Is it Wrong to Judge Others? What Does “Judge Not…” Mean?

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“Judge not, that ye be not judged” has become a famous weapon of defence for many people, especially when they are in the wrong and someone tells them.

Even unbelievers know this Bible verse and waves at it Christians’ face when they attempt to rebuke them or expose their sins or ill-acts.

 But what Jesus mean when he said: “Judge not, that ye be not judged” was revealed in the verses that follow.  

He said further: “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? [5] Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:2-5).

The strength of the admonition in Mathew 7:1 lies in the start of Mathew 7:5. He said: “Thou Hypocrite…” This confirms Christ was talking about hypocritical judgement. This does not mean when we are in the wrong, we should not be told.

Mathew 7:2-5 deals with someone who shuns his own problems/sin/weakness but choses to spotlight that of others. 

And you may say: no-one is perfect, so nobody has right to judge others.

The crux of the story is not perfection but that your intention when you rebuke or correct others must be fair, balanced and righteous. 

For instance, you must not intentionally know that you struggle with giving to God yet you chose to correct others who also struggle, because you know they are unaware of your own wrong.

Oftentimes, we use this verse wrongly to cover our shame and proudly fight back, claiming we are being judged.

To “judge” means “to form an opinion or conclusion about.” God’s Word permits us  to form sound conclusions about various life issues, doctrines, beliefs, practices etc.

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The Bible says Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”  – 1 Thessalonians 5:21. 

The Holy Spirit inspired the words “prove [test, discern, examine] all things” and “hold fast [seize, take, grip] that which is good.” Unless we “judge,” how will we determine what is “good” for us and for others.

 Romans 2:21-22 says: “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? [22] Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?” .

These verses rebuke hypocritical act of the Jews who taught people not to do certain things, but were doing same things. This is HYPOCRITICAL JUDGEMENT OF OTHERS.

Don’t emphasise the sin of others (the “mote,” or speck, which is minor), but cover your own sins (the “beam,” or log, which is major).

Should we then remain apathetic or silent about sin? NO.  Jesus just forbids hypocritical judging. 

The Holy Spirit through Apostle Paul preached against sin in order to show lost people they needed to be saved from those sins.

In Acts 2:23, with a strong word, Peter told the Jews listening to him ‘…With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him” This verse seems accusatory. It appears Peter was ‘judging them”.  Apparently, these guys may not even have anything to do with the death of Jesus. But was Peter judging them? No. He was driving home a compelling truth.

Furthermore, Peter in Acts 2:36-37 accused them of crucifying Jesus. “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” As you can see, instead of them fighting that they were being judged, they allowed the truth that was being spoken to work in their heart and about 3,000 souls were saved. 

When a balanced truth said with the help of the Holy Spirit is told, rather receive it and let it work in you than fight it.

Acts 13:26-41; Acts 14:11-18; Acts 17:16-31; Acts 24:25 and many other scriptures unveiled the sins of the people but they never said they were being judged.

Christ declared, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day – John 12:48. 

Technically, we are not judging the world; God’s Word does that when we believe it and preach it! 

“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15,16).

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