To judge means to form an opinion about someone after careful thought, or to regard someone as either good or bad based on your perception, experience or views.
Of all the professions of men under the sun, being a judge is probably one of the hardest. This is so not because even the best of men is biased in one way or the other, and human judgement is always flawed. Matthew 7:3 states, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, and do not consider the plank in your own eye?”
Human judgments are hardly accurate and just. Often, most people are also guilty of that of which they judge others. Romans 2:1 tells us, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
Two Elements of Judging
There are two elements to judging righteously according to God’s standard: motive and action. For you to judge accurately, you must weigh not only the person’s actions, but also his motive. The intentions behind the person’s actions is more important and sets the right basis for judgement. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
As humans, it is difficult to know peoples’ motives and intentions, for we are so limited that we only see the outward (action). But God sees beyond that and looks into the heart (motive). First Samuel 16:7 states, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him, for the Lord does not see as men sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”
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Don’t Judge Others
James 4:11,12 tells us, “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”
If you find yourself judging people habitually, without knowing their motives or intentions, it is important for you to seek the Lord in prayer. Ask him to take that habit away from you. Having a critical spirit is not pleasing to God.
Why God Says Not to Judge
For Jesus’ sake.
John 5:22 states, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgement to the Son.” It is the Lord alone who judges righteously, for he alone knows the hearts of men and and their motives. Every time you judge people, you’re actually trying to question the qualifications of Jesus, to whom the Father has handed over all judgment. The ministry of judgment belongs to the Lord. It not your duty or responsibility to judge or condemn anyone for whom the Lord shed his blood.
Romans 14:10 tells us, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the seat of Christ.” He alone knows and understands human flaws, weaknesses and infirmities. What he requires from you is love and intercession.
Aiding the devil.
Revelation 12:10 says, “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame in by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.’” When you judge another, what actually happens in the spirit is that you are giving the accuser of the brethren a legal right to accuse that person before God.
The devil never misses an opportunity to accuse and oppose God’s children. It doesn’t matter to him whether the judgments are true or not! Remember he is the father of lies, malice and deception. We ought to be intercessors instead of judges of men’s faults and actions, for it is only “the judgments of the Lord that are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9).
Different human perspectives affect the way matters or people are judged. First Corinthians 13:9 says, “For we know in part.” No matter how much we think we know about other people, we are often wrong. Every human has a flaw, even you and I. We usually have blind spots, unless God’s Spirit reveals them to us. This is one of the reasons why we are unqualified to judge others.
Matthew 7:4 says, “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank in your own eye?” Have you ever imagined having a plank in your eye? That means you can’t see clearly, even when you think you can! So, you can’t see the speck in your brother’s eye clearly, even though you think you can.
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How to Correct Without Judging
When you believe someone is really wrong, don’t act on your assumption.
The way of the Lord is to first pray for him. Prayer creates room for God to begin his work in the life of that man. If you cannot pray for that person, at least don’t judge him. Remember that you also are human and prone to mistakes.
Speak the truth in love.
If God’s Spirit points out a person’s mistakes to you, it is not so that you might judge that person, but that you can pray. There are times God’s Spirit might ask you to discuss a sin, fault or mistake with someone. Yet this has to be done in a spirit of gentleness, speaking the truth in love.
Galatians 6:1 states, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” All righteous judgement can only come from Christ; and that is why the judgement seat of Christ is mentioned in the Scriptures (see 2 Corinthians 5:9,10). The right way to influence Him who sits on the judgement seat is by loving intercession. May this become our regular practice in our walk with God.
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Angela Lowe, MS. Ed., LPC
Angela Lowe is a licensed Professional Counselor, trained Biblical Counselor and certified Holistic Health Coach. Her kingdom mandate is to restore God’s counsel to transform lives, marriages, and churches worldwide.