Billy Graham on What Jesus Really Means When He Says 'Do Not Judge'

The Rev. Billy Graham
Evangelist Billy Graham speaks during the final day of his Crusade at Flushing Meadows Park in New York June 26, 2005. Graham, 86, has preached the Gospel to more people in a live audience format than anyone in history - over 210 million people in more than 185 countries. His followers believe that the New York Crusade which runs from June 24 to 26 will be his last live appearance. |

When Jesus said people shouldn't judge, he wasn't telling them not to denounce wrong behavior, says world renowned evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham.

Recently, Graham was asked why Jesus told people not to judge, such as in Luke 6:37, where He said: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned."

"I don't think it's up to us to judge who is religious and who isn't. I have my own beliefs, and I get upset when someone tries to question me about them or make me believe the same way they do. Didn't Jesus say somewhere that we shouldn't judge others?" the person asked in a Q&A submitted to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website.

While Graham explained that "only God has the right" to judge, this doesn't exclude Christians from pointing out wrongdoing.

"This doesn't mean, however, that we're supposed to be indifferent to right or wrong, or be unaware of the dangers that come from immoral decisions or false beliefs. Nor does it mean we should overlook our own sins," wrote Graham.

"In fact, later in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus urges us to judge between true and false ways of living (which we do by seeing their results). He also commands us to be judges of our own sins — which may be far greater than those we see in others."

Graham told the person that he can't help but wonder "why you don't want anyone to challenge your beliefs or even talk with you about them."

"Only you can answer this, of course — but is it because deep down in your heart and mind you're unsure of your beliefs and doubt if you're actually right?" Graham asked.

"But you can be sure, by turning to Jesus Christ and committing your life to Him. He came into the world to give us the greatest gift of all — the gift of eternal life. Don't let pride or anything else keep you from Christ."

This is not the first time that Graham has answered a person's question regarding the applicability of Jesus' statements on being judgemental.

In 2004, another person queried Graham asking how "can we say that someone is sinning, if Jesus said we are not supposed to judge others?"

That question centered on Matthew 7, in which Jesus said: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." Graham responded with another verse in that chapter, wherein Jesus added: "first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

"Jesus was saying that we should not seek to correct a person when we are guilty of the same or another offense," replied Graham.

"We need to deal with our own sin, and then we can help someone else. He never intended that His disciples should set aside all exercise of discernment or judgment."

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