Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged!
The most misquoted verse in the Bible is probably Matthew 7:1, "Judge not that ye be not judged." We hear this verse multiple times a day. At Troy State University in Alabama, a professor we met even said that it was one of the Ten Commandments. Too often we have heard sincere, misinformed Christians and unbelievers alike say, "I don’t want to judge anybody, but..." Ironically, the one who screams "judge not" is often the one passing judgment on you!
Let’s See What the Bible Really Says About Judging:
"The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment." (Psa 37:30)
"With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth." (Psa 119:13)
"Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy." (Prov 31:9)
Jesus commended Simon, "Thou hast rightly judged." (Luke 7:43)
"Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt show her all her abominations." (Ezek 22:2)
"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man." (1 Cor 2:15)
"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" (1 Cor 6:2)
"Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?" (1 Cor 6:3)
There are many other passages and verses in the Bible about judging. While God is our ultimate Judge, He has also commanded us to judge according to the Word of God.
According to the Webster’s Dictionary, to judge means "to discern, to distinguish, to form an opinion, to compare facts or ideas, and perceive their agreement or disagreement, and thus to distinguish truth from falsehood." Therefore, when you say that your neighbor is a "good person," you are passing a judgment (forming an opinion) just as much as when you say that the thief is a "bad person."
How Are We to Judge?
1. We are to judge righteously. Jesus commands in John 7:24, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
Judge by the Word of God and Its principles, not by someone’s skin color, whether they are tall or short (inherited physical traits), etc.
2. We are to judge without hypocrisy. "And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?" (Rom 2:3)
Judge yourself first to see if you are guilty of that sin. Live what you preach. Only after you get your life cleaned up by turning from your sins and receiving pardon through repentance and faith in Jesus (i.e. you get saved) you can go and help others to be saved too.