In Matthew 7:1-2 Jesus says, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (NLT) But in John 7:24 Jesus said we should judge with a righteous heart. Was Jesus giving us two different messages? Certainly not! The Bible doesn’t contradict itself, and Jesus most certainly isn’t changing His mind on this judgment issue.
The kind of judgment Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7:1-2 is the kind of hypocritical, judgmental attitude that tears others down to build oneself up. It is NOT a blanket statement to overlook the wrong behavior of others. That is so important to understand. Matthew 7:1-2 is not telling us to disregard immorality or practices that are against the word of God. It is a call to be discerning in all things rather than negative.
John 7:24 tells us to judge with a righteous heart. Not the kind that self-righteous legalism promotes, but the type that exercises moral and theological discernment.
The next time someone says, “You can’t judge me,” check your heart. If you are judging with a righteous judgment that is based on the word of God and the teachings of Scripture, then your judgment is founded. However, if you are judging based on legalistic views or if your judgment is hypocritical in nature, like the Scribes and Pharisees, then ask for forgiveness and see what the root of the issue is.
I hope this clarifies this often confused, misquoted, and misinterpreted verse.
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