Matt.7:1,2 This passage has been quoted often as people criticize others. Yet there is a lot of misunderstanding about a Christian’s part in judging others. First, what does the Greek and Hebrew mean with the word translated as “judge.” In defining “judge” some of the words are argue, rebuke, correct, distinguish, evaluate, examine. In our present dictionary the words of definition are assess, form an opinion, appraise, censor. Keep these in mind as we search the Scriptures.
For those who believe in God, a recognizable fact is that God is the ultimate judge. He is not only the ultimate judge but a judge that judges with righteousness, truth, and equity. Ps.7:9-11; Ps.98:8,9 Only God can see our hearts. He knows our secrets and everything about us. Rom.2:16 God is a perfect judge. 2 Tim.4:1 In Him partiality does not exist. Job 34:19
Jesus will also judge. Acts 17:31 Jesus gave us insight into our judgments. Jhn.8:15-18
We judge by human standards. Remember that even our righteousness is as filthy rags. Isa.64:6 In Jhn 8:16 Jesus says that His decisions are right. Why? Because He stands with His Father and the two of them make the two necessary witnesses required. Deut.19:15 Think of the purpose of Jesus as compared to our purpose. Jhn.12:47-49 His purpose is to save the world. If some do not keep His words, He does not judge them. Not then. When the last day comes, then the final judgment will come.
Civil judgment in courts of law are approved in the Bible. Judgment dealing with those within the church that would disrupt, be a bad influence, or not glorify God to the world would be approved. 1 Cor.5:11-13
Discernment is necessary in the case of false teaching. Matt.7:15 The Bereans were careful in this respect. Acts 17:11 The instruction of Jesus gives a general rule for our discernment. Matt.7:20 A person may act religious but not be following Biblical teaching. Matt.7:21 “Fruits” is a figurative term. By following other uses in the Bible we can understand this better. We are familiar with the fruit of the Spirit. Gal.5:22,23 These characteristics spring from the heart. Eph.5:9 speaks of fruit as does Phil.1:11. Our words bear fruit—both good and bad. Prov.12:14 (Read the verses surrounding this verse.) Our praise is considered a fruit of our lips. Heb.13:15
God sees our heart and He cares about our heart. So many things are reciprocal with God. Matt.7:2 What we give, we get. In this case it is judgment. Rom.15:7 Accept one another as Christ accepted us. Col.3:25 Do wrong and we receive consequences of wrong. Matt.6:14 Forgive and be forgiven. 2 Cor.1:4 Receive comfort to comfort others. Jam.2:13 Show no mercy and receive merciless judgment. 2 Cor.9:6 Reap what you sow. Mal.3:10 Give and you will receive in a greater way. 2 Cor.13:11 Live in peace and the God of peace will be with you. Eph.6:7,8 Do good and receive back good. It will help if we treat others as we would want to be treated whether they return it or not. Matt.7:12 Is this convincing that we receive judgment as given?
The Greek in Matt.7:1 is a present imperative. “Don’t get into the habit of being judgmental.” In other words, don’t make it a part of your lifestyle. When we criticize and judge others, this affects the way God and others respond to those things in which we are deficient. When judging others becomes habitual, our spirit becomes harsh, unkind, and censorious. One of the great works of the Jews that brought man credit to man and God was “Thinking the best of other people.”
The reason that our “human standard” does not work is that we never know the whole facts or the whole person. We can’t see into the heart. It is almost impossible to be impartial in human judgment. A good quote from Wm. Barclay: “ We have quite enough to do to rectify our own lives without seeding censoriously to rectify the lives of others. We would do well to concentrate on our own faults, and to leave the faults of others to God.” We don’t need to usurp the authority of God in judging others.
Rom.2:1-3 We are a mere man and have a sinful nature except through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We may not be guilty of exactly the same thing but of a fleshly thing as well. We are not a perfect person. Lk.6:41 Judging a brother or sister in Christ makes us self-righteous. Rom.14:4,10 Who do we think we are? Jam.4:12
1 Cor.4:5 Wait. God sees what we do not see. He will make things right for both us and those we would be tempted to judge. Let us not censor or criticize one another for God awaits that last day. Don’t jeopardize our future in eternity. Jam.5:9