Many Christians read Matthew 7:1 and conclude that we should not judge one another. But that’s not the case, as 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 tells us to judge sin when we find it among fellow Christians: “Do you not judge those who are inside? ... Therefore, put away from yourselves that wicked person” (1 Cor. 5:12-13). The verses above are not saying we should not judge; they are warning that when we do judge, we are subject to the same standard we use to judge others. The Lord wants self-examination. His real concern is not with judging, but with hypocrisy – judging another’s speck while overlooking our own plank. He wants honesty. He hates lying, and hypocrisy is a form of lying (Prov. 6:16-17; 1 Tim. 4:2). If we judge ourselves, our hearts will be more tender, our attitude kinder and our approach gentler, because we will know all too well the pain of self-judgment.
Romans 14:13 gives us a helpful starting point: “Let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” We should begin by judging ourselves, then by doing everything possible to keep others from falling. But what should our response be when someone does fall? “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” (Gal. 6:1). This is what the Lord wants from us.
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org