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The Bible does indeed tell us not to judge.  Matthew 7:1 says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”  What do you think about when you hear the word ‘judge’?  Do you have the image of people looking down and condemning others because of their lifestyles or habits?  Do you think of some self-righteous people thinking they are better than others and criticizing others that don’t live by their standards?  On the other hand, some people might do things that they know they shouldn’t be doing, but then tell others, “Don’t judge me.  You have no right to judge me.”

While it is true that Matthew 7:1 tells us we should not judge, there is another thought that we need to consider.  1 Corinthians 5:12 says, “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?”  Here the Apostle Paul is writing to the Corinthians concerning a terrible sin that a man among them was committing.  Paul told the Corinthians that they needed to judge that man for his sin.

So, how are we supposed to understand this?  Should we judge, or shouldn’t we?  Yes and no!  We should never develop a judgmental attitude where we look down on people as if we are better than they.  We are to be humble and consider others to be better than ourselves, as we read in Philippians 2:3 – “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

What if I see a brother or sister in the Lord doing things that they should not be doing?  Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”  We are to reach out to that person and try to help him be restored to the Lord so that he will stop doing the wrong things.  But, isn’t it true that we have to judge that the person is doing something wrong before we try to help him?  We do need to judge in that way.  We need to be taught in the Word of God so that we truly know the difference between right and wrong and then stand up for what is right.  Is getting drunk against the law?  No, in most cases it’s not.  But is it against the Word of God?  Yes it is.  Ephesians 5:18 clearly states, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”  So, if I see my brother has gotten drunk, I judge that he has done wrong.  Now, I am instructed in Galatians 6:1 to try to restore him to the Lord.  I have judged his sin, but I have not developed the attitude that I am better than him.

I do get upset when I see people living all kinds of lifestyles that are contrary to and condemned by the Word of God, but their attitude is, “Don’t judge me.”  Here, we are called upon to judge right from wrong, good from evil.  For the benefit of that person, we need to try to minister God’s Word to them that they might be freed from sinful lifestyles.

There is one person that we need to judge continually.  For this person, we need to make sure he or she is living the life the Lord would have them to live.  We need to accept no excuses from this person for bad behaviors or lifestyles.  Who is that person?  1 Corinthians 11:31 says, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”  Before we look upon the sins of others, we need to look at ourselves first.  We need to be very critical of ourselves to make sure we are walking in the truth of the Word of God.  Then we will be able to minister to the needs of others who are not walking in the truth.  We first looked at Matthew 7:1, let’s now look at Matthew 7:1-5 to get a better perspective on the context of the portion.  It say, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 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? 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.”  We judge ourselves first so that we might properly judge others.  Not so we can condemn them, but so we can minister to them.