One of the most debated topics within the Christian community is whether Christians should judge others or not.
On one hand, Christians are called to love their neighbors and not to judge, but on the other hand, Christians are also called to hold each other accountable and to help others stay on the right path.
So, how do we navigate this tension?
In this post, we will look at a practical guide on how Christians can judge others in a biblical and Christ-like way.
What is Judging?
First, let’s define what we mean by “judging”.
When most of us think of judgment, we think of looking down on someone or condemning them for their actions.
However, there are different types of judgment.
In the Bible, we are told to discern good from evil and to hold each other accountable.
This kind of judgment is different from the judgment that comes from a place of pride or superiority.
What does the Bible say about Christians judging others?
The Bible speaks against judging others in a condemning and hypocritical way.
However, it also speaks of judgment as an act of discernment and accountability within the Christian community.
When reading a passage that mentions “judging,” it is important to understand the context in which it is written.
For example, Jesus’ commandment to “judge not” in Matthew 7:1-5 is referring to hypocritical judgment and not to the act of discernment.
Another one of the most well-known verses is Matthew 7:1-2, which says, “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.”
This verse warns us that if we judge others, we will also be judged by God in the same way.
However, that doesn’t mean we should never judge others.
In fact, in John 7:24, Jesus says, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
This verse implies that there is a right way to judge and that we should judge people based on their actions and character rather than superficial factors.
How Should We Approach Judging Others
Before we judge others, we should examine our motives and make sure that we’re not doing it out of pride or a desire to tear others down.
We should also approach the situation with empathy and understanding, recognizing that none of us are perfect and that everyone has their own struggles and challenges.
Instead of judging others harshly, we should strive to understand their situation and offer them grace and compassion.
We should also be willing to confront others in love and kindness when necessary, always seeking to restore relationships and bring others closer to God.
Judge with Love and Humility
When Christians face situations where judgment is necessary, it is important to approach it with love and humility.
We should examine our own hearts and motives before judging others, and we should always seek to understand their perspective.
Don’t Judge Based on Personal Preferences
It is important to distinguish between personal preferences and biblical principles when judging others.
Our personal preferences should never be used to judge others, as they can lead to biases and misunderstandings.
Instead, we should use biblical principles and teachings as our standard when judging others.
This not only ensures that our judgments are fair and just but also keeps us accountable to God’s word.
Be Accountable to Others
As Christians, we are called to hold each other accountable and to help each other stay on the right path.
By being accountable to others, we can grow in our faith and avoid falling into sin.
However, accountability should always come from a place of love and compassion, not from a desire to control others.
When we hold each other accountable, we should do so with the intention of helping our brothers and sisters in Christ grow closer to God.
Judge Yourself First
Before judging others, we should always judge ourselves first.
We should examine our own hearts and actions and ensure that we are living in accordance with God’s word.
When we judge ourselves first, we become more compassionate and understanding towards others, and our judgments become more Christ-like and less self-righteous.
What About Church Discipline?
Sometimes, Christians are called to judge others within the church to promote accountability and maintain a healthy spiritual community.
In such situations, the Bible outlines a process for church discipline, which involves confronting sin in a loving and respectful way, seeking to restore the person to fellowship with God and the community.
However, church discipline should always be done with humility and love, and with the goal of helping the person grow in their faith.
It should never be used as a means of control or punishment.
Remember the Grace of God
Finally, as we navigate the subject of judging others, we should always keep in mind the grace of God.
None of us are perfect, and we all fall short of God’s standards.
But through His grace, we are forgiven and redeemed, and we can extend that same grace to others.
When we find ourselves tempted to judge others, let’s remember the love and mercy God has shown us, and strive to offer that same love and mercy to those around us.