Does The Bible Say Not To Judge

We live in a society that is deeply divided on many subjects. Religion is one of these topics, and this has caused much conflict among followers of different faith traditions. One of the most commonly debated aspects of religious beliefs is the issue of judging others. Does the Bible say not to judge?

The answer to this question depends on how “judgment” is defined. Generally, it is referring to judging someone’s character or behaviour rather than simply making an informed decision on a matter. In essence, it is about having an opinion about someone that colours our view of them without all the facts being taken into account.

Complicating the issue is the fact that the Bible does actually mention judgment in several places. In the Old Testament, for example, God commanded the Israelites to judge carefully and justly in the court of law (Deuteronomy 16:18–20). This instruction was clearly in the context of making decisions, not expressing opinions.

However, there are also passages in the Bible that can be seen as cautioning against judging others. In Luke 6:37, Jesus says “do not judge, and you will not be judged”. This has been widely interpreted as a commandment to refrain from judging others in any way, from making unthoughtful evaluations of people to having preconceptions about their character.

The various interpretations of these verses by scholars and theologians show that this is an area where there is disagreement. Some, like Richard J. Foster, suggest that Jesus is encouraging people not to make “accusatory judgments of other people” where the accuser assumes they are aware of the other person’s motivations and intentions. Foster suggests that this is not always possible and Jesus is instead teaching people to be more humble and understanding of others’ situations.

Others, like Pastor Jack Wellman, would argue that Jesus’s command has always to be taken in the context of pure and balanced judgments. He believes that Jesus was not discouraging people from making judgments altogether, but from making “unrighteously injurious judgments” of people’s character.

It is clear, therefore, that the Bible does not necessarily outlaw all judgment, but that it does caution against making hasty, unbalanced or unfounded judgments of others. It encourages us to think carefully before we speak and to recognise that we may not have all the information necessary to make a valid judgment about an individual. Instead, it teaches us to be humble, understanding and kind in the way we treat others.

The Role of Love in Judging Fairly

When looking at the question of whether or not the Bible says not to judge, we must also take into account the role of love in our interactions with others. The Bible commands us to love one another as Christ loved us, which calls us to look out for the best interests of our neighbor (John 13:34). This means that when making decisions (i.e. judgments) about someone else, we should be doing it with love. Love should be our underlying motivation and compass.

When we judge in a loving way, we extend grace and mercy to others, which is what Jesus taught us to do. It does not mean that we will ignore wrongdoings, but simply that we will approach them from a place of compassion, understanding and kindness. We will recognize that every individual is unique and deserving of respect and will take all the relevant facts into account before making any conclusions.

Sadly, it is often easier for us to make malicious judgments than to strive for fairness and justice. But we are called to do the hard work of loving and understanding our neighbor, no matter the circumstances. We must remember that God is a just and righteous judge, and that we should strive to emulate his example.

The Danger of Making Unjust Judgments

When we make hasty or poorly informed judgments of someone else, we run the risk of causing them a great deal of harm. Our judgments can affect how they are seen by others and can even lead to their exclusion from certain circles. This is why the Bible tells us to be wary of what we say and how we make decisions about the people around us.

One of the most harmful consequences of judging others is that it can lead to conflict, hurt feelings and bitterness. It can erode relationships and create divisions between communities. We should, therefore, be careful with our words and to not allow ourselves to go too far in our assessments of others.

In addition, making judgments about someone without listening to their side of the story can be damaging for our spiritual life. We must remember that we are not in a position to fully understand a person and their situation, and so should not assume that we have all the facts before making any decisions. Rather, we should take the time to listen to their story and attempt to better understand their perspective.

We can only begin to understand the complexities of the human experience if we are kindly, merciful and understanding in our approach. Judging in an uncharitable manner can only lead to animosity, bitterness and resentment.

Discernment Instead of Judgment

In tricky situations, it can be tempting to make snap judgments of others, but this is often not constructive or helpful. Instead, we should strive to be discerning, rather than judgmental. This means taking into account all the facts and perspectives, listening to the views of those involved and considering all outcomes.

Discernment requires a great deal of patience and understanding, but it is something we should all strive for. We must remember that we will always be limited in our understanding of others, and so should approach every situation with humility.

Discernment also goes beyond simply making decisions; it encourages us to think deeply and prayerfully about the implications of our choices and to seek the counsel of wise individuals. As Jesus said, we should ask for wisdom (James 1:5); this is the key to finding the best outcome.

When we are discerning rather than judgmental, we remain open to considering all points of view and look for constructive solutions. This approach can help diffuse difficult situations and foster better relationships between all parties.

Not Passing Judgment on Others’ Beliefs

It is clear that the Bible does not advocate for us to pass judgment on others’ beliefs, either in an open or a covert way. We are not in a position to know all the facts and, even if we think we do, we should not be so quick to act on our assumptions.

The Bible instructs us to respect one another, whatever their religious background. It teaches us that we should strive for unity and understanding and to use our knowledge to build bridges between our communities, not walls. We should make every effort to extend grace and mercy to our neighbors and to remember that religious beliefs are often deeply held and personal.

We should also recognise that it is not our job to police how people practice their faith. We should respect the right of others to pursue their spiritual interests without interference, provided it is not causing harm to themselves or others. We should remember to be humble in our beliefs and to err on the side of grace and mercy.

Our Own Responsibilities in Showing Mercy

Ultimately, we all have a responsibility to show mercy and to be charitable in our judgments of others. We are all flawed and broken in some way; we are all sinners in need of forgiveness. Therefore, it is important for us to remember our own brokenness and to strive for understanding and compassion in the way we interact with our neighbor.

As Christians, we are commanded to love one another, even if we do not agree on all issues. Instead of judging harshly or speaking ill of those with different beliefs or lifestyles, we should look for ways to bridge the gaps between us and to work together for common good. We should set aside our differences and strive for peace and harmony in our society.

We must also remember that, ultimately, judgment is the Lord’s. We are instructed not to judge others with our own standards, but rather to let God be the judge of His children. It is not our place to make decisions or pass judgment on people; we should pray for understanding and knowledge and allow God to do the rest.

The Need for Compassion and Loving Judgment

In conclusion, although the Bible does mention judgement in a few places, its primary message is that we should be cautious in our judgments and strive to extend grace and mercy to others. Whenever we make decisions or evaluate someone’s actions or beliefs, we must learn to do it with a spirit of love and understanding.

Rather than passing harsh judgments on others or making assumptions about their character, we should remember our own imperfections and seek to show true compassion and charity. Ultimately, the Bible teaches us that we should approach every situation with an open mind, a humble heart and a spirit of charity.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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