If you listen to some people, there’s no such thing as right or wrong. Mention that something is wrong and they will screech “Jesus said not to judge!” While it is true that Jesus said “Judge not, lest ye be judged in the same manner,” there is a distinction between judging people and judging things, or activities. If we aren’t to judge the things that people do, how can I say that murder is wrong? Unless you are a sociopath, you know that murder is wrong. To say that it is wrong, though, is to judge behavior.
If the concept of right and wrong is valid, we have to have a standard for judging that which is right and that which is wrong. For the believer in Jesus Christ, we judge based on the Spirit. “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,” (I Corinthians 2:14-15)
Those who are not believers, those without the Spirit of God, make judgments about God’s word and about spiritual matters. They judge that which comes from the Spirit of God to be foolishness. They may tell us not to judge when we talk about something being wrong, but they are judging as they do so. Often, the most judgmental people are those telling you not to judge – because they seem to believe that their opinion is important and yours is not. As followers of Christ, we are to make judgements about actions. We compare those actions to God’s word. We are to be led by the Spirit of God. That being said, we are not to judge people. When we judge a person, when we condemn a person, we are pronouncing a sentence on them that God Himself has not pronounced. God is still giving them every chance to repent.
When those without Christ judge us, we are not to accept such judgment. We go to God and let His Spirit speak to us. That being said, if someone without Christ points out a sin in our life and we know that it is sin, we should accept the judgment on our actions with humility and repent. Confusing enough? As we consider this whole idea of judging right or wrong, we need to remember a couple of things. First, there is right behavior and there is wrong behavior. Our standard for determining that is the Spirit of God, usually speaking through His word. Second, the people who do things that are wrong are people that God loves and seeks to forgive. We will never do wrong by loving all people, even the ones who do wrong; even the ones who would seek us harm. Remember that Jesus loved them all the way to the cross.
Lord, give me discernment as I deal with others. You loved me even when I was doing things that are wrong. Help me to love others who do wrong just as You love them. Help me to judge wisely with the same compassion You showed me.