Are We Never To Judge Others?

"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. Matt. 7:1-5 (This is possibly the most often quoted, mistranslated, misinterpreted verse in the Bible. Christians and non-Christians alike both love to quote this verse to escape any kind of accountability from their actions or words. Once they quote this verse, you can no longer correct anything that they say or do. The first phrase’s meaning is lost in translation. I will show that it contradicts the rest of scripture, so it must be interpreted another way because the Bible doesn’t contradict itself. The KJV translation is: Judge not, that ye be not judged. It is more clearly understood if you read it as follows: That ye be not judged, judge not. So unless you have been judged yourself FIRST by either yourself or someone else, you are instructed not to judge others. BUT if you have been judged and have repented and been forgiven of all your past sins, then you are authorized to judge others of faith. After this first phrase it explains how we should judge mercifully because if we judge harshly, then we too will be judged that way. Then the emphasis is on hypocrisy. We are not to judge others if we ourselves are unrepentant and thus still unforgiven of our own sins. BUT if we have repented and been forgiven of our past sins, THEN we are authorized to remove the speck from our brother’s eye. It doesn’t say that we should NEVER judge or NEVER remove the speck from our brother’s eye, Jesus is simply specifying to judge ourselves FIRST and not be hypocrites. You will see in the following verses that it is our duty as Christians to judge others of faith so long as it is done mercifully, righteously, gently, not hypocritically, not to unbelievers, not to disputable matters, and in truth. Jesus doesn’t condemn judging others, it is who we judge, who is authorized to judge, and how we judge that is emphasized.

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. John 7:24 (This is a commandment to judge, the emphasis is on how we judge.)

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. II Tim. 4:2 (NIV)

But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. I Cor. 2:15

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. I Cor. 6:1-6 (Paul is condemning the idea of taking disputes to unbelievers. If we are unable to judge small matters pertaining to this life, how will we be able to judge the world at Christ’s return?)

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. Gal. 6:1 (NIV) (This is a call to action to restore our brother in sin. The point is about how we go about doing this, which is that we should do it gently.)

Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. I Cor. 5:3 (NIV) Don't you know that a little yeast (sin) works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. I Cor. 5:6-7 (NIV) (Paul makes no apologies for passing judgment on this particular sinner in the church. He goes on to explain that we must cut off sin from among us. So if the sinner refuses to repent when confronted of his sin, they must be expelled from the church so that they do not influence the rest of the church. This is a very serious warning that few churches today listen to. Many churches today rely on their own understanding and chose to “love” the sinner and not expel him as God commands. No wonder many of our churches are apostate. The unrepentant sinner’s influence spreads to the rest of the church like yeast on bread. We are to “love” the sinner, but hate the sin, but that doesn’t mean we should allow the unrepentant sinner to remain among us.)

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Eph. 5:11 (NIV) (In order to discern the fruitless deeds of darkness we must judge others fruit. And if they have bad fruit, we are commanded to expose them.)

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. Matt. 7:15-16 (This requires judgment of others. We must judge them by their fruit. If we do not judge, these false prophets would never be exposed.)

The way of peace they know not; and [there is] no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace. Isaiah 59:8 (These future people know no peace because they refuse to judge as God commands. Perhaps they have accepted Satan’s lie that we are to NEVER judge.)

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. I Cor. 1:10 (Why would Paul say that if judging is wrong?)

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: Rev. 2:2 (God was pleased with these Christians for judging the false apostles among them and finding them liars. To find someone a liar requires judgment.)

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. I Cor. 11:31 (We are commanded to judge ourselves.)

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. Rom. 14:1 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. Rom. 14:13 (Paul is not saying to NEVER pass judgment. The context of this verse is condemning passing judgment on disputable matters.)

Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. Prov.31:9

My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; Prov. 3:21

The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. Psalm 37:30

Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? James 4:11-12 (This verse is referring to judging one’s salvation. God is the only judge of our salvation. This is not in reference to judging the fruit of others.)

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 (I believe we have to differentiate judging on right/wrong and judging on salvation. Jesus is saying that the Father is the only judge of our salvation. This is not referencing judgment between right and wrong.)

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. John 8:7 (Jesus is condemning the act of stoning the woman. He doesn’t condemn righteous judgment. In this case, the Pharisees are hypocrites and therefore their judgment of the woman is condemned by Jesus. True Christians are authorized to judge righteously. The Pharisees were not true Christians. At the end of this story, Jesus tells the woman to leave her life of sin. Jesus judged the woman’s behavior as sinful. In no way did Jesus excuse the woman’s sin. He addressed it, but stoning her was not the answer.)

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Rom. 2:1-3 (Read the previous verses for the proper context. Paul is speaking about those that do evil and are passing judgment on others at the same time. He is condemning the hypocrites that are judging others, not believers that judge believers. The hypocrites are doing the very same things that they are judging others for.)