Jesus said in Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Does this mean that we should never make judgements? Some people believe so. But just a few short verses later, Jesus is recorded as saying in Matthew 7:15-16 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” Here Jesus is encouraging us to judge false prophets by their bad fruit. You make judgements all the time about whom you make for friends and whom you should avoid as an enemy or someone who might be harmful to you. As a wise Christian, you make many judgements in life as to what your actions should or should not be.
We are commanded to make judgements about the evil person within the church. 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore ‘put away from yourselves the evil person.’” The apostle Paul condemned the Corinthian church for brother going to law against another brother and told them to appoint a judge within the church. 1 Corinthians 6:1,6 “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?”
So what was Jesus meaning when he stated “judge not, that you be not judged”? Jesus continues in Matthew 7:2-5 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” It is how or when you judge that you must be careful about. The way you judge others will be the way God judges you. You should not have a critical, condemning spirit. You should not condemn another for their small faults when you have large faults. You should not be a hypocrite in your judging. Romans 2:1-2 “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.”
You should not jump to a conclusion as to why someone does something. When David was a young man, his father sent him from his home to the battle front with gifts of food. When he got to the battle, he heard Goliath defy the army of the Israelites. David went around asking what would be done to the man who killed the giant. 1 Samuel 17:28 “Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, ‘Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.’” Eliab thought he knew why David had come to the battle, but he misjudged him. In the same way, you can misjudge why someone does what they do.
You should not judge whether or not God accepts your brother or sister in Christ who differs in belief or action on disputable matters. Romans 14:4,10-13 “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” Each of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ; God has had mercy on you and He will also show mercy to your brother or sister. He can make each of us just before Himself because of the blood of Jesus.
My encouragement is for you to be careful and wise in your judging and to know when to judge and when to refrain from judging. Judge whether someone is true or false by their fruit. Judge and withdraw from the evil person in the church. Clean up your life before judging or assisting another from sin. Do not be hypocritical in your judging. Do not jump to a conclusion on why someone does something. Do not jump to a conclusion that someone has done something wrong unless you have all the facts. Do not judge whether or not God accepts your brother who differs from you on disputable matters. With the judgment you judge, you will be judged.