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The article “Christians—Who Are You to Judge Others?” delves into the Biblical perspectives on judging others. Unpacking Matthew 7:1 and other relevant Scriptures, the article offers guidance on how Christians can judge righteously while avoiding the pitfalls of condemnatory judgment. Learn to navigate moral judgments in the light of Scriptural wisdom.
“Stop Judging”—A Call for Reflection
Jesus’ instruction to “stop judging” in Matthew 7:1-2 serves as a poignant reminder of our own imperfections and limitations in making moral judgments about others. As imperfect beings, our perspective is inherently flawed, and we should be cautious when passing judgments. This is particularly relevant when dealing with fellow believers, as the family of faith should be a haven of love, encouragement, and constructive guidance.
Emulating Jehovah’s Merciful Outlook
Taking a cue from Jehovah’s interactions with King David, we can understand the value of focusing on the good in people. King David committed severe sins, including adultery and murder, which led to devastating consequences for his family and nation (2 Sam. 11:2-4, 14, 15, 24; 2 Sam. 12:10, 11). Yet, Jehovah saw David’s sincere repentance and continued faithfulness, choosing mercy over eternal condemnation. Jehovah’s compassion towards David stands as an example for us. If God can extend such grace, we, too, should strive to see the good in others and make allowances for their imperfections (1 Ki. 9:4; 1 Chron. 29:10, 17).
The Pitfalls of Critical Judgment
While it’s easy to spot imperfections and form criticisms, the spiritual person learns to see the inherent value in others. Just like a rough diamond needs to be cut and polished to reveal its beauty, humans, too, need room for growth and improvement. To emulate Jehovah and Jesus, we must look beyond superficial flaws and recognize the potential for good in people.
The Importance of Empathy
Empathy plays a significant role in tempering our judgments. We should strive to understand the context and circumstances that influence others’ actions. Jesus demonstrated this beautifully when he praised a widow for her humble offering at the temple, recognizing the depth of her faith rather than the size of her contribution (Luke 21:1-4).
Responding to Unjust Criticism
It’s a striking paradox that those who often tell us not to judge are themselves making a judgment. This sort of self-contradiction reveals the impracticability of absolute non-judgment. The point is not that we should abstain from making all moral judgments but that such judgments should come from a place of humility and genuine concern for the well-being of others (1 Co 10:13; Gl 6:1).
Righteous vs. Unrighteous Judgment
Jesus instructs us to “stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment” (John 7:24). This brings us to the core issue: the spirit in which judgments are made. When we take the log out of our own eye first, as Jesus advises in Matthew 7:5, we are in a position to help others remove the speck from theirs. This is the essence of righteous judgment—a proper evaluation of moral or doctrinal matters, not with a spirit of condemnation, but with humility and the intent to help (1 Co 5:5).
Love: The Ultimate Guide to Judgment
If we find ourselves having unjustly judged someone, the first step is to turn to Jehovah in prayer, asking for wisdom and guidance to correct our outlook. Genuine love for our brothers and sisters in faith is the foundation of just judgment (James 2:8). When we engage with those we have judged, perhaps inviting them to share a meal or ministry work, we not only correct our own wrong attitudes but also enrich our spiritual fellowship.
In conclusion, the call to “stop judging” is not an invitation to moral laxity or relativism. Rather, it’s a call to exercise discernment with humility, love, and a profound respect for the limitations of our human perspective. We must not shy away from making moral judgments, but we must do so responsibly, always remembering to first examine our own lives and motives. By doing so, we honor the principles laid out by both Jehovah and Jesus, promoting a more compassionate, understanding, and spiritually mature community of believers.