Judge Righteous Judgment

Judge Righteous Judgment

Jesus warned the people: "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24). This was the warning found in their law: "Then I charged your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your fellow countrymen, and judge righteously between a man and his fellow countryman, or the alien who is with him. ‘You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not fear man, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it" (Deut. 1:16–17). The proverb writer declared: "He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him" (Prov. 18:13).

In spite of such warnings, people still judged out of prejudice instead of judging righteously. Such prejudging caused the Jewish leaders throughout the Old Testament period to pervert judgment with known falsehoods.

We find it also a problem for the people in Jesus' time. When Philip told his brother: "“We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph”; Nathanael responded: "can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:45-46).

The seventh chapter of John contains several examples of such perverted judgment. It appears that even His brothers were not exempt from such prejudice as John simply states: "For not even his brothers believed in him" (7:5).

Having decided to get rid of Jesus, the Pharisees sent their 'officers' to arrest Him. When they returned empty handed and praising Jesus, they were chided: "have any of the Pharisees believed in him" (7:48). Righteous judgment doesn't come by being part of the establishment or the current 'in crowd'.  They continued: "these that know not the law are cursed" (7:49). Righteous judgment doesn't come simply from attaining a certain level of education.

Nicodemus called them on this! "Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?" They responded in prejudice: '"are you a Galilean too!'" (7:51)

In chapter 9, when the x-blind man argued them into a corner, they responded: "You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out" (9:34).

They persisted in their prejudice, even hiring false witnesses to testify against Jesus and salve their consciences concerning putting Him to death.

Such is the result of prejudice. Nationality, race, education, wealth, position, popularity, or friendship: ALL of these often become the basis of prejudice and unrighteous judgment. Of course, YOU wouldn't make the mistake of thinking that all educated people are dishonest and incapable of discerning truth, would you? 

Hugh DeLong


* Study further on this:

Deuteronomy 16:18–19 ““You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. “You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.”

Psalms 58:1–2 “Do you indeed speak righteousness, O gods? Do you judge uprightly, O sons of men? No, in heart you work unrighteousness; On earth you weigh out the violence of your hands.”

Psalms 82:2 “How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Selah.”

Psalms 94:20–21 “Can a throne of destruction be allied with You, One which devises mischief by decree? They band themselves together against the life of the righteous And condemn the innocent to death.”

Proverbs 17:15 “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.”

Proverbs 24:23 “These also are sayings of the wise. To show partiality in judgment is not good.”

Isaiah 5:23 “Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away the rights of the ones who are in the right!”

Isaiah 11:3–4 “And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.”

James 2:1 “My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.”

James 2:4 “have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?”

James 2:9 “But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”