Have you ever noticed how people who do not honor anything God says in His Word always seem to know the same verse? I’m not talking about John 3:16. They might know that verse as well, but that’s not the one they tend to quote the most often.
You can tell stubborn, rebellious individuals that the Word of God says not to forsake the assembling of themselves together, that they are supposed to witness to others, they are supposed to live sanctified, set-apart lives, that we’re not to give into gluttony, that we should not backbite or murmur or complain, etc.
No matter what scripture you use to point out any sin whatsoever, their response is always the same -“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
That verse is indeed in the Bible. It comes from Matthew 7:1. The way ungodly individuals use this verse is to tell others,
“You have no right to tell me what to do or what not to do. Don’t correct me. I can do whatever I please. God is my judge. Not you!”
Is that what the Word of God means when it says “Judge not, that ye be not judged?”
Does that mean the pastor or the preacher should never tell members of their congregation they are doing wrong? Does it mean that one brother in Christ shouldn’t tell another brother in Christ what he needs to do to grow closer to God? If that was the case, what would the point of preaching be? To preach on salvation every single church service and never to mention any other parts of the Bible?
Let’s look at the verse in its context.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote of thy brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5
In its context, this passage is saying a pot should never call a kettle black. In other words, if I rob banks on a daily basis, I have no business telling a child not to steal a piece of candy from the supermarket.
The passage does not say a person cannot tell another person about their sin. It says it’s more important for you to clean up your own life than it is to tell other people how to fix their own. It also says “first cast out the beam out of thine own eye” – indicating it is okay to judge another, but first we must judge ourselves.
Have you ever read John 7:24 where the Bible says, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment?”
Righteous judgment is judgment based upon the Word of God. This passage says we, the Christian people, are to judge using righteous judgment. If I see a brother or a sister in Christ doing something that goes against the Word of God, it would be righteous judgment for me to point that out to them. The same is true when the shoe is on the other foot. If I am outside of God’s will and you have scriptures to support that, tell me about it. I need to know. There is nothing wrong with judging as long as the judge is using righteous judgment!
People need to be careful how they interpret scripture. That is what happens with Matthew 7:1 all of the time. People who know nothing about God’s Word take one verse that they have heard and believe they know what it means.
You see, the Bible says,
“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” – Isaiah 28:10
If a person just takes a verse from scripture but doesn’t understand the things of God by reading the entire Word of God, they are going to misapply the scriptures 90% of the time. Before telling people not to judge, please make sure you have done a thorough study of the idea of judging as its defined in the Bible.