JESUS SAID IN MATTHEW 7:1, "JUDGE NOT, THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED". DOES THIS MEAN THAT WE NEED TO SUSPEND ALL OUR JUDGMENTS?
Let us read what Jesus said:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. 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?(Matthew 7:1-3)
We know that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If we are quick in judging faults in others, God will be quick in showing us that we are no better. And this judging-the fault of others-is not for correction, but to show "I am better than you", the "holier than thou attitude". That is why Christ called such people "hypocrites" (Matthew 7:5). Hypocrites do that very thing while passing judgment on others (hoping that, since they condemned it in others, God will forgive their very act!). Paul, too, wrote the same:
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things... 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? (Romans 2:1, 3)
Look at another text where our Lord talked about nearly the same thing:
Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. (Luke 6:36, 37)
The attitude that we manifest shall be manifested back to us in all things. Also Paul said in Galatians:
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:7, 8)
Do we therefore stop judging anything? No! Jesus also said, "Condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned." But shouldn't we condemn sin? Sure, we have to condemn sin, but not the person.
The person has to be given hope, but his sin has to be condemned, and not condoned or accepted. God said to the prophets of old:
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)
Though the sin is condemned, the sinner is not. He has to be pointed to the Savior. Paul wrote to young Timothy:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. (1Timothy 1:15)
We are not to judge a person in the sense of condemning him and ridiculing him. But we are to use our judgment in the sense of discerning things. Jesus himself commended Simon when he rightly judged a matter in the sense of discernment. Jesus said:
Thou hast rightly judged. (Luke 7:43)
And on some other occasion Jesus said:
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:24)
Judgment based on the Word of God is "righteous judgment" as the Word of God is righteous. Jesus tells us how we need to judge, and how we should not judge:
Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. (John 8:15, 16)
Judging righteously is not wrong, but judging as a hypocrite does, is wrong.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus warned us of false prophets. He said:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)
Jesus wants us to be aware of them, lest they deceive us. He us to inspect the fruits of their lives, and of the words they speak. When it is not in conformity to God's Word-He said you must know that they are false. So we have got to be fruit inspectors and judge righteous judgments, otherwise we will be deceived. We need to use our God-given judgment and not fall into the enemy's trap. The apostle wrote:
Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. (1 Corinthians 14:29)
Judging in the sense of discerning is important, but judging in the sense of condemning is wrong. Solomon said:
A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. (Proverbs 22:3)
The apostle to the gentiles wrote an important text in his epistle to the Hebrews:
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)
God wants us to use our senses and discern what is right from wrong, who is true and who is false. We need to judge righteously and truthfully. It is written:
Come now, and let us reason together. (Isaiah 1:18)
We are made in the image of God. We have been given reasoning capacity, and God wants us to use it well, for we are on enemy territory!