Followers of Maria Divine Mercy like to remind us what the Bible teaches about passing judgement: "Stop judging, that you may not be judged." (Mt 7: 1). They wrongly assume that all of us are to accept blindly her teaching for she allegedly is the chosen Prophet of the End Times.Indeed the Bible teaches us that we should not pass judgement on other people. We do not have insight into another person's heart and we do not know what motives lie beneath their actions. However, God wants us to judge between truth and error and between good and evil. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we also have responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so or by protecting evil-doers. (CCC 1868)
Let us examine what Sacred Scriptures really say about judging the teaching of others like that of Maria Divine Mercy1) Jesus rebuked those who follow false prophets: (Rev. 2: 20-23):
To the Church of Thyatira: "Yet I hold this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, who teaches and misleads my servants to play the harlot and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent but she refuses to repent of her harlotry. So I will cast her on a sickbed and plunge those who commit adultery with her into intense suffering unless they repent of her works. I will also put her children to death. Thus shall all the churches come to know that I am the searcher of hearts and minds and that I will give each of you what your works deserve.
2) We are told to rebuke and correct: (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 4:2-4)
Paul wrote that all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction and for training in righteousness, so that you who belong to God may be competent, equipped for every good work. Proclaim the word: be persistent whether it is convenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.3) We are to keep away from people who are teaching false doctrine:
(2Thess: 3:6) "We instruct you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us".
(Titus 3:10-11) "After a first and second warning, break off contact with heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned."
(Roman 16:17) "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles, in opposition to the teaching that you learned; avoid them".
(Matthew 16; 6,12) 'Jesus said to them, 'Look out, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees'. then they understood that he was not telling them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.4) God expect us to judge.Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:15 "The spiritual person, however, can judge everything but is not subject to judgment by anyone". Judging is not a sin: judging is a characteristic of being a spiritual person. Satan has been lying to us, hoping that we will not judge, because he knows that the right kind of judgment pleases God, and makes our lives and Christian service better.5) There is a righteous kind of judgment we are supposed to exercise with careful discernment (John 7:24) "Stop judging by appearance, but judge justly". When Jesus told us not to judge (Matthew 7:1), He was telling us not to judge hypocritically (Matthew 7:2-5).6) Those who teach a false doctrine are already condemned.Galatians 1:8 "But even if we or angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let that one be accursed!
Matthew chapter 7 - the same chapter that teaches us not to judge other people also warns us against false prophets.
- Jesus expects us to exercise judgment here, because He knows there will be false prophets and teachers who will come in His name, who will appear to be good and innocent on the outside, but who will eventually lead the faithful astray and exploit them. But Jesus does not leave us defenseless. He warns us against false prophets and tells us how we can know them - and we shall know them by their fruits - telling whether the fruits are good or bad will necessarily involve exercising judgement.
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them. (Mt 7: 15-20)