The command “Judge not!” is well known to both believers and unbelievers. This is very important if you want to be a Christian. But this is not the only thing that the Bible says about judging.
“Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way as you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.” Matthew 7:1-2 (GNB). Jesus spoke these powerful words with the next verse in mind: “Why do you notice the little piece of dust in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3 (NCV). Here He shows us that we as human beings easily find things wrong with what others are doing or how they are, instead of looking at our own faults and our own need to change. He warns us powerfully against judging others in such a way. Jesus Himself could say: “I judge no one.” John 8:15.
The Bible also makes it clear that we, as human beings, are not able to judge others fairly. “If you think you can judge others, you are wrong. When you judge them, you yourself are actually found guilty, because you do the same things they do.” Romans 2:1 (NCV). It can be very easy for us to think that we are better than others, or to tell ourselves that we don’t do the same bad things that someone else does. But if we believe this, we are only fooling ourselves. Those same sinful habits lie in our human nature, and if we judge the others rather than getting rid of our own sin, those same sins will rule in our lives.
Paul explains how we can come free from this sinful human nature that has power over all people since the fall of Adam. ”But if we judged ourselves in the right way, then God would not judge us. But when the Lord judges us, he disciplines us to show us the right way. He does this so that we will not be destroyed along with the world.” 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 (ICB). If we stop judging others and start judging ourselves, a whole new life begins!
When we start to ask God what He thinks about what we think, say, and do, then we will see that God shows us the right way. His Word and His Spirit will show us that what we are thinking in secret, and the reasons why we are doing things, is not pure and right in God’s eyes. Then we will see that what we think, say, and do is far from perfect and that we need help to be properly saved from our own sin!
When God has shown us this about ourselves, then we have something to work with! We can use God’s Word as a weapon to fight against the sin that lives in our human nature. This is what it means to “walk in the light” or to “live in the light”. John writes about this in 1 John 1:7: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin [washes away all our sin].” In this way, God will not judge us when He will finally judge the world because of sin. We can judge our own sin now and be totally finished with it!
Able to help the others
If we are busy with judging ourselves and our own sin, then there will be no place left to judge the others. We can still be tempted to judge the others in our thoughts, but we know that we must immediately say no to these thoughts. When we begin to see how much sin we still have in ourselves, then we know in our hearts that we have to listen to the words of James: “So what right do you have to judge your neighbour?” James 4:12 (NLT).
The truth is that we can’t help anyone by judging them or pointing the finger at their faults, but we can help them by judging ourselves and our own sin. “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine [to that what is written in the Bible]. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:16.
As we are freed from our own sin, we are also more able to love and care for the others around us. Then we can do what Jesus asks us to do in Matthew 7:5 (NCV): “First, take the wood out of your own eye. Then you will see clearly to take the dust out of your friend’s eye.” If we first judge and get rid of our own sin, then we can help others with the same words of God that has helped us.