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Judge Not, and Ye shall not be Judged

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 KJV)

Jesus commanded us not to judge or condemn others. As with every other biblical instruction, the appropriate application of this command requires a correct understanding of what it means and what it does not mean.

So what does judge not mean? Jesus meant we should not have the attitude of finding fault with people, therefore wanting to see justice or even trying to fix what is wrong with them. Jesus is not saying the legal system of penalizing wrongdoing is bad. Instead, He addresses an everyday tendency we have to pay attention to what is wrong with others. Often, this is accompanied by a desire or even an attempt to fix what is wrong with them — yes, fixing others, when we usually have things God wants to fix with us. In another parable, Jesus said we should take the large log out of our eyes first before taking the little dust from another person’s eye ( Luke 6:42).

As expected, this commandment has also been abused. Some have used it to argue that God has said none should correct or discipline another person. Judge does not mean keeping your mouth shut when those God has put under your authority do sinful or stupid things. God says He will hold such leaders accountable when they watch people die in their sins and never correct them, or at least make them aware of their wrongdoing(Ezekiel 33:8). However, even when we correct others, He wants us to do so with love and wisdom — knowing we are not perfect either. 

In summary, God does not want us to be fault finders; neither does He want us to withhold correction or keep our mouth shut to the sins or evils of others.

Meditate

What does it mean to “judge not”? What is the difference between judge not and correct not? 

Apply the Word

God does not like a judgmental spirit. Judge not. However, remember this does not mean correct or discipline not.

Pray

Ask the Father to help you not be judgmental but not withhold correction when it is due.

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