In this light let’s explore the famous verse, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). This verse is usually used to mean, “mind your own business and don’t tell me what to do!” Keep in mind that if someone accuses you of judging them they have made two judgments for your one. They judged you as being judgmental and they have judged judgmentalism to be wrong plus they are being hypocritical for telling you that you are wrong for doing that which they are doing to you.
But judge not, that you be not judged is not the whole thought that is being presented to us since the whole passage states, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you judge, you will be judged; with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:1-2). Therefore, if we judge righteously we will be judged righteously. A paraphrase of the though may be something to the likes of, “Don’t judge other in a way that you wouldn’t want to be judged yourself.” This seems an accurate paraphrase particularly in light of when Jesus again discussed judgment, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven (Luke 6:37).
We also know that we are called to righteous judgment, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
We are warned against hypocritical judgment, “Therefore you are without excuse, O man, everyone who judges; for in that in which you judge another, you condemn yourself, for you who judge do the same things” (Romans 2:1).
We are clearly called to discern, test, and judge, prophets, spirits and all things, “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge” (1st Corinthians 14:29).
One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is “discerning of spirits” (1st Corinthians 12:10).
“Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1st Thessalonians 5:19-22).
We cannot judge the motivation of a person’s heart only God knows the heart, “for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts” (1st Chronicles 28:9).
Ultimately God is the judge, “…He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained” (Acts 17:31).
Jesus calls us to judge our own conflicts rather than going before the courts, “And why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? For as you go with your adversary to the judge, give pains in the way to be set free from him, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer cast you into the prison. (Luke 12:57-58).
Moreover, we are called to judge doctrine and hold false teachers accountable by making them known by name:
“But if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
“And their messages will spread like cancer. Hymenaus and Philetus are of this sort” (2nd Timothy 2:17).
“Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works” (2nd Timothy 4:14).
“I wrote to you in my epistle no to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person” (1st Corinthians 5:9-13).