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Is it okay to judge others? I thought the Bible said it wasn't.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2

Jesus tells us not to judge others, especially because our own lives are a mess. What right do we have to point out other people’s faults if our own lives are a mess?  Jesus also said that if we judge harshly, we will be harshly judged.

God’s job is to judge us and he communicates his standards in the Bible.

But what if someone turned to a thief and said, “Stealing is wrong.”  Is that judgment? 

No, that is correctly identifying a sin in someone’s life.  Judgment occurs when I think I’m better than someone else and I want you to feel bad about your sin so I can feel better about myself.

We cannot judge people according to their dress, their job, their appearance, their friends, that would be wrong also. Those are outward signs that do not necessarily reflect an inward heart.

But the Holy Spirit can use us to point out areas of fault in other people’s lives.  In that case, we are not judging, but the Holy Spirit is using us to cause people to feel judged.

We can identify and communicate someone’s sin according to the Bible, but to turn to someone and say “You are going to hell” would be wrong. We don’t know if that person is going to hell and we aren’t the one making the decision.

We can say that someone is a “sinner” because we are all sinners. But, as the expression goes, if you point one finger at someone, there are three more pointing back at you. 

We must recognize that we are all sinners...we all have problems and shortcomings...nobody’s perfect.

In Matthew 7:5, Jesus told hypocrites to remove the plank from their own eye before they point out specks in other people.  Hypocrites pretend they don’t have big issues (planks), yet they are quick to find small failures (specks) in the lives of other people.  These hypocrites do not self-examine themselves before they examine others.

So yes, we can judge others as long as we:

1.      Speak truth according to God’s word.
2.      Analyze our own lives first.
3.      Talk to someone for their good, not our own.

God uses others to speak into our lives to point out our sin.  Don’t be quick to judge someone for judging before you ask yourself, “Is this from God?”