The topic of judging has been brought up in this forum, so I thought I would repost here an article I wrote several years ago. It always bothers me that people always run to Matthew 7:1 to justify any sin that they happen to be committing. Many people flout the Bible's teachings on morality, and then defend their actions from correction by repeating 'Judge not, lest ye be judged'. Did Jesus intend this verse to be a cover for people to hide sin behind? What does the Bible teach about the Christian and judging? Any discussion of this topic should begin with a definition of what judging is. The definition of judging can vary slightly depending on the context that the word is used in. Definitions of the word 'judge'. 1. To compare facts or ideas, and perceive their agreement or disagreement, and thus to distinguish truth from falsehood. 2. To form an opinion. 3. to pass sentence. 4. To discern; to distinguish, to consider accurately for the purpose of forming an opinion or conclusion. The most popular (and abused) passage in the NT on judging is Matt. 7:1-5. 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 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? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. According to Noah Webster(a Christian and a Bible translator), judging in the context of Matthew 7:1 means, 'To censure rashly; to pass severe sentence'. Obviously this is different than the above definitions. This puts things in a different perspective. Jesus is not telling anyone not to subject a doctrine or a lifestyle to examination and discern it's rightness; he is telling us not to rashly pass sentence on another person. Especially not in a context of hypocrisy. An example of this would be Shakespeare's play, Measure for Measure, where a ruler sentences a man to death for committing fornication, while that same ruler is trying to lure the guilty man's sister into bed. Romans 2:1 speaks of this kind of judgment. 1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. Again Jesus is not telling us not to correct a fault in others, but rather to make sure we are not guilty in that area before we do. 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Thus we see that we are allowed to help a brother to clear his eyesight, if we make sure our eyesight is clear in that matter first. As the passage is usually interpreted, no one should ever correct any false doctrine, or condemn any behaviour as being wrong. This passage is one of fallen man's favorite Bible passages to provide a justification for his sins. If you tell someone to stop committing fornication or to stop getting drunk (just a couple of examples), you are greeted with 'Judge not lest ye be judged'. This is clearly not the sense that Jesus intended this passage to be took. For we read further down in verses 15-20: 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. It is clear from this passage that we ARE to judge in the sense of having discernment. This is common sense. This kind of judging is necessary in every day life. How else are we not to judge? Romans 14:1, 3, 13 1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. We are not to judge believers over legitimate areas of disagreement where there is not an express command from scripture. In this instance it is about observing days or eating certain foods. In non essential matters such as these we are not to pass judgement on a brother who has a different practice than we. But as Christians, we have an obligation to judge when it comes to discerning. I Cor. 2:14,15 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. We see here that Christians are to judge in spiritual matters. This is necessary if we are to avoid false doctrines and practices. We have an obligation to judge and discipline sinful behavior in the Church, while we leave those outside the church to God's judgment. I Cor. 5:11-13 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. Also, the Church has an obligation to judge and settle disputes between believers. This does not hardly ever occur today; and it should. I Cor. 6:1-5 1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren And as Christians we should practice self judgment. I Cor. 11:31,32 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. If we judge ourselves when we sin, then God does not have to judge us. When we refuse to acknowledge our sins, then God must chasten us for our own good.