Making Just Judgements

A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

Toronto, August 10, 2008


Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (MAT 7:1,2)

Does it make sense to “Judge not?”

SS 51:5 The Lord says, Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgement ye judge ye shall be judged (Matt. vii. 1, 2; Luke vi. 37). Without doctrine this might be cited to confirm the notion that it is not to be said of what is evil that it is evil, thus that an evil person is not to be judged to be evil; yet according to doctrine it is lawful to judge, but justly; for the Lord says, Judge righteous judgment (John vii. 24).

Could human society function without making judgements?

Who benefits if we do not judge?

Those who are in evil!

Are we being “Judgmental” or are we calling evil “evil”?

Judge BEHAVIOUR not internal states

What you DID was wrong

NOT you are bad!

Such a distinction applies especially to children

They may do wicked things — even kill

But until the age of rationality, they are not held spiritually accountable for them

While a person lives in the natural world, his eternal fate is undetermined.

Because while he yet lives, he makes choices

Those choices, made in freedom, modify the vessel of life

The Lord’s life is received according to the structure of the vessel. Therefore the quality of the life changes from moment to moment. The organic changes only cease once the person finally and completely leaves the natural body. Then, the character is fixed, and the Lord can begin the process of revealing the true character by removing those things which do not belong to it through instruction, and vastations.

How do you make judgements?

The angels in heaven are able to make judgements about particular acts, although they cannot make any judgements about the eventual lot of the individual.

CL 453: I have met many who in the world had lived outwardly like others, dressing finely, faring sumptuously, doing business for gain like other men, attending dramatic performances, joking about amatory matters as if from lust, besides other like things; yet in some, the angels condemned these things as evils of sin, and in some they did not account them as evils; and the latter they declared guiltless, and the former guilty. To the question why they did so, when yet the men had done the same things, they answered that they view all men from their purpose, intention or end, and make distinctions accordingly; thus, that those whom the end excuses or condemns, they excuse or condemn, for all in heaven have good as an end, and all in hell have evil as an end; and that this and nothing else is meant by the Lord’s words, Judge not that ye be not condemned (MAT 7:1)

We may THINK that we know another’s purpose or intent — but we are usually wrong. What we usually do is put our own feelings and opinions in the mouths of others, and we view their actions on the basis of how they affect us, not on whether they are consistent with the other’s character, or if they are useful to society at large. We really believe that the universe revolves around us and our own needs.

Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (MAT 7:20) Those we don’t know well we have to judge from their public behaviour, but private behaviour is a much better indicator. That is how we are to examine ourselves — to see what kinds of things we think and do when we are by ourselves and not worried about what others might think.

HH 471: That man will be judged and rewarded according to his deeds and works is declared in many passages in the Word, some of which I will here quote:-

I will give to every one according to his works (REV 2:23)

I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God; and the books were opened and the dead were judged out of the things that were written in the books according to their works. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and hell gave up those that were in them, and they were judged every one according to their works (REV 20:12,13).

Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens; but he that does the will of My Father who is in the heavens (MAT 7:21).

In foretelling the last judgement the Lord recounts nothing but works, teaching that those that have done good works will enter into eternal life, and those that have done evil works will enter into damnation. It is clear that works and deeds constitute the outward life of man, and that the quality of his inward life is made evident in them – But with the humble acknowledgement that you could be wrong.

Judgements are absolutely essential

The hells want to prevent us from judging and identifying them

By permitting evil we show our love for it, not the person

But when we judge we must judge justly, limiting ourselves to an opinion about their behaviour in the world.

What is not lawful, is judgment as to the quality of the interior mind or soul within man, thus as to what his spiritual state is and hence his lot after death. This is known to the Lord only; nor does the Lord reveal it until after death, and this in order that what a man does he may do from freedom, and that thereby good or evil may be from him and so in him, and he thus live for himself and be himself forever. A general judgment such as: If in internals you are what you appear to be in externals you will be saved or condemned, is allowed; but a particular judgment such as, You are such in internals and therefore will be saved or condemned, is not allowed. It is judgment of man’s spiritual life or of the internal life of his soul that is meant by the imputation here treated of. What man knows who is a whoremonger at heart? and who a consort at heart? Yet it is the thoughts of the heart, being the purposes of the will, that judge every man. (CL 523) AMEN.


First Lesson: EXO 2:11-14

(EXO 2:11-14) Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. {12} So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. {13} And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your companion?” {14} Then he said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” So Moses feared and said, “Surely this thing is known!”

Second Lesson: AE 629:13, 14

[13] “To mete” and “to measure” signifies to define and determine what a thing is, also to explore it, because ” measure” signifies what a thing is, or quality.

That this is the signification of “measure” can be seen from the following passages. In Matthew:- Judge not that ye be not condemned, for with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye measure it shall be measured to you (vii. 1,2).

In Luke :- Judge not that ye be not judged; condemn not that ye be not condemned; remit and it shall be remitted to you; give and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall they give into your bosom; for with what measure ye measure they shall measure to you again (vi. 37, 38).

This may be seen explained in the work on Heaven and Hell (n.349).

And in Mark:- With what measure ye measure it shall be measured to you again; and to you that hear, more shall be added. Whosoever hath, to him shall be given; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath (iv. 24, 25).

[14] Thus charity towards the neighbor, or the spiritual affection of truth and good, is described, namely, that in the measure and after the manner that any one is in such charity or in such affection in the world, so he comes into it after death.

That we should not think evil of good and truth is meant by the words, “Judge not that ye be not judged, and condemn not that ye be not condemned;” to think evil of what is evil and false is permitted to every one, but not of good and truth, for these in the spiritual sense are the neighbor.

Because it is charity toward the neighbor that is meant it is added, “Remit and it shall be remitted to you, give and it shall be given unto you.”

That the spiritual affection, which is called charity, will continue after death according to its measure and quality, is meant by “With what measure ye measure it shall be measured to you again;” and that this measure and quality will be infilled to eternity is meant by “to you that hear a measure shall be added,” also by “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall be given into your bosom,” “measure” here meaning the measure and quality of affection or charity, which will be increased to eternity within or according to its degree in the world (see as above in the work on Heaven and Hell, n. 349).

That this will come to pass with those who practice charity is meant by “to you that hear more shall be added,” “those that hear” signifying those who obey and do. That “to love the neighbor” is to love what is true and good, likewise what is sincere and just, may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 84-106). That no other thought or judgment is here meant than concerning the spiritual life of another can be seen from this, that it is permissible to every one to think about the moral and civil life of another, and to judge of it; without such thought and judgment concerning others no civil society could subsist; therefore “not to judge and condemn” signifies not to think evil of the neighbor spiritually understood, that is, of his faith and love, which belong to man’s spiritual life, for these lie concealed in his interiors, and therefore are unknown to anyone except the Lord alone. Amen.


Copyright © 1982 – 2008 General Church of the New Jerusalem.
Page constructed by James P. Cooper
Page last modified September 27, 2009

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