Why it's not always wrong for a Christian to judge others

Proverbs 31:9 "Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy."Pixabay

"Do not judge" is one of the best known teachings from the Bible.

Some believers say these three words whenever someone, fellow Christians in particular, attempts to correct someone in the wrong or a wrong line of thinking.

Society also says it's wrong to judge others. Society says it's always wrong to make negative comments or have negative personal observations about others, even if these comments and observations are actually based on truths and facts.

"That's wrong," they simply say.

But it's deeper than that.

Judging others

When someone judges another, we usually think of the one judging as passing off their viewpoint based on personal bias.

We do this when we fail to know the person, fail to get our facts straight about them, and allow our own personal biases color how we see them.

Because such behavior often leads to sinful prejudice and unfair perceptions of others, we tend to think that it's always wrong to judge people. We think that God, the Just Judge, always forbids us from judging as He is the only one worthy and righteous enough to judge.

While God is indeed the only one who can judge in righteousness and purity, we are actually taught to learn to judge like He does. 1 Corinthians 6:1-3 tells us of the importance of learning to judge righteously,

"Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?"

Based on this passage, it's not wrong to judge others, if the purpose is right. What is "judging" anyway?

According to Webster's 1828 dictionary, to "judge" means "To discern; to distinguish; to consider accurately for the purpose of forming an opinion or conclusion."

It simply means that when we judge someone, we try to accurately form the right opinion or view about a person based on the evidence that we have. Judging someone does not automatically mean passing a negative statement over them to label them in a bad way, based on our own personal biases.

So, is judging others wrong?

It's wrong when we do it to label or attack another person, whether that person is a fellow Christ-follower or not. More so if we simply want to project ourselves as better than others. The Lord Jesus Himself said,

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." (Matthew 7:1-2)

But when the purpose is to know right from wrong and know how to deal with an issue the good and Godly way, then it's not. Hebrews 5:14 tells us,

"But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."