Following is a discussion on biblical references to Non-Judging. Unless otherwise noted, the King James Version is used when quoting the Bible.
Jesus was very clear: don’t judge others. This was so important to Jesus that he included it in The Lord’s Prayer: “…forgive us… as we forgive…” The apostles all echo Jesus’ admonition. And the same words can be found in the scriptures before Jesus, what we refer to as the Old Testament, as well. They are so similar, it would be easy to include just one. But with many, the admonition gains strength. Consider:
- Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. — Matthew 7:1-2
- And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. — Matthew 7:3-5
- Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: — Luke 6:37
- Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. — John 8:15
- Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. — James 4:11
There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? — James 4:12
- Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. — 1 Corinthians 4:5
- Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. — Romans 2:1
- But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. — Romans 14:10-13
ONLY THE PERFECT CAN JUDGE
Probably the most vivid example that comes to mind for many of us is when Jesus was asked to judge a woman who had been caught sinning. Jesus told the crowd that the person who is without sin should cast the first stone. Slowly, the crowd disperses. Finally, Jesus addresses the woman. He is in a position to judge, but rather shows mercy. He engages the woman in conversation, tells her he does not judge her, and releases her, advising her to go and sin no more:
And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. — John 8:2-11
BLAMING THE VICTIM
In Jesus’ time, to be sick was viewed as a punishment from God. Jesus didn’t judge, but rather healed the afflicted. The Gospels are full of these accounts. Jesus also taught us to reconsider our own position, rather than casting blame. For example, the Gospel of Luke informs us that in Jesus’ time there was an ancient tower in a placed called Siloam that fell and killed some people. It would have been front page news, if there had been newspapers at the time. When the people ask Jesus why this has happened, he admonishes them that the people who died were no better or worse than they, themselves: God makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the good and the bad alike. By this counsel Jesus isn’t telling us that our own behavior doesn’t matter, but that we should be about our own repentance and kingdom work, and not spend time judging others. After all, who can know the mind of God?
There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. — Luke 13:1-5
Jesus is saying, in effect, “don’t blame the victim.” This attitude is best conveyed – and rebutted – in the Book of Job, where Job – whom the narrator points out three times is a righteous man (Job 1:1, 1:8, 2:3) – is afflicted in many ways. His “friends” mourn with him (Job 4 onward), but they also admonish him to repent of his sin, reasoning that he must have sinned somehow, to merit such wrath. They are so wrong that when God makes an appearance, it’s only through Job’s intercessory prayer that the friends are kept from punishment for maligning God (Job 42).
*See also our page on harmony, divisiveness, slander and gossip, arguing. http://ministrants.com/2012/11/22/biblequotes-harmony/