Many people today, both Christian and non-Christian, state the Bible says that we are not to judge one another; they even go so far as to say this was a commandment from Jesus. For some of these people, they will actually quote Matthew 7:1 and say something akin to, “judge not or you will be judged.”; to this I say they need to read all of Matthew 7 where Jesus speaks of judging others. In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus says,
“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:1-5 HCSB
We must use the Scriptures in context, not just a verse here or there. When you read what Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:1-5, you will get the entirety of His directions. Jesus does not forbid judging others, Jesus warns us not to judge others if we are in the same sin; he warns against hypocritical judgment. For example, a drunkard is not to rebuke his child for going out and partying; not until he himself ceases drinking and repents of that sin. Or, a person who is having sex out of wedlock is not to judge homosexuals; sexual immorality is a sin no matter how it is done and must not only be stopped, but the heart must change before that person can be born again. Or, a person takes long breaks at work while surfing the web cannot judge a thief; they are both stealing from others and must repent.
When we read the Scriptures, we see where Jesus allowed judgment all around Him: He was judged by the Sanhedrin, the Jewish court system that came about through God’s command to Moses to establish a court of judges who would preside over all of the people of Israel. Nowhere in the Scriptures do we see where Jesus says the courts must be abolished; on the contrary, He went to Jerusalem to be judged for all of our sins by the courts.
Jesus gives us directions in judging our siblings in Christ in Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus says, “If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he won’t listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. If he pays no attention to them, tell the church. But if he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever and a tax collector to you.”
In Galatians 6:1, Paul gives direction in judgment, “Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted.”
Paul states what Jesus said; if someone is doing something wrong and you who are spiritual (not in sin, not being hypocritical), you are to rebuke them so they stay on the narrow path.
One key thing to note in these Scriptures, they are written for how we address our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, not unbelievers. We are to lead others to Christ while we are to help our brothers and sisters in Christ grow and stay the course; we are to do this in two ways: 1) give yourself to the Lord fully and accept His loving gift so that you will be born again as a child of God, and 2) judge your brothers and sisters in Christ justly and rebuke gently, but be guarded that you do not fall into a prideful trap of indignation and haughtiness.
Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour; accept His gift of Salvation under His terms, not yours; accept His gift and be born again as a child of God!