The word “judgement” gets thrown around a lot. So let’s get one thing straight…
God is the only 100% righteous judge when it comes to our sins and what we deserve and all that jazz. Yes, that is true.
But are we humans allowed to take part in any type of judgement?
Actually yes, err kind of. We are allowed to offer correction to others.
Now don’t misconstrue the meaning.
Offering correction entails a process of discerning a violation of God’s law, followed by seeking to offer correction lovingly.
Here’s the verse more people are familiar with (and the subject of much abuse and contortion):
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 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.
In other words, if you’re judging another person, understand that by doing so you’re permitted judgement towards you on the same grounds. Always seek to correct yourself and be right with God yourself before you decide to concern yourself with someone else’s affairs (rarely are people 100% right with God).
Here’s something else to consider:
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Treat people how you would want to be treated.
This brings us the other side of the coin. If you’re going to be correcting people, you’d better be willing and ready to be corrected by others yourself.
Personally, if someone feels I’m doing something wrong (acting against the Lord), I try to be open to being corrected. I’d hope that if I was ignorantly engaging in sin that a brother or sister would come alongside me and open my eyes to it!
Where the “no judgement” people are wrong
Oftentimes criers of “don’t judge people” really just mean “don’t offer correction to people with sinful lifestyles, because it’s not your place” (or some similar argument).
Well calling out sin in another person’s life actually can be our place.
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 fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.
Key phrase: restoring gently. As in, do so with the intent of carrying that person when they are weak, giving them a boost when they lag behind. Not to be Mr. Correct (I originally wrote “Mr. Right,” but soon realized that title could be misleading).
The church is the best tool we have for keeping each other on the straight and narrow:
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Also, occasionally I suck at this. I don’t always correct others out of love, to make them “sharper” or closer to the Lord, I correct others to prove a point, to feel better about myself, or in the WORST case — think I am somehow morally superior. For those I’ve corrected in a non-loving way, I apologize.
So the next time someone says, “you can’t judge people,” revisit their statement and be sure they actually mean what they are saying. Because not only are we allowed to correct others, we’re encouraged to, as long as it is done in love.