Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. – Luke 6:37
It is one of the most popular verses quoted from the Bible and in a world that seems inundated with judgment, it’s no wonder people are grasping for justification by something or someone considered to be held in high regard.
Yet, most people who quote this verse don’t quite grasp the meaning behind it. They manipulate it and warp it to meet their needs, desires, or lifestyle.
Despite what you or others may think, this verse was not written as a command to accept the lifestyle of all people. It certainly doesn’t mean that we are called as people to unconditional approval.
Are we ever to examine the life of others?
Yes! We are!
The answer to that may be shocking to some, especially if you don’t study God’s word.
So how do we judge the right way?
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. – Proverbs 1:7
It’s a dangerous thing to claim to be a Christian, yet refuse to receive correction. The Bible calls you a fool. In Hebrew, fool translates to one who despises wisdom, one who mocks when guilty, one who is quarrelsome, and one who is licentious (sinful or corrupt).
1. Practice what you preach
If you are to pass judgment on someone, you must be practicing what you preach.
2. Judge Righteously
Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly. – John 7:24
You cannot judge based solely on what you think or what you have heard from others. A righteous judgment requires you to line that person’s actions up with God’s truth and His laws. Our opinions becomes void when we judge righteously.
3. Judge with Love
Finally, do so with love. Failing to judge righteously is actually the opposite of loving!
Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. – Galatians 1:8
God actually warns against false teachings and examples. He tells us that this doesn’t help people live a life of faith in God and actually discourages people and leads them away from God.
When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth. 4 Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God.
5 The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.
We break this commandment when we only speak to others and their faults.
2. Snapshot Judging
We break this commandment when we judge an entire life only by its worst moments.
3. You’re Bad, You’re Bad, You Know It
We break this commandment when we think the worst of others.
We break this commandment when we judge the hidden motives of others.
5. I’m Better than You
We break this command when we judge others without being mindful that we ourselves will be judged.
The purpose of judging then is not to prove how much holier you are than someone else. The truth is, we’re all broken. Every. single. breathing. human. being.
Who are you to say I’m faulty, am an all-around evil person because of a particularly bad decision, or that I have shady motives?
You also have made bad decisions, have at one point or another had shady motives, and are broken just like me.
But, when done in a loving manner, judgment and self-correction can bring so much peace and joy to lives.
How can you be one who judges righteously?
How can you be one who accepts correction and looks at situations with the wise love of the Father?
Even if what one person meant as harm, you can choose to use for good. That may mean doing some deep self-reflection and uncovering some dirty places in your heart that need a good cleaning.
Don’t be foolish.