What does the Bible say about judging others? There are many Bible verses about judging others, for example, the Bible tells us “don’t judge” but it also tells us that when we judge we should “judge righteously”. How do these two seemingly contradictory teachings go together and how should believers respond to them today?
What Does the Bible Say About Judging Others?
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There are several Bible verses about judging others. One of the most famous is Jesus’ teaching about the speck versus the plank.
One of the nuggets of wisdom from Jesus’ sermon on the Mount was the importance of not judging others (see Matthew 7:1-5, Luke 6:38-42). These words must have been part revolutionary part incendiary to the people listening.
The common people would have been liberated because they would finally be free from the harsh judgment of the Scribes and Pharisees whereas the Scribes and Pharisees would have been scandalized because Jesus was in essence telling them they had no right to judge.
Don’t Judge Others Meaning
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “judge”: form an opinion or conclusion about. If you’ve ever been the subject of someone’s judgement, you may probably want to add “in a negative light”.
In Matthew 7:1, Jesus told His disciples,
“Judge not, that you be not judged” (KJV).
The word translated as judge is the Greek word κρίνω krínō, (pronounced kree’-no) and it means to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially). By implication, krínō also means to try, condemn, punish, avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, or esteem.
No wonder Jesus didn’t want His followers to judge others. Don’t judge is our admonition not to use partial information to form a potentially damaging opinion about others.
Why should not we judge others?
Here’s the thing about judging others: we rarely get it right. Either we paint the person as worst than they are or better. That’s because as humans our view of things, including the character of someone, is limited. We don’t know the full truth nor are we aware of every situation that plays into a person’s actions.
Furthermore, everything we think about a person will be filtered through our own experiences. The only Person capable of being an impartial judge is God. Quite simply, we should not judge others because we ourselves are not without sin.
What does it mean to not judge others?
The idea of not judging others is something that we all struggle with. It’s very easy to form an opinion about someone, and it’s just as easy to be wrong in that opinion. In most cases, we can’t truly see the flaws of the other person because they are being viewed through our own flaws and biases.
As Jesus told His followers,
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 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 (Matthew 7:3-5 NIV).
Has that ever happened to you? I’ve been in situations where I’ve judged someone harshly for exhibiting traits that I possess and dislike in myself. The Bible’s admonition not to judge others is one that resonates with me.
How do you not judge others?
So how do we get to this place where we learn not to judge others? I think as long as sin exists that this is something we will struggle with. But in the meantime, what we can do is try to remember what the Bible says about judging others:
- The way we judge other people is the same way we will be judged.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” Luke 6:37 ESV
For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:2 ESV
- We are in no position to judge the Law of God. If we believe that we can, we’re basically saying that we’re capable of judging God.
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12 ESV
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; Romans 14:10 ESV
All of us will one day face the judgment of God. Do we want to be judged by the same harsh measures we use to judge our brothers and sisters?
What Does It Mean to Judge Righteously?
At the other end of the “don’t judge” command is the exhortation to “judge righteously”. Jesus admonished the crowds and the leaders of Jerusalem during a Festival of Booths,
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24 ESV
The scribes and Pharisees were angry because Christ had chosen to heal a man on the Sabbath but thought nothing of circumcising a child if the eight day fell on a Sabbath (John 7:14-24).
The word translated as righteous is the Greek word díkaios, (pronounced dik’-ah-yos) meaning equitable (in character or act); by implication, innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively), just. Díkaios, is used in the Bible when referring to things approved of or acceptable of God.
To judge righteously, is to judge the way God does: not by appearances and having all the facts and knowing all the motives. I thought a lot about why we should not judge others as I read Tacos for Two. Rory had an image of who Jude was and interpreted every thing he did through her own biases.
My Review of Tacos for Two
When Rory’s aunt dies and left her beloved food truck to her, it was a responsibility she took very seriously even though she couldn’t cook and had zero desire to become a chef. The food truck competition was an opportunity to earn some much needed funds while she dreamed of someday doing something that she loved. When competition shows up in the form of lawyer-turned-food-truck-owner Jude, Rory is not amused. Sparks fly between the two but their relationship is doomed before it even begins.
