Especially in our current culture, we hear a lot about judging others. Many times, Christians are told that we shouldn’t judge others because the Bible says not to.
However, is that truly what the Bible says? It can be confusing to know how Christians should handle this topic, but let’s see what the Bible says about it.
What God Says About Judging
What does God say about judging others?
One thing that God does mention a lot in His Word when it comes to judging others is that ultimately, He is the only judge. Since He is righteous, all-knowing, and good, we need to trust Him with judgment rather than taking it upon ourselves to judge people.
God also says that when we pass such judgment upon others, we are also passing it upon ourselves. Since Jesus calls us to do unto others as we would like them to do unto us, we are bringing condemnation upon ourselves when we condemn others and judge them.
All in all, God tells us that we should leave the judging to Him. After all, He will judge all of humanity at the end of time when we come to the judgment seat of Christ, and He will be a much better judge than any of us could ever hope to be!
What Does the Bible Say About Judging Fairly?
When the Holy Bible talks about judging, it almost always emphasizes that when one judges, they must judge fairly and not hypocritically.
This means that if you are going to judge someone, you need to take a look in the mirror first and judge yourself before you cast good judgment on someone else.
You must always keep in your own mind the wrongs that you have committed and the sins that you have been forgiven when you look at other people’s actions.
The key to having grace and judging fairly is to have a realistic view of yourself and what you have been forgiven. When you consider that first, you are much more likely to judge another person fairly and rightly with love.
Since we are called and made to reflect God and who He is, we must judge rightly and fairly as He judges rightly and fairly in all things.
Is It OK to Judge Others According to the Bible?
The question of whether it’s okay to judge others according to the Bible can be confusing because of the number of times where it seems like the Bible tells us not to judge whatsoever.
However, we are also meant as Christians to stand up for injustice and the truth, so we have to figure out what the Bible truly means when it uses the word “judge”.
In today’s culture, people will say that not being judgmental means that you need to approve and even celebrate the things that someone is doing. However, this is not what the Bible means when it tells us not to judge.
Instead, the Bible tells us that we should be pointing out things in other people’s lives that are not right according to Scripture.
However, we should do it in a way that isn’t hypocritical, and we should do it with love. You should stand up for the truth and you should help others along in their journeys with Christ, but you should do it the way Jesus would: with mercy and grace.
Bible Verses About Judging Others
What does the Bible say about judging others? Should we pass judgment on others, and if we should, how can we do it biblically? Here are some Bible verses that are about judging others.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” – Luke 6:37 [ESV]
This verse here in Luke seems to echo Jesus’ command to love others as you love yourself. Whatever judgment you pass onto another person, you are passing onto yourself.
If you forgive others, you will also be forgiven by them when you do them wrong.
Instead of judging people, we should spend much more time loving them and coming alongside them in life to bear their burdens with them and help them with whatever they are dealing with.
“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against 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 only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” – James 4:11-12 [ESV]
Instead of placing ourselves in the role of God as the judge, we should rather do the law ourselves and work on our relationships with God. James here calls us to not speak evil against one another, but rather allow God to pass judgment because only He can save or destroy people.
James’ words are notable because they show us that it is better to recognize your own sin and shortcomings than it is to point out someone else’s and speak evil about them.
“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man – you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself – that you will escape the judgment of God?” – Romans 2:1-3 [ESV]
Paul’s words here in his letter to the Romans are harsh! Each of us who judges has no excuse for doing so because we often do the very same things that we judge others for doing.
No one is without sin and when we condemn others for sin that we may very well have in our own lives, we are condemning ourselves in the process.
“Judge not, that you be not judged.” – Matthew 7:1 [ESV]
Jesus’ words here are clear. If you judge others, you will be judged as well. If you do not judge others, you will not be judged. If you do not want to be judged, you should not judge others!
Luckily, Jesus makes His point quite clear for us to understand. Again, He says, do unto others as you want others to do unto you. It’s a simple statement, but difficult to put into practice.
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” – Galatians 6:1 [ESV]
Many times, when someone around us is committing a sin or is caught in a sinful practice, our first reaction is to point the finger and judge that person. However, Paul instead calls us to restore them with gentleness.
To do this is to love them with mercy and grace rather than to judge them with harshness and malice. We must keep ourselves in love so that the situation does not become a stumbling block for us and we should do everything that we can to help people rather than judge them.
Bible Verses About Judging Righteously & Fairly
The Bible makes it clear that if we judge, we are to judge righteously and fairly as God Himself judges righteously and fairly. We can learn about judging righteously and fairly in the following verses.
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24 [ESV]
Especially in today’s culture, many judgments are passed purely on outward appearance. In the time of Christ Jesus, people would pass judgments on one another by what they were wearing or what kind of jewelry they had.
However, we are rather called to judge with righteous judgment, judgment from God, not judgment based on appearance.
“Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” – Proverbs 31:9 [ESV]
God calls us here in the book of wisdom to be bold about defending those who are in need. The Bible makes it very clear that we are called to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
However, we are called to do it righteously and fairly – according to God’s Word and standards, not our own.
“For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?” – 1 Corinthians 5:12 [ESV]
Rather than judging the outside world who are unbelievers in Christ, we should rather be much more concerned with those who are inside the church and claim to be believers.
When we allow church-goers and believers to act outside of what God has called believers to do because we are too busy judging the outside world, we taint the name of God and we allow others to take His name in vain.
We must rather those inside the church judge rightly and fairly to preserve the Gospel of Christ.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12 [ESV]
The author of Hebrews here gives us great insight into how we should judge. When we judge, we should judge according to the word of God because it is the only thing that pierces us to the division of soul and spirit.
It knows the purposes of the heart and it is a living word that does God’s work within us and those that we communicate it to.
This is the key to judging rightly and fairly because when God sets out to do something through His Word, it happens every time. No word of God comes back to Him without doing what it set out to do.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29 [ESV]
When we judge, we are called to judge in a way that builds up the person, not tears them down. We are called to give grace to others as fits the occasion. This means that we need to judge in a way that is righteous and loving, not harsh and evil. Grace triumphs over judgment.
Bible Verses About Judging Yourself
What about ourselves? Is there ever a time that we should judge ourselves? How do you go about judging yourself? Here are some Bible verses that talk about just that.
“For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:2 [ESV]
According to what Jesus says, when you pronounce judgment on someone else, you are actually judging yourself in the process! This should completely change the way that we judge others.
If you don’t want to pass judgment upon yourself, stop judging other people with an unbiblical standard or measure. Whatever measure you use will be measured to you as well.
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” – 2 Corinthians 13:5 [ESV]
The Bible does teach us that we should judge ourselves and test ourselves to make sure that we are in the faith. This means that we need to examine and judge our own lives to test whether we are producing good or bad fruit.
Those who are truly born again in our Lord Christ will be a good tree that produces good fruit. Those who are not born again, but merely false prophets and false believers will bear bad fruit or even no fruit at all. So, we should test ourselves and see if we meet the test.
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” – 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 [ESV]
This passage in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is specifically focused on the taking of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus makes a big deal about this act, so we must be careful that we approach it in the right way and manner.
Paul here says that we should judge ourselves before we participate in the Lord’s Supper so that we can make sure we are participating in a worthy manner. Otherwise, we are bringing the judgment of God upon ourselves by misusing it and mistreating it.
“But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” – 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 [ESV]
If we truly judged ourselves without bias and looked at ourselves in the mirror, then we would not need to be judged.
However, since we often ignore things about ourselves that need to change and we tend to forget about what Scripture says, the Lord disciplines us so that we can look more like His Son and live reflecting His eternal life.
When the Lord judges us, He does it in love and grace, putting things in our lives to help us to become the people He desires us to be. So, when you are disciplined by God, rejoice! He is helping you to become more like Him in your character.
“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:5 [ESV]
When you judge others, you must first judge yourself. Hypocritical judgment is what Jesus clearly warns against because we become blind to our own faults when we are so focused on everyone else’s faults.
We will often have a log in our own eye when there is only a speck of sawdust in our brother’s eye. Instead, we must first judge ourselves to see if we struggle with the same thing before we go to someone else so that we can pass righteous judgments on the way of a brother.
Bible Stories About Judging Others
The Parable About the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus told a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector who went to the temple to pray. The tax collector prayed to God, repentant of his sins and begging God for mercy, recognizing who he was and who God is.
However, the Pharisee prayed to God arrogantly, merely thanking God that he is not as lowly as the tax collector.
Clearly, the Pharisee was standing in judgment of the tax collector. In fact, the people listening to the parable were probably also judging the tax collector considering that such persons were among the most hated people at that time!
However, Jesus tells them that it was the tax collector who went home that day justified, not the Pharisee.
This parable teaches us that instead of comparing ourselves to one another and judging one another, we should rather be focused on ourselves, seeking to be right with God in light of our own sin. That is what brings true justification and forgiveness, not judging another person.
The Woman Caught in Adultery
In John 8:3-11, a story is told about the Pharisees, the teachers of the law, bringing a woman caught in adultery to Jesus to be stoned. According to the law, anyone caught in adultery was to be stoned, but Jesus responded in a way that shocked them all.
Instead of stoning the woman, he told the crowd that whoever was without sin should be the one to cast the first stone. Slowly, the crowd began to leave the scene because Jesus was teaching them that they were no better than her since they all had sin in their own lives.
He told the woman to go and sin no more and He taught us as well a valuable lesson: that mercy and love triumph over judgment within the kingdom of God.