Is It Ever Okay to Judge Another Person?

A Little Lesson

Read the transcript of this video below.

Jesus said “Do not judge,” so is there ever a time when it’s okay to judge another person?

Picture of woman feeling judged by others

Hi. Welcome to this edition of Little Lessons. Thank you so much for joining me. This is another special farm field edition and this is the last day of August and it’s a rather sultry evening, I might add, as I’m recording this Little Lesson. I’m being inundated with little tiny bugs. In some part of the country, they call them no-see-ums because they’re so hard to see and sometimes they bite you and you don’t even see them coming. If you see me battling some bugs tonight, you’ll understand why. We’ve been working our way through the sermon on the mount. So far, we’ve covered Matthew Chapter Five, Matthew Chapter Six, and we’re about to embark on Matthew Chapter Seven.

Which begins with perhaps some of the most famous words of Jesus even nonbelievers often quote this particular passage or at least paraphrase it where Jesus said in Matthew Chapter Seven in verse number one “Do not judge,” that’s usually what most people remember, “so that you will not be judged.” Once again, Jesus is giving us reasons for what we do. He’s not just a dictator who says I’m going to tell you what to do and you better do it and it doesn’t make a difference whether you understand. No. No. Jesus loves us. God loves us. That’s the whole reason he’s giving us commandments because he wants us to be blessed. We don’t want to be judged in the negative sense obviously. Jesus is telling us how to avoid being judged.

“Don’t judge so that you will not be judged,” so there. You can be thinking about yourself, how much you don’t want to be judged, and just think about that for a second and say “Well, Jesus doesn’t want me to be judged either by other people or perhaps by God.” We’ll have to explore exactly what Jesus is talking about as far as avoiding judgment ourselves by not judging others. This is a great commandment. Let’s see if we can figure out what Jesus is trying to say to us so that we can experience the blessing of obedience because there is always an automatic blessing with obedience because all of God’s commandments stem from his love for us. You’ll be seeing that over and over again in the Sermon on the Mount.

I just absolutely love this sermon and I love the guy who gave the sermon, Jesus Christ, the son of God. “Do not judge lest so that you will not be judge.” Here’s how to avoid judgment, don’t judge. Oftentimes when people say don’t judge or don’t judge me, what they really are meaning if you break it down is they’re saying don’t misjudge me because we’d all like to be, I think for the most part, at least if we’re Christians trying to serve the Lord, we like to judged by people as being people who are trying to follow Jesus. I’d like for people to think that about me. Wouldn’t you like people to think that about you? I don’t want people to misjudge me. I don’t want to people to use the expression pass judgment on me, which usually implies that they’re coming to conclusion with really inconclusive evidence.

Misjudging me. Taking maybe some of the facts, but not considering all of the facts and coming to the wrong conclusion. We’re so thankful that God never misjudges us because he knows all the facts, unlike all the rest of us who are making observations and making appraisals and so forth of situations and of people. Now, I don’t think that Jesus was talking here about making appraisals of people. I say that because what Jesus said here was not said in a vacuum. He didn’t just come down from Heaven, say this verse, and beam back up to Heaven. It was said within the context of the entire Sermon on the Mount and it was said within the context of a passage that all the verses are related.

The very next verse we begin to get some insight as to what Jesus is really addressing here. He says “For in the way you judge, you will be judged and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Now, here’s one reason not to judge. When we hold people to a certain standard, well then, of course, other people hold us to that standard. That’s only right if we’re holding people to a certain standard, it should only be a standard that we ourselves meet because we’re holding ourselves to it. It would be hypocritical to hold other people to a standard to which I don’t hold myself. People intuitively know that. You and I intuitively know that. Of course, God knows that and he’s warning us.

I think this is on every level. Not just the divine, but also on the earthly level. When we hold people to a certain standard, people hold us to that same standard. Same with God. When we hold people to a certain standard, God says “Okay. That’s the standard you’re setting. All right. I guess you’re going to live up to it yourself, so I’ll hold you to that standard.” There’s a good motivation to not be so judgmental as we often talk about where you’re always finding fault with people because you expect them to do better than what they’re doing. You think about so much of the criticism that is leveled is leveled by people who don’t really have a right to level that criticism because they’re guilty of the same things that they condemn others for.

Paul talks about that in the first couple chapters of Roman. You’re self condemned because you judge other people all the time. You say “That’s wrong. That’s wrong. They’re doing wrong,” but, yet, you, yourself are guilty of the same thing. I think perhaps one place where you find that an awful lot, and this is why I can’t indulge in this myself, would be what’s commonly referred to as talk radio. I’m swishing a fly off my screen here. People call in talk radio shows and they just complain and gripe and moan and groan and talk about what’s wrong with this person. The sports shows are perhaps the most interesting because all of these armchair quarterbacks, all of these Monday morning quarterbacks who if you put them on the field, they’d be a pancake within seconds.

They’d be dead within seconds. They are finding fault what the quarterback did wrong, what the coach did wrong. You just think “What team were you coaching? Let’s look at your record,” so that we can be persuaded that you have the right to be condemning others. That’s part of what Jesus is talking about. Then in the very next verse, we get more insight as to what he’s talking about. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eyes, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? That’s what we’ve been talking about, finding fault with people when you have no right. Turn the spotlight on yourself. Anytime that we see something, a shortcoming or a failure or something that we think that we ought to criticize in somebody else, just take a pause and think about what Jesus said here about finding fault and being the judge.

Again, when you go to a judge in court, let’s say you got a traffic violation or something. Let’s say you protest it and you go to court for speeding. I’m just making something out of a hat. Well, if that judge is going to slap a fine on you and uphold the verdict of the policeman who gave you the speeding ticket that you’re objecting to, well, that judge ought not to be speeding home. What right does he have to condemn me when he himself is guilty of the same thing? You follow what I’m saying? Here’s something that’s so common in the human experience, finding fault with other people. Jesus said stop and think about that because other people are going to hold you to the standard that you’re preaching, holding others to.

Guess what? So is God. All right. Well, that’s all the time we have for this Little Lesson. Thank you so much for joining me. God bless you.