In Matthew 7:1-2 Jesus says, “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.” Sometimes people take these verses to be a blanket prohibition on making any judgments of any kind. This is obviously not true. Later in Matthew 7 Jesus tells us to beware of false prophets and that we “will know them by their fruits” (verses 15-20). This requires us to judge the faithfulness of teachers by their actions and the things they teach. Also, in John 7:24 we are told, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” It is not judgment of any kind we are to avoid but a certain kind of judging. The context of Matthew 7:1-5 makes it clear that it is hypocritical judgment that is forbidden. We often tend to find fault with others when we are guilty of doing the same kind of things. As one fellow said, “When they do it, it is ‘dirty pool’ but when we do it, it is ‘tactics’.” The idea being that we will excuse actions on our part or the part of others we like, but will condemn those same actions on the part of other people. In Romans 2:1 Paul said, “Therefore, you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” Using different standards to judge our actions and the actions of others is not acceptable to God. We cannot condemn others and then excuse or overlook the same problems in ourselves. In Matthew 7:2 Jesus pointed out that if we are going to use a hypocritical standard of judgment against others, God will turn the same standard of judgment around and use it against us. “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” As in so many other areas God will use our own hypocritical practices against us. When we judge others we should remember, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12).
Be Careful How You Judge