Withholding judgement when someone does something that we don't agree with or makes a choice that conflicts with our beliefs isn't easy. Even if we don't voice our judgement to the person that we've taken issue with, attempts to bottle it up usually result in us conveying it in other ways – silent treatment, the "I'm not angry, just disappointed" face or a gossip with a friend.
But are Christians really forbidden from passing judgement? A surface reading of some Bible verses can lead the reader to think that this is the case, but a deeper and more extensive review of all the relevant Bible verses reveals the answer isn't as clear cut as some of us might think.
If you've ever been confused about what the Bible says about the validity of expressing critical opinions about someone, how you should articulate your judgement and if you should articulate it at all, these nine Bible verses will provide you with a starting point for developing your understanding and discerning the truth.
Leviticus 19:15 - Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly.
Proverbs 31:9 - Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Matthew 7:5 - You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
Luke 6:37 - Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
John 8:7 - When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."
James 4:11-12 - Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgement on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbour?
Romans 14:3 - The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.
Romans 14:10 - You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God's judgement seat.
1 Corinthians 6:1-2 - If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgement instead of before the Lord's people? Or do you not know that the Lord's people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?
Galatians 6:1-2 - Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.