“And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do (judge) in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.” – 2 Chronicles 19:9
All too often we hear the unsaved and unlearned spouting off this concept that the bible says not to judge. Obviously these people are unaware that an entire book of the bible is titled “Judges“. Or that the bible is clear that not only are we to judge, but exactly how we are to do it. They also fail to realize that the whole point of our human existence is to train us to be good judges. This life is a bit of a job interview, God is watching to see who will make the cut and be fit for a very important task to come.
“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” – 1 Corinthians 6:2-3
The bible gives very clear instructions on how Christians are to judge. First, they are to judge righteously. The word “righteous” means “right standing with God”. Therefore to judge with righteous judgment means to judge by what God deems right and not by what we think is right, and what God says is right is clearly laid out in scripture. Therefore, the Bible is the ultimate authority on righteous judgments. Anything not clearly stated in scripture should be brought before God in prayer and supplication, seeking His will, wisdom, justice, and instructions and not our own.
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” – John 7:24
Always judge by evidence and not emotion. Never trust how something looks on the surface, for the devil is a master deceiver. When in doubt, examine the fruits. Look at the works that the persons life produces. If what is in them is good and lines up with the word and will of God, then what comes out of them will be good and will line up with the word and will of God also.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7:15-20
Secondly, Christians are to judge non-hypocritically. This is kind of a mute point since if you’re a hypocrite, then you’re not really a Christian. However, it warrants clarifying since the very verse used by hypocrites (often claiming to be Christians) to hypocritically judge true Christians for judging righteously (which God commands them to do) is really a warning not to do what they are doing, with the very verse they are doing it with.
Matthew 7 gives us the famous and nearly always only partially quoted, “Judge Not”, message. However, when read in context it’s clear that Christ was talking to hypocrites who were judging others when they themselves were guilty of far worse things. They were judging by their own righteousness and not by God’s righteousness, and therefore damning themselves. The passage clearly states that they had a beam of sin in their own eye while trying to remove a splinter from someone else’s eye. However, Christ tells them that if they will remove the beam (or sin) from their own life, then they will see clearly to judge righteously and be able to help remove the sin from others lives also. This passage does not say not to judge, it says not to judge if you are in sin because you can not judge righteously, only hypocritically heaping more judgment on yourself. Yet once the sin is removed then, and only then, can one see clearly the will of God and judge righteously.
“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 brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:5
Third, they are to judge honestly with great reverence and humility. Never arrogant, prideful, or puffed up. Sorrowful over sin, disgusted over deceit, and rejoicing over repentance. They are to never take the judgments of the Lord lightly, baring the burden of it in total obedience to the word and will of God with fear and trembling. Never casting judgment of their own, not respecting persons because of who they are, or taking bribes, not excusing sin for any reason or reward, but seeking God’s judgments only and proclaiming that which He deems right and just that we always be in right standing with Him and our judgements be righteous judgment. Not of our own righteousness, but of His.
“And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.” – 2 Chronicles 19:6-7
No matter how much we try to silence it or hide from it, know that no one can escape judgement. We will all face it one way or the other, for scripture tells us that in the end we will all be judged according to our works. Better to face it now unto repentance then later unto damnation.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” – Revelation 20:12
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7:15-20