Why do you judge others?
First, it is important to understand Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” The untaught love to throw this little sound bite around as if it were an all-sufficient Bible argument to end all criticism or judgment. When it is used against public preaching and teaching, you know you have met another religious novice. The only reason most can remember it is because it is only seven words long. Do they really think these seven words overthrow the rest of the Bible?
This rule must be understood in its context and in light of the rest of Scripture. For example, just five verses later, Jesus Himself told us to judge some men as dogs and pigs and keep the truth from them (Matt 7:6). Wow! Judge not, huh? For example, Jesus told us to judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). And the whole context of the statement itself, the Sermon on the Mount, is His condemning judgment of the Pharisee’s religion from start to finish (Matt 5:20; 7:28-29).
These seven words pertain to private judgment for personal offences, not sins against God. They do not affect public judgment required by God’s word. The sense is this: do not judge personal offences too harshly or at all hypocritically. Jesus explains this in the next four verses (Matt 7:2-5). That is all it means. It does not mean parents should not punish children, nations should not wage war, pastors should not preach against the foolish and wicked, and churches should not cast out public sinners. Keep the verse where it belongs, in a context of private parties and offences.
Second, the Bible tells us to judge. God calls ministers to show people their sins (Is 58:1). The fear of God is to hate evil (Pr 8:13). The Bible is a book of judgment from beginning to end. It starts with the damnation of humanity for Adam and Eve’s folly and ends with the Lord Jesus Christ’s severe promises of judgment on anyone tampering with His words (Gen 3:8-19; Rev 22:18-19). The whole chapter of I Corinthians 5 is judging the fornicator in the church at Corinth. Is there conflict with Matthew 7:1? Not at all!
Third, when we find things contrary to the word of God, we are to identify them and avoid them (Ps 101:3; 119:128; I John 2:15-17). The Christian life is not just in the heart; it is also in all our actions. Life is a daily process of judging things right or wrong. We do the right; we reject the wrong. The world admires some things, but the Lord does not care (Luke 16:15). Jesus loved righteousness and hated iniquity; we want to be exactly like Him (Heb 1:9).
Fourth, when we find some person in disagreement with the word of God, we are to identify them and avoid them (Ps 101:1-8; Pr 4:14-16; 22:24; Luke 14:25-33; Rom 16:17-18; James 4:4). This is particularly true of men who take a public position and influence other people. Godly men choose other godly men for their companions (Ps 119:63). There is no compatibility between a godly man and an ungodly man – for they are not in agreement (Amos 3:3).
Fifth, David expressed it rather well when he said, “Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies” (Ps 139:21-22). Of course, such Scriptural truth is too much for this carnal, compromising, and effeminate generation. But the word of God is still as true as ever, and David’s words express the godly heart of a tender man known as the sweet psalmist of Israel.
Sixth, you might profit by considering a few examples from the word of God of how His prophets and apostles were rather judgmental themselves in the following outlines:
Instant Preaching [PDF]