Are Christians Allowed to Judge Others?


“Judge not lest ye be judged” is a Bible verse often thrown around these days – primarily, it seems, by non-Christians. Whenever a Christian dares to call sin, sin – even if it’s not directly pointing a finger at someone else – we’re treated to yet another reminder of this quote. But what does it really mean? Are we really never allowed to “judge” another? Are we supposed to go around afraid of speaking biblical truth to one another “lest we be judged”?

To begin, I think we should take a look at the entire passage in context:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

Merely skimming over the verses, it does rather seem like we are told to never judge or we will be judged for doing so. But what does it really mean, when you dig into Jesus’ words? Are we really to stand aside and watch fellow believers wallow in sin and do nothing about it? Absolutely not! In fact, to do so would be in direct conflict with Jesus’ own commandments. If you continue reading, you will find that He goes on later in Matthew to say this:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (Emphasis mine.)

By Jesus’ own command, we are to go out into the world and teach others about His commandments, and this includes talking about sin, and making righteous judgements when necessary. There are many, many Bible passages that speak about righteous judgement. We can find clear instructions as to how to go about utilizing righteous judgement for the sake of restoration. Not only is righteous judgement acceptable, it is commanded and necessary.

Here are some dos and don’ts to follow when righteously judging others:

  • Don’t judge on appearances alone. (John 7:24)
  • Don’t judge before having all the facts. (1 Timothy 5:24-25)
  • Don’t judge hypocritically. (Matthew 7:5, Romans 2:1-3)
  • Don’t judge based solely on differences of opinion. (Romans 14:1-4)
  • Don’t be unjust or biased. (Leviticus 19:15)
  • Don’t condone wickedness by withholding judgement when it is necessary. (Proverbs 17:15, Revelation 2:20, Matthew 5:31-32, 2 Timothy 6:2-6)
  • Don’t withhold judgement when faced with clear, blatant evil. (Revelation 2:20, Matthew 5:31-32, 2 Timothy 6:2-6)
  • Do follow Paul’s command to use righteous judgement when fellow Christians persist in sin. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
  • Do utilize judgement when there is conflict between brethren. (Corinthians 6:1-5)
  • Do judge with love and forgiveness. (Luke 6:37-38)
  • Do judge in a spirit of grace and mercy. (Matthew 12:7)
  • Do keep the Golden Rule in mind when you dole out righteous judgement. (Matt. 7:12)
  • Do remember that saving a man’s soul should be our primary concern. (James 5: 19-20)

2 thoughts on “Are Christians Allowed to Judge Others?

  1. Nice post! Yes, that quote is so horribly taken out of context nowadays, by Christians and non-Christians alike. The modern meaning seems to be, “Be devoid of all manner of common sense, and embrace every sin with enthusiastic fervor!” And that leads to so much evil and sorrow.

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