Judge Not, That Ye Be Not Judged
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1) This may be one of the most misunderstood and therefore misapplied verses in the Bible. So much so, that even those who don’t believe in the Bible quote, Matt. 7:1, in an effort to silence others who point out their wrongs. They might say, “now you know you’re not supposed to judge.” The truth is, we all make judgments every day concerning what we believe to be right and wrong. After all, the person who says, “it’s wrong for you to judge me” has himself judged the person judging him.
The problem is that most people never read the entire context! When we consider the context of Matthew 7:1, we see that a person subjects himself to the same standard or rule of judgment that he uses towards another. “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye use, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt. 7:2).
Jesus goes on to ask why we would judge hypocritically, i.e., judge another while we are guilty of sin. Notice Matthew 7: 3-4, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brothers eye, but considers not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?”
In his letter to the Romans, Paul said something similar when he wrote, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judges: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judges does the same things (Romans 2:1).
When we judge another person while guilty of the same sin(s), we are actually condemning ourselves. Maybe if we took the time and considered ourselves first, there would be less antagonism in the Church of Christ and the world as a whole.
Continuing in Matthew 7:5, we read what Jesus said we must do first before we try to help our brother. “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brothers eye.”
It is clear from the above verse, that the commonly heard idea - that we are never to judge another – just isn’t so! We are in a condition to judge only after we have gotten rid of our own sin, then at that point, we can see clearly to help our brother with his sin. If you are telling people that Jesus said we are not to judge, you are misrepresenting the point that Jesus was making.
In fact, We are to judge righteous judgement. In John 7:24, Jesus answering the people when they accused him of having a devil said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement.” Clearly there is a type of judgement that is not to be used, and a type of judgment that is acceptable.
If you’ve been misrepresenting Jesus concerning this subject or any other, you don’t have to continue doing so.