To Judge or Not to Judge?

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1) Have you noticed that most people are familiar with this scripture (Christian or not) and quote it if they feel they are being judged? Many people conclude that making judgments on anyone—especially coming from Christians—is wrong based upon the “judge not” verse.

When it comes to judging others, opportunities are readily available. One serving on a jury is expected to impartially judge the culpability of the defendant on trial. During elections, we compare by judging, each candidate’s qualifications and integrity. I think you see where I’m going here. We make judgments all the time. It is human nature.
The question is…


Jesus knew we would struggle with judging. Let’s take a look at the verses after verse one above.

“For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:2-5)

These verses do not mean we should never make judgments. Jesus is cautioning us not to make judgments in a hypocritical way. The Bible’s command that we not judge others does not mean we cannot show discernment or use common sense. When Jesus says, “The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged,” He is basically cautioning us to “judge at our own risk.”

Immediately after Jesus says, “Do not judge,” He says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs” (Matthew 7:6). A little later in the same sermon, He says, “Watch out for false prophets. . . . By their fruit, you will recognize them” (verses 15–16). How are we to discern who are the “dogs” and “pigs” and “false prophets” unless we have the ability to make a judgment?

Jesus is giving us permission to judge right from wrong.

Common sense suggests that if no one ever judged, holding people accountable for their actions within a community, that community would not last for long.

When one judges they also form an opinion. The trouble is, opinions can be influenced by many things such as our fears, pride, or ignorance. If all we had were human opinions, we might agree with those who say we should never judge. But as Christians, we are not to judge based on our opinion, but the moral teachings of Scripture and through Spirit-informed prayer and discernment. Any lazy or biased fool can have opinions. But making biblical judgments is the hard work of responsible and compassionate people.

Elsewhere, Jesus gives a direct command to judge:

“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” (John 7:24)

 Jesus tells us there are correct and incorrect ways to make judgments.

Ways the Bible says we should NOT judge

  • Superficial judgment: Passing judgment based solely on appearances is sinful. A fool jumps to conclusions before investigating the facts. (John 7:24, Proverbs 18:3)
  • Hypocritical judgment: when we point out the sin of others while we ourselves commit the same sin, we condemn ourselves. Jesus warns about hypocritical judging. (Matthew 7:1; 3-5, Romans 2:1)
  • Harsh, unforgiving judgment: we are to be gentle and merciful (Titus 3:2, Matthew 5:7) Jesus warned, “In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:20).
  • Self-righteous judgment: we are called to humility and God opposes the proud. (James 4:6, Luke 18:9-14)
  • Untrue judgment: the Bible forbids false witness (Proverbs 19:5, Exodus 20:16).
  • Judgment with human limitations: we are called to seek God’s word and authority. Only God’s judgments are flawless (John 8:15-16, Psalm 7:11, Isaiah 33:2)

Ways the Bible says we SHOULD judge

Let’s talk about biblical judging as it relates to the believer and the unbeliever. The methods are different when dealing with the two groups, but the goal is always the same: REPENTANCE AND RECONCILIATION.

Biblical judgment meme quote

Unbelievers need to know Christ and be reconciled to Him. Believers need to grow in Christ and be reconciled to each other in unity and love. 

Judgment in relation to unbelievers

The Bible clearly declares that all people are sinners, have fallen short of the glory of God, and are in need of redemption from their sins (Romans 3:23). This is a judgment made by God. When a Christian gently, lovingly, and humbly presents the gospel to unbelievers, a judgment is made regarding their standing with God. This judgment is not made by the opinion of the one sharing, but rather by what the Bible clearly states.

To think that the unbeliever is somehow immune from criticism or being held accountable for his actions would mean that we never share that another person is in need of salvation. If we are not able to declare immoral acts sinful, then evangelism as Jesus designed it in Matthew 28:19 is worthless and Christianity is diluted to a feel-good group rather than the truth of the ages.

Judgment in Relation to Believers

Scripture provides many examples of how God’s people can be in error and sin, dating back to (and before) the kings of Israel and Judah. As believers, we are not to ignore sin.  If a believer sees another believer sinning, he is instructed to confront the person in a respectful and loving way.

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”(Matthew 18: 15-17)

God commands believers to point out the truth with Christ-like compassion, bringing repentance and restoration to the sinner (James 5:20). “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

Why get involved?

Depending on our personalities, we are either prone to confront or we shy away from confrontation. No matter what our tendencies are, we must follow God’s Word. True love cares if someone is caught in the trap of sin. We can literally save a life or a marriage, or a world of pain (James 5:19-20). Here are the reasons God calls us to be involved:

Before getting involved

  • PRAY 
  • Check your motivation
  • Check your heart and your own life
  • Ask the following questions: Is the issue unbiblical? Unwise? Or possibly unimportant?

I’d like to share a person caution. If you are fired up to confront someone with an issue you see as sin, STOP. I mean it. Stop and take some time alone with the Lord. Judgment is a serious issue and must be done with godly discernment, wisdom, and most of all LOVE. “The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” 

Remember the ultimate goal of confronting the person is to bring repentance, not condemnation! In this sense, we are called to judge sin—always with the goal of repentance and reconciliation.

Whew! This is a tough issue. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below.

Never miss a post meme 2

finger-black and white-to judge meme


24 thoughts on “TO JUDGE OR NOT TO JUDGE?”

  1. Beckie great job presenting a very difficult topic! I struggle with conflict of any kind but God is helping me to see others through His Eyes. When we can see the person and the circumstance through His Eyes I believe that He gives us the grace and love to help them find Him. Love always wins!

    Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eve, Yes and amen—LOVE WINS! And this must be the motivation behind approaching someone with a sin issue. Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m so glad you found it helpful. As usual, God is helping me as I research His Word and wisdom. He is so good!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beckie — great post! I think we all have judged others at some time — I know I have. I try not too. Thank you for pointing this out and clarifying with scripture. Very thought provoking.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, Beckie, you get a fantastic applaud from me in this post! I learned the hard way, before knowing Christ, that my body should only be intended for the one I married. We have Danny’s son, living at home, who now has a girlfriend. Because he, and she, are of consensual age, Danny feels he can’t say anything about her spending the night in Giovanni’s room. Go figure the children of the 70’s! (our yoke!)
    Certainly, I don’t want to be judgmental, and I am praying that all’s well that ends well, but those memories give me pause . . . All I want is the right and true path for them. Though they seem to accept our beliefs, and respect our prayers, they are certainly in no hurry to seek the Lord’s way.
    Thank you for simply allowing me to air my grievances, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Martha, I appreciate you kind words and candor. Thanks for sharing. I’m honored you did. It’s so tough when our kids make choices we know can lead to pain for them. I’m going through some things with one of mine too. Ugh! I’m praying for you to speak up if the Lord leads you to do so.
      Blessings, wisdom, love, and grace!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, boy that is a tough subject. I sometimes think I have a sign carved on my forehead that reads,
    “Tell me your problems.” I hear some pretty personal and disturbing things. It is hard to not judge a person in those cases. You have helped me to see some ways to better seek discernment in dealing with them. Thank you for the scripture references and for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nellie,
      I’m so glad you found this helpful. I had to smile about the sign on your head. I think I have one too, which is why I research and prayed intently about this one! Thanks for taking the time to let me know. I’m praying for God’s wisdom as you meet with others.
      Blessings, dear sister!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary, I consider you a great woman of faith who displays gentleness, love, and godly wisdom in your writing. Having said that, your comment is much appreciated! I’m continually challenged and encouraged by the AMAZING Word of God! The more I learn, the more I realize I have a lot of room for growth 🙂


  6. This is such a rich post on a very important topic since we can face temptation to judge everyday..and there’s so much division in the world today, we need such wisdom here to find the way of God and peace in our relationships. You outline the many ways of discernment and different scripture that helps us better understand the depth of the Word on this matter. So very good. I realized just this weekend when some ‘angels’ helped my son get a ride down from a rugged wilderness road I could have easily judged them because they looked like simple country folk many would call ‘rednecks’.. who looked different from us suburban/city folks..they were the nicest most gracious people I met. It reminded me of one of my favorite times ever visiting a poor Mexican family who lived in a shack in Tijuana. They fed us the most delicious meal in their one room house and we sat on their family bed to eat and I had the best time of my life with these joyous people who had music streaming from their old radio. Blessed are we when we don’t judge! Excellent post!


    1. Kathy, Thanks for taking the time to share two personal stories where God taught you about judging. Wonderful! I love when He does that 🙂 I appreciate your kind words. I’m so glad this post was helpful. Let me tell you, the Lord is still working on me in this area. Writing the post was educational and convicting.
      Blessings to you and yours! I hope you’ll stop by Spotlight again.


  7. It’s so refreshing to see someone handle this very relevant topic in a way that is both balanced and Biblical. In response to your well-stated authorization for appropriate judging I would judge this piece to be a top notch example of how we ought to approach issues for which this egocentric, oppositional culture needs answers that are clear, rational, eternally true, and that harbor no underlying denominational or ecclesiastical agenda. Thanks, for all you do to keep the Light shining, Beckie– If you’re going to BRMCWC I hope to get to say ‘hello’.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ron, your comment means so much as I have a lot of respect for your writing! Thanks for taking the time to encourage me. I was a little timid about putting this one up, but you know God. I prayed long and hard, evaluated my heart, then obeyed.
    Yes, I’m excited to say, I’m going to Blue Ridge! I cannot wait to meet you and some other dear writer friends in person.


  9. Excellent post, Beckie.
    The proper Biblical view on this subject needs to be taught in church more, it’s so misunderstood. You did such a great job studying this subject. You are a woman of the word!


  10. Bill, your comment means a lot as I respect your wisdom and knowledge of God’s word that I see shine through your writing. I agree with you about this subject being taught in church more. My church did a fabulous job on it recently. Interestingly, I was in the process of research for this post (LOVE when God does that!). I decided to expand it a bit more since I have that luxury in writing my own blog 🙂
    Praying God’s blessings for you and yours, faithful servant!


  11. Brilliant article.Thank you for clarifying the Biblical view. I did a long study on this because I heard so many believers say, you can’t judge me. Great job Beckie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cherrilynn, I’m so glad you found this helpful. It certainly helped me doing the research. Like you, I needed to know what God truly says about this subject. Your kind words mean a lot to me because I know you to be a student of the Word and woman of great faith. Thank you! And Happy Easter to you and yours.
      He is risen!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Amen, sister! I couldn’t agree more. I get so tired of hearing people throwing around the “judge not” verse so completely out of context. I think your presentation of a difficult subject was clear and super helpful. And much needed. 🙂

    Choosing your post as my favorite for this week’s Literacy Musing Mondays link up. I will feature it on my next LMM post on April 24th. Feel free to grab the featured button on Monday!

    Have a blessed week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brandi Raae, I’m so glad you found this post helpful. I learned a lot in my research. Your kind words mean a lot 🙂
      I’m thrilled to be featured On Literacy Musing Mondays. Thanks!
      Blessings, dear sister,

      Liked by 1 person

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