgement. We use judgement to determine where we serve, who is around our kids, what kind of decisions we’ll make for our family – it’s irresponsible of us to NOT use judgement. Condemnation, however, is not what we are to use. I think people confuse judgement and condemnation. I can make a judgement about the actions others take and the words they speak, but I cannot condemn them.
Kelley, so true. God’s word is clear that we are not suppose to condemn others. Thank you for your comments.
Fantastic distinction, Kelley.
This is the best thing I’ve read all evening. We judge people based on their behavior, but condemning them for that behavior is not our right. We are not God, and do not get hurt others by trying to assert our own views or create superiority. It’s 100 %acceptable for people to interpret the Bible differently. Everyone interprets it in their own way, and although you may not agree with their interpetation, does not make yours correct or theirs incorrect.
God said in Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” So, I don’t intent to send my children into a judgmental word without teaching them to judge between wrong and right or to know when others are judging them.
Thank you Mr. Owens for sharing so boldly what God as place on your heart.
Peace to you.
Thank you Elissa. I agree that the world is not a place we should send our children unprepared. They need to be armed with the Word of God. God bless.
Nice try……you missed it…..completely…..
You err because you do not know scripture and you deny its power. And you are taking so many people to hell with you….including the “unsaved”. I can’t even begin to respond to this. The damage that has been done to the church of Jesus Christ and to this country by people making God in their own image having NOTHING to do with being Christ centered. There is a difference between discernment and judging…..when you teach our children the word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ…you would understand the difference and you would understand what Jesus was saying.
Remember the woman caught in adultery? Oh how the church people “judged” her and brought her to Jesus to see her just due…..and yet the only one with the right to judge her to call her out on her sin and shame her condemn her and call for her just punishment (but yet they couldn’t see clear enough to “judge” the man also..after all…she was “caught” in the act….she wasn’t alone). Not only did Jesus not condemn her…notice He also did not call on them to “judge” the man either. He simply said okay…yeah…you “judged” this woman’s sin….so….the one of you that is without sin can carry out the punishment. Jesus acknowledge that this woman sinned but did not judge her…but lovingly said go your way…but do not sin again. He didn’t condone….but neither did the great judge condemn. And this instance only underscores what Jesus was talking about when he gave his sermon on the mount and talked about not judging…and the speck vs the beam.
Well meaning and sincere…..but so very deceived and deceiving….and discouraging so many people.
For a long time I read prophecy wondering how in the world could the church be persecuted and deceived? It never occurred to me that it would be from within…
Thank you for this article!! I think that so often, we are taught “not to judge” which, as Christians in this world, becomes confusing. We are often accused of judging, leaving us perplexed as to how to reach others without appearing judgemental or having the right feedback to that accusation. This article was incredibly helpful to me, and I will be re-reading it often. God bless!
Thank you for the article. It goes right along with the difference between acceptance and agreement. It seems people will holler “You don’t accept me!” if I do not agree with them about various issues. Which then leads them to jump to “You don’t love me!” beacause they feel I haven’t accepted them. In actuality I have loved and accepted them all along, just differed in agreement. Unfortunately, they lump it altogether.
I like being reminded of the difference between judging and condemning and the importance of teaching my children it. Thanks!
Thanks for posting this! So true and a message that needs to be passed on to ALL!
Another excellent, practical, Biblically sound article.
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