You probably have heard people saying, “You can’t judge me. Who are you to judge?” This leads us to the question, “Is it wrong to judge?”
In our modern and secular society, the word “judge” has a negative connotation. Most people think that judging is the same as condemning. However, is this what the Bible really tell us? After all, as Christians and humans, we always judge things, from what to wear to what course to take in college.
Most Christians are quick to point out the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:1 where we read, “Judge not that you be not judged.”
Before you answer that, it is worth noting that an entire book in the Bible was named Judges. Even the term judge in the King James Version is mentioned over 550 times! Judgment is obviously a big topic for God. Moreover, we also find Jesus saying, “Judge not according to the appearance but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
For this reason, we need to take a second look at what Jesus really meant when He said not to judge.
The problem with some people is that they immediately stop right there in Matthew 7:1, not reading the whole context of the verse.
If you continue reading Matthew 7, we will get the broader idea of Christ’s message.
“For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
From this verse, Jesus is telling us the reason of His statement. The first statement does mean that we should never judge other people, but rather He is teaching us the proper way to judge.
In this post, I want to share with you 3 important lessons you need to know about judging.
Lesson number 1: judge yourself first
Before we judge others, it is important that we first judge ourselves. Matthew 7 further tells us:
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, FIRST take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Speck here is translated from the Greek word “Karphos” which means a twig. This verse is implying that we are too quick in finding fault with others that we forget to look at ourselves. You see the twig on your brother’s eye, while you cannot see the beam in your own eye. We are too concerned with other people’s fault and sin that we tend to ignore our own sin, which is greater in comparison.
How many times are we like that? We judge other people without judging ourselves first? We look around and say, “Look at that sinner! Thankfully, I am not like him.” “I am a better Christian than that person.”
We need to judge ourselves and correct our faults first. If we are to have the proper mindset when we judge, it is a must that we too are not guilty of the same sin.
Furthermore, judging ourselves is not enough. If we see a sin present in us (which is almost always the case), we must be quick to repent and change our ways.
Lesson number 2: judge not according to appearance
“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
Here’s another proof that it is okay to judge provided that you judge with righteous judgment.
Judging a righteous judgment does not come from us. It only comes with wisdom and knowledge from God.
Judging a righteous judgment requires you to purify your mind and fill it with the Holy Spirit. You know why? Because we must base our judgment on what God thinks and not what we believe. We need to base our decision on the word of God and not on our opinion.
John 7:24 is related to the story when the Jews were angry to Jesus because Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. The Jews were judging Jesus according to appearance. At the surface, they are strongly convinced that Jesus is breaking the Law of Moses or of God and yet, Jesus corrected them with a righteous judgment and taught that it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath.
The key here is we must know the facts and truth to perform righteous judgment.
We need to judge other people according to the standards of God and not by our own standards. We must avoid judging according to our unstable feelings, but according to the law and commandment of God.
Lesson number 3: speak judgment in love
Now that we know that judging is not wrong, are we to go our way and tell other people who sinful they are to the point that we are already condemning them? Is that how we should judge others? Obviously, no. The Bible tells us:
“[Speak] the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
How should we pass judgment? It should be done with LOVE. It must be done because of our outgoing concern to others and with a motive that we only want the best for other people.
Do you know one of the reasons why this society is telling us not to judge? Because they don’t like people pointing to them their faults. They don’t like other people telling them what is right or wrong. They don’t want to be convicted by their conscience. They rather live a life of sin rather than doing the will of God in their lives. Yes, this is the truth, and most people don’t like that.
The people of God are expected to make a judgment. If the people of God see something’s wrong, God expects us to judge and say that is wrong. If the Bible is clear about an issue, we can say it is wrong. Abortion is wrong, homosexuality is wrong, killing is wrong, stealing, adultery, fornication, pornography and many others.
If we see our brother sinning, in a loving way, we need to remind that person of the negative effects of his actions. But in all these, we need to speak the truth in love. We need to judge our brethren’s action with the motivation and desire that we want that person to stop from his wrong doing and start doing things right.
Satan hates it when a righteous person judge, why? Because if we judge, the person we corrected might change his or her way which is something Satan really hates.
Another concept we need to understand is that judging is not just for the good of others. It is also good for us. When we make a righteous judgment to ourselves and to others, we are doing our part in pleasing God and doing His will in our lives. In effect, if we don’t do anything, we are doing Satan a favor.
Remember what Edmund Burke said?
“All that necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.”
If we don’t do anything to correct the situation, the situation will worsen and lead to bigger problems.
The truth can hurt brethren. By judging, we can offend people. But this does not mean that we just do nothing for the sake of saving ourselves of trouble. It is up to us on how we deliver judgment or correction that it will be less painful and offensive. If we truly love one another, we need to correct each other and stop others from continuing down the path of destruction. Thus, We MUST speak the truth in love.
Let me make this clear: We are only to judge but never condemn. That is God’s prerogative, not ours. God will be the one who will ultimately judge them. Yes, we can know a tree by its fruits, but it is only God who can discern the heart.
We should never condemn. In the same way, we hate the sin and not the sinner. Judging is a very complicated process and serious matter that need tremendous godly wisdom and understanding. So make sure we pray to God to help us make a righteous judgment.
Recommended Amazon book:
Author: J. Warner Wallace
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (1K+ customer reviews)
Christianity could be defined as a “cold case”: it makes a claim about an event from the distant past for which there is little forensic evidence. In Cold-Case Christianity, J. Warner Wallace uses his nationally recognized skills as a homicide detective to look at the evidence and eyewitnesses behind Christian beliefs.
Including gripping stories from his career and the visual techniques he developed in the courtroom, Wallace uses illustration to examine the powerful evidence that validates the claims of Christianity.
A unique apologetic that speaks to readers’ intense interest in detective stories, Cold-Case Christianity inspires readers to have confidence in Christ as it prepares them to articulate the case for Christianity. (Get your copy here)