Why are you judging when Jesus said judge not?

Matthew 7
John 7:24
Psalm 7:11, 9:8
Isaiah 33:22
John 5:22
Acts 4:12; 17:31
2 Timothy 2:24–25

Most quoted Bible verse today? Probably Matthew 7:1, “Judge not.” Also, possibly the most abused verse, usually pried, kicking and screaming, out of context.

It’s used to shut down Christians who’d dare make a biblical argument against a popular cultural sin. Say a public word against abortion, fornication, homosexuality, transgenderism, etc., and expect to be bludgeoned with “judge not” and told to be quiet. Better yet, quit being so judgmental and agree with secular judgments.

Problems with secular argumentation on this are legion. If it’s wrong to judge in the secular worldview, then stop judging Christians! And why would judging be wrong? Without God and absolute standards, no word or action — no matter how
judgmental — could rationally be classified as right or wrong. It’s all preference, and who are you to judge someone else’s
preference? The secularist is trying to use the authority of the Bible they reject to hypocritically judge an action they
have no reason to condemn.

The bottom line is, everyone makes judgments all the time. It’s impossible not to because “neutrality” doesn’t exist. The real
question about judging is by what authority and standard does one judge? The options are twofold — one’s authority is either
God’s Word or their own. And with no absolute authority, secularists hypocritically and arbitrarily judge Christians and
offences they dislike, while conveniently judging any judgment against themselves.

The Bible is jammed with commands to judge and to do so rightly. Ironically, this is Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7 when you read the whole passage in context. The critic wants to quote verse 1 for their advantage, while ignoring the rest of the chapter. Jesus commands His followers to make judgments on whom to engage (v. 6), the narrow and the wide gates (v. 13–14), true and false prophets (v. 15–20), true and false disciples (v. 21–23), and “wise and foolish builders” (v. 24–29). Jesus wasn’t saying not to judge; He was teaching how to judge!

In verse 5 He says, “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” (NIV). The believer is being warned against making superficial, hypocritical, condemning, self-righteous, “pharisaical” judgments (John 7:24). You judge yourself before making judgments about others by the same standard. What standard? The unmovable rock of Christ’s Word described in Matthew 7:24–27. We’re to make right judgments about ourselves and others in light of God’s Word, out of love for God and love for people.

“Only God can judge me.” That’s right, He will, and that should scare you! God is the perfect, righteous, holy, eternal, supreme Judge of all (Psalm 7:11, 9:8; Isaiah 33:22; John 5:22; Acts 17:31). And the Judge of the universe has made a judgment about salvation — it’s through Christ alone (Acts 4:12). That’s why Christians are to judge rightly by God’s Word, lovingly identifying sin to point people to Christ who alone can save them from the final judgment (2 Timothy 2:24–25).