Christians sometimes get confused with the concept of judging, because biblically we are commanded to judge (John 7:24 says, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make it right judgement.”) and then at the same time we are biblically told that we are not to judge. (Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”)
So, which is it?
Jesus knew that we would struggle with judging so He gave us a strict warning in His Word saying, “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 that you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay not attention to the plank in your own eye? … You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
This verse is not telling us that we should never judge, because obviously we make judgments every day between right and wrong. What Jesus is telling us here is to not judge others hypocritically, and He is telling us to remove the plank from our own eye so that we may help the other person.
We should not be judgmental of others when our own sins need to be corrected as well.
Just as we are commanded to not condemn others, we are also commanded to not ignore sin. This requires the act of judging others in a biblical way.
It is important to be able to discern the difference between the judging that is mentioned in Matthew 7:1-5 and the biblical kind of judgement mentioned in John 7:24, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
If I am to see a fellow believer sinning, I am biblically instructed to confront the person in a respectful and loving manner. Matthew 18:15-17 says, “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just go between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he 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 he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen to even to the church, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.” The ultimate goal in confronting someone is to bring that person to repentance, we are called to judge sin with the goal of bringing repentance and reconciliation.
God commands us to point out the truth with hope, love, and Christ-like compassion. Ephesians 4:15, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”
I hope I helped you understand the difference between biblical judgement and non-biblical judgement, and in closing I leave you with this verse:
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.