How Can I Stop Judging People? Answers From the Bible

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

It’s so easy for us to judge people, even in the church, so how can Christians learn to stop judging people?

Judge Not

It’s so easy for us to judge people, even in the church, so how can Christians learn to stop judging people? Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt 7:1), but what did He mean by saying that? We are not to judge people in the sense of condemning them or judging them unworthy of heaven, but we still must make judgments every day. We check to see if we have enough gas to make a trip, we check to see if the milk in the fridge is expired, so we make judgments every day about many things, but Jesus is telling us to not judge people in a condemning way. If we do, then “the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (Matt 7:2).

Judging by Appearances

We can so easily miss-judge people or make wrong judgments about people by appearances. I am reminded of a small town that hired a new pastor and two ladies saw the pastor going into a bar and when he came out, he was staggering. These two ladies made an instant judgment that the new pastor was a drunk, but they didn’t judge correctly. They also gossiped about him to others in the town. It became a near-scandal. They judged by sight and that’s not safe to do. Later they found out that he could not walk very well because he had muscular dystrophy and in the door to the bar there was a staircase and he had gone up to talk to a prospective church member , so he never actually went into the bar. To their embarrassment, they could not have been more wrong because they judged according to appearances.

This is why Jesus warned us about miss-judging others when He said, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24). Here, Jesus says we can make judgments but they must be right judgments and we must have all the facts to do that. To make a righteous judgment is to make a judgment that is lined up with Scripture and by getting all the facts straight. We make right decisions because we base our decisions upon the Bible. We do not judge people; God will do that, although judgment does begin in the church or house of God.

Judgement in the Church

Pastor Jack’s Church, is the Heritage Church, Udall, KS

In regards to making judgments, the Apostle Peter said, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God” (1 Pet 4:17)? Matthew 18:15-20 shows we must make judgments of people inside the church but not outside. God will judge them. We are not to judge the lost sinners. We can make judgments about whether they are saved or not and then share Christ, but to go out into the world to judge sinners is wrong. Without the Holy Spirit they can’t even know the things of God. The Apostle Paul said, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14). It would be like trying to judge a blind person because they can’t see and sinners have been blinded to the gospel (2 Cor 4:1-4), so they can’t help it! Unless they receive the Holy Spirit, they are not able to discern God’s Word and that they are sinners (which most deny).

Biblical Discipline

Jesus gave us the prescribed and biblical way to enforce discipline within the church. Our Lord said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matt 18:15). We should go in private and not bring a posse with us at first, “But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses” (Matt 18:16). Why bring someone else or two others with you (and no more than two)? It’s because we might be wrong! Others may see we are mistaken and shouldn’t have even brought up the subject, however, if there is serious sin in a church member’s life, and “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matt 18:17).

Stop Judging

“I saw a great white throne…”

So how can we learn to stop judging people? We must understand our judging of people in the world is not our call. That’s God’s work (Rev 20:12-15). We must also realize they’ve been blinded by the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4) so they really can’t help themselves with the Spirit of God. We must have all the facts and be sure about making a right judgment, but we must judge ourselves first and foremost. We are to make right judgments about our own life, for “if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged” (1 Cor 11:31). That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? God didn’t give us what we deserved (His wrath) but He gave us what we needed (mercy) so we must do the same to others, including lost sinners.

Conclusion

The Apostle John sees what the final judgment of sinners will be and we’re not on the throne! It’s a one-seater. He wrote that he “saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done” (Rev 20:12). Before we end, let me ask you; have you trusted in Christ? I pray you have already trusted in Jesus Christ, for He says to you and He says to all, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). Repent today and trust in Christ or face God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27) or at Christ’s appearance at the Great White Throne, whichever comes first, because “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15).

Here is some related reading for you: Should Christians Judge Others Outside the Church?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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