I have been asked questions regarding “judging” and “jury duty” by Christians for years. The following is what I found that the Scriptures say about judging and how that might also apply to Christians serving on a jury.
The concept of requiring people to judge others is a concept beginning early in the Scriptures. This is by no means an exhaustive study on the topic, but here are a few examples for you to consider:
Leviticus 19:15-16 says “‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.”
Numbers 35:24 “…then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood according to these judgments.”
Then in Deuteronomy, the LORD established the official position of Judges to hear matters and make righteous judgments. This did not negate the responsibility for people to also exercise righteous judgment however, and was eventually used by the Founders of this nation in establishing the Judicial System that we have today.
One of the most misinterpreted portions of Scripture today regarding the concept of Christians judging is found in Matthew 7:1-2. It reads: “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Many have interpreted this to say that we NEVER should judge anyone. But let’s look at the context here and see if that is a correct interpretation. Since we have the verses above from Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy establishing that GOD, did in fact require folks to judge others, and that JESUS came, not to “destroy the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill it”, then we must understand that JESUS would not have done anything that would have broken, added to, subtracted from, etc. the Law. So JESUS cannot be teaching something here that is at odds with what has been established in the Law as found in the first five books of the bible. So, what is HE saying? Again, the context suggests that JESUS is teaching exactly HOW we are to judge when we have to make judgments; according to “righteousness”, or according to HIS Word, HIS Truth, by first judging ourselves and then being able to make righteous judgment.
Verses 3-5 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
In fact, if you consider the remainder of the chapter, JESUS proceeds to call on HIS disciples to exercise judgment between:
Verse 6 “dogs…swine”.
Verse 15 “false prophets” and true prophets.
Verse 23 “lawlessness” and righteousness.
Verses 24-27 “the wise…the foolish..”
And the Apostle Paul confirmed this concept in his letter to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 5:12 when he was admonishing the believers to make a righteous judgment and expel an immoral person out of their midst until he repents. “For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
So you see it’s a given that we will be in circumstances that will require us to make a judgment. In those circumstances the Scriptures call for us to be able to make a righteous and truthful judgment. After all, if we judge in righteousness and truth, then when we are judged, we will be judged by the same standard… Would you want it any other way?