When Jesus encountered the woman who was found committing adultery – she had been judged and sentenced to death by stoning – it was Jesus who stood to free her from the wrong judgment (see John 8:7). In this account, many scholars believe that Jesus began writing in the sand all the sins of the woman’s accusers. Perhaps Jesus was prompting them to consider and deal with their own sin first before they were to stone the woman for her sins.
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:2-5).
Part of judging correctly is that we must first deal with our own sin, then we can see clearly to help others who are caught in sin. Judging others becomes sinful behavior when we judge with pride, comparison, or to belittle another. Judgment like this can harden our hearts, increase arrogance, and can hurt those that we judge.
“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).
We should not judge others out of anger or deal with them harshly. The apostle Paul warned against contempt toward another and judging other believers over minor differences that causes internal strife (see Romans 14:1-13). Wrong judgment can divide the body of Christ. It can draw us away from God and the work He is doing in our own lives, and from bearing the fruit of the Spirit and furthering God’s kingdom. When we judge correctly in love and humility, we honor both God and the other person by helping them pursue righteousness.
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