As a Christian, I have been told many times, Judge not that ye be not judged, for with what judgment you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2) On the other hand, John tells us, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24) Paul tells us, Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know we shall judge angels? How much more the things that pertain to this life?” (I Corinthians 6:2-3) Then, Paul continues, Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?” (I Corinthians 6:5)
There seems to be a contradiction in those quotes, but there is not. We are never to judge others with a standard that we are unwilling to apply to our own selves. In John 12:48, Jesus, Himself, tells us, He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—The Word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” Therefore, we are to judge both ourselves and others by the words that Jesus and the other New Testament writers have given us. Both Matthew and Luke give us the standard by which we are to judge…the fruit that is borne. (Matthew 7:17-20; Luke 6:43-44) Matthew also tells us that you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:16; Matthew 7:20) Luke also tells us that every tree is known by its own fruit. (Luke 6:44)
So, what is the conclusion? We are not to judge the motives of man. We cannot say, “So-and-so did that because…” However, we must be fruit inspectors. We are given clear indications as to what fruit is acceptable and what is not. In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul lists several examples of fruit that we must inspect and judge as unacceptable both to God and to man: Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like, of which I tell you beforehand, just as I told you in time past, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. This is quite a list of things that Christians are not only to judge, but to expose. (Ephesians 5:11) You cannot expose sin if you never judge it to be sin, can you?
Likewise we are given clear definition as to what constitutes good fruit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
So, what is the conclusion? To judge or not to judge? We MUST be faithful fruit inspectors. We must look at the fruit that is borne, and judge the fruit, not the motive behind the fruit. God will judge the motive, never doubt that. But motive is not our responsibility, except only in ourselves. No, our part is to look at the fruit, and expose the fruit that is a work of the flesh. We need to warn other Christians when we see the works of the flesh at work, so that they may repent and be forgiven. (James 5:20; I Peter 4:8) We also need to warn fellow Christians of the works of the flesh at work in our world today. Daily, we need to inspect the fruit we see around us in our lives.
What say ye?