Is it Wrong to Judge People?

From Issue: Discovery 6/1/2004

Dear reader,

One of the most often-quoted verses in the Bible is Matthew 7:1- “Judge not, that you be not judged.” People involved in doing bad things often quote this verse when attempting to defend their sinful lifestyle. This verse is used by some people as a kind of scare tactic: “Do you dare judge me? Jesus said, ‘Judge not, that you be not judged.'” Some would have us believe Jesus meant that we cannot pass judgment on anyone at any time.

The popular idea that “all judging is wrong” is not biblical, however. Those who teach that Jesus was condemning all judging in Matthew 7:1, are guilty of ignoring the context of the passage , as well as the numerous verses throughout the rest of the Bible which teach that judging the sinful lifestyles of others is necessary. One key ingredient that we need to use in every judgment is “righteousness.” Jesus commanded that His disciples first get their own lives right with God; then they can “see clearly” to be of help to others who are sinning (Matthew 7:5). As Jesus told the Jews in the temple on one occasion: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).


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