Whether you are a life-long follower of Christ or new to Team Jesus, you’ve most likely come across at least a few overly judgmental Christians. This week, I had the pleasure of having an interaction with one of them and it actually sent me on quite the journey through my Bible (OK, my Bible app) to validate what I knew to be correct and according to God’s word. What does the Bible say about judging others?
The Bible actually has quite a lot to say on this topic! It isn’t even something that you need to read between the lines to figure out! How do so many get it wrong?
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What Does the Bible Say About Judging Others
I want to preface this by saying that I know I’m not the perfect Christian – there is actually no such thing. I’m a sinner the same as you and am so grateful for God’s grace every single day. I also know that I can only attempt to live as best as I can in a way that honors Him. But at the end of each day, I know that I am still a sinner and that I will fall victim to my sinful nature – and that He still forgives and loves me.
So what does the Bible say about judging others? While I did find many Bible quotes about judging others, this one seems to be the most to-the-point of them all. Even without reading any others, this one clears up the answer to the question:
“Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?”James 4:11-12 NLT
We are not called to judge one another. The only judge is God himself and by judging others, you are clearly defying His word.
God is the Only Judge
While we may be tempted to pass judgment on others because of their individual sins, the Bible is very clear that we should not. Our only job is to share the Good news of Christ. We are not tasked with being the “Bible-enforcers” or anything like that. We are simply to show others what it means to be a Christian – a follower of Christ – through love and compassion.
Since we are all sinners in our own way – each of us sinning in some way or another – how can we judge another for theirs? In the end, we will all be judged by God and be required to give an account of our time here on earth.
We are All Sinners
I’ve had someone tell me that if a person continues to sin, they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But this statement isn’t entirely accurate because if it were, not a single one of us would get into Heaven. No matter our good deeds, no matter how “sin-less” we try to live our life, we will never become completely sinless. Only Jesus walked this earth free from sin! And only He can save us.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
To inherit the Kingdom of God, one only needs to have a direct conversation with Him – asking Him to come into your heart. And although you confess to living the rest of your life for Jesus, you will still fall victim to your human nature – sin.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 ESV
Sin has no grading scale. In human standards, yes, certain things such as murder are considered much worse than others such as lying or cheating. But in God’s eyes, all sins are equal. You can’t say your sin is far less than someone else’s because it just isn’t true. The only unforgivable sin is to not accept the gift of eternal salvation through Jesus (so if you are a Christ-follower this one isn’t relevant to you). Everything else is seen equally by God.
Befriending Another Sinner
It saddens me when I hear of someone who is lost being treated with disdain like they are less than human because of their particular sin. It saddens me, even more, when the church makes them feel unwelcome because the church is where the lost are supposed to turn to.
I know there was a time when I quickly passed judgment on others and to be honest, I still do sometimes without even realizing it – because we are all human and subject to our sinful human nature. But I do try to make more of a conscious effort to stop myself and see them through the eyes of Jesus and not my own.
Those who are the furthest from sin need us to befriend and love them most! No one ever came to be a Christ follower because someone bullied them into it! I’ve mentioned before about the man from my church. He came to my church at a very low point in his life. At the time, he was the manager of a strip club and had issues with drinking and other indulgences.
Over time, he started serving and took major notice that not a single person from the church condemned him for his lifestyle. No one ever said, if you are going to serve with us you must stop with your sinful activities. No. They simply welcomed him to the family and served right alongside him. Because of that showing of the true nature of God’s love, he understood what grace was really about.
He made the choice – on his own – to find a new job in a more desirable (and less sinful) environment, and to stop with the other sinful things he’d been doing. He also made the decision to get baptized!
Had anyone from the church been judgmental or condemned him for his sinful choices, he most likely would not have returned and would have continued with his sinful ways. Our LOVE is what helped him turn away from sin – not our judgmental words.
Bible Verses About Judgement
As we dive into the Word, there is quite a bit of Scripture about judgement and judging others.
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2 NASB
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into a lap of good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:37-38 NASB
“Therefore you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment, for that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?” Romans 2:1-3 NLT
“But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Romans 14:10 NKJV
No matter how hard we strive to be sinless in our actions, we have a sinner’s heart. Only God can see our true motives. And only He can pass judgment on us.
“For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:4-5 ESV
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 CSB
God Wants Harmony, Not Judgement
When well-meaning Christians attack and judge others, it creates the opposite of harmony. It creates a toxic environment for everyone and is definitely not pleasing to God.
Romans 12 (below) talks about living in harmony with one another. When well-meaning Christians attack and judge others, it creates the opposite of harmony. It creates a toxic environment for everyone and is definitely not pleasing to God.
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:16-18 ESV
Some may ask how to live peacefully with others who are clearly and blatantly going against God’s word. I can only say that just because your sins aren’t blasted for all to see doesn’t make them any less in God’s eyes!
The way to help others leave their sinful ways isn’t to preach and bully them. Imagine an overweight person being told they are fat. Is that going to help them change and get healthy or lose weight? Not at all. Chances are it will actually fuel their food addiction to cause more weight gain.
Instead of preaching from a self-righteous pedestal, simply show others the way through your own actions and words – through love and compassion. Surround them with encouragement and acceptance. You accept them just as Jesus accepted you. Show them through your actions on how to escape the bondage of their sins. You can’t just tell them they are sinners and expect them to be like “ok, let me fix that for you!”. Following God and living a life for Him is a heart decision made from seeing how wonderful the new life is.
There should never be any question as to what the Bible says about judging others. The only question should be how many ways can I show someone God loves them!
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