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Are We Supposed to Judge?
Wikipedia defines judgment as, “the evaluation of evidence in the making of a decision.” Matthew 7:1 says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” At first glance it would appear we should avoid all judgment. Even looking further in verses 3 – 5 we can see even more reason to avoid judging others. However, as we will see the Bible acknowledges judgment as necessary. Therefore, “do not judge” in Matthew 7 has to do with the motivations of the heart when judging, not an absolute prohibition.
Good Judgment Brings Healing
Judgment is a necessary part of life. God is Judge and all fair judgment begins with God. In 1 Corinthians 6:1-6, we find that God’s people will judge the world and angels. Right judgment is empowered by the Spirit. The Spirit gives wisdom and discernment. Solomon was the wisest person ever to live. He judged between many people. His succeeded because he had God’s gifting.
Judgment brings order and maintains peace. We make judgments (discernments) all the time. It is what helps us make good decisions. We decide which job to take, which person to marry, which house to buy, etc. As parents we judge between siblings all the time. Godly discernment is a good thing.
Poor Judgment Brings Destruction
Bad judgment has sinful motives. A person giving bad judgment may do so to look better. A critical spirit is always wrong; it seeks the destruction of the other. One sign of bad judgment is that the person has not first considered how their judgment applies to their self. If this is done first, they will be more humble when seeking to correct a brother. I think this is why we are cautioned when restoring someone, so we don’t also fall into the same trap (see Galatians 6:1-10). If we don’t realize we have weaknesses we can be tempted and sin like the person we are helping restore.
Bad judgment tears down. Good judgment restores, corrects, and builds up. Make judgments. But make them with your eyes wide open. Make judgments by the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind you might not be called to speak out your judgment. If you do, speak the truth in love.
- Why is judging a good thing?
- When is judging a bad thing?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
1 Cor 6:1-3
If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.