It was easy to like Rory. You could see right from the start that she had some baggage from past hurts and that she genuinely cared about the people she felt responsible for.
She continued to work at making her family’s food truck a viable business though it was not what she wanted as a career.
Jude was also stuck in a job he hated with family who were manipulative and underhanded but I respect him for trying to stand up for himself.
There were so many times when I hoped they could have been friends but Rory was so quick to jump to conclusions that sometimes I just wanted to smack her. I get why she had relationship phobia, I really do, but she was so determined to think the worst of Jude that it was downright annoying.
A lot of their misunderstandings could have been avoided if she had asked some pointed questions instead of jumping to conclusions. Because of this, the in-person romance was light but the online romance was sweet. I would have liked to see more of them being real with each other on the page, but overall Tacos for Two was a good read.
Know God: Jude came to know God through his grandmother but he needed to cultivate his own faith. Similarly, each of us has to decide whether we will serve God or not. If we choose Him, then we need to obey His commandments.
Know yourself: It takes a lot of courage to break away from doing what’s expected. This is easier to do when you have an idea of who you are. Nathan had to figure out who he was apart from his family’s influence. Rory had to determine who she wanted to be when she wasn’t trying to retrace the path her aunt had walked.
Run your race: Both Rory and Jude struggled to do this. A path had been set by Jude’s family for him to follow, Rory felt honor-bound to follow the footsteps of her aunt but ultimately, each of these characters had to decide they would follow the course that brought them joy rather than trying to meet the expectations fo others.
The reader will be reminded that regardless of how horribly a person behaves towards you, they’re not the enemy. And even if they were, God calls us to love our enemies and to forgive those who have trespassed against us.
Final Thoughts on Tacos for Two
The faith element was faint but the reader will be reminded of how important it is to love those we consider enemies. Even better, they’ll realize that the person we usually consider an enemy is a person just like us trying to live their lives as best as they know how.
Another theme that will come out, though it’s not stated, is the importance of not judging others. Rory did that a lot. She was quick to think the worst of Jude because of who she thought he was. As Christians, we ought to try to see people as Jesus does: individuals worthy of redemption and second chances.
Other themes in Tacos for Two were forgiveness and understanding one’s identity.
I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publisher through NetGalley and the Revell Reads program; a positive review was not required. Purchase Tacos for Two on Baker Books.
About Tacos for Two
Rory Perez, a food truck owner who can’t cook, is struggling to keep the business she inherited from her aunt out of the red–and an upcoming contest during Modest’s annual food truck festival seems the best way to do it. The prize money could finally give her a solid financial footing and keep her cousin with special needs paid up at her beloved assisted living home. Then maybe Rory will have enough time to meet the man she’s been talking to via an anonymous online dating site.
Jude Strong is tired of being a puppet at his manipulative father’s law firm, and the food truck festival seems like the perfect opportunity to dive into his passion for cooking and finally call his life his own. But if he loses the contest, he’s back at the law firm for good. Failure is not an option.
Complications arise when Rory’s chef gets mono and she realizes she has to cook after all. Then Jude discovers that his stiffest competition is the same woman he’s been falling for online the past month.
Will these unlikely chefs sacrifice it all for the sake of love? Or will there only ever be tacos for one?
About Betsy St. Amant
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her newly-wed-ish hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, an impressive stash of Pickle chips, and one furry Schnauzer-baby. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored to truth.
When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. She writes frequently for www.ibelieve.com, a devotional site for women.
More Bible Verses on Judging Others
Based on all that the Bible has to say about judging others, it’s clear that God wants us to refrain from the practice. But as we get used to the idea of not judging others, here are some more “don’t judge” Bible verses:
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:9 ESV
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Romans 14:13 ESV
For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13 ESV
“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. Leviticus 19:15 ESV
Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. 1 Corinthians 4:5 ESV
Judge not lest ye be judged! Let us try to remember that we don’t have all the information about the next person or situation we’re tempted to judge.
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