Being a good judge of people is a career asset. Everyone in the workplace must make frequent judgment calls about co-workers and customers. For believers and unbelievers alike, making judgment calls is part of the job. It is the everyday norm, not the exception. The issue for the Christian is to judge others in ways and with motives that are consistent with God’s Word.
Apply the following three principles when making judgment calls about other people.
You are free to judge between right and wrong.
1 Corinthians 2:15 says, “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things.” As a Christian who “makes judgments about all things,” you are free to examine and evaluate the people who touch your life. To judge in the context of this verse is to discern between right and wrong or to distinguish in order to determine what is best.
Exercising this type of judgment, i.e., choosing between right and wrong and then pursuing the best course of action, is completely sensible and biblically correct.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 instructs you to, “Test everything.” In Acts 4:19 Peter and John declare,“Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight,”and in Luke 7:43 Jesus affirms Peter with the words, “You have judged correctly.” The Bible is clear–there is nothing wrong with making judgment calls about the people who impact your life.
Judge others in light of the whole of God’s Word.
You are free to judge others so long as you do it according to God’s standards and in light of the whole of God’s Word.
For example, be mature in your evaluations of others (Hebrews 5:14), be knowledgeable and motivated by love (Philippians 1:9-10), be quick to forgive (Matthew 18:21-22), don’t be hasty in your judgments (Proverbs 18:13), avoid any hint of hypocrisy (Matthew 7:5, Luke 12:1), and look beyond the externals of a situation and know all the facts (John 7:24).
Do not be a self-righteous condemner.
The first two principles seem simple enough, but how do you reconcile them with Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:1 which says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” The answer is found in understanding the various meanings of the word “judge.” The phrase “makes judgments” in 1 Corinthian 2:15 regarding the first principle stated above is to discern between what is right, wrong, or the best course of action. This type of judging is fine.
But, when Jesus says “Do not judge” in Matthew 7:1 he is referring to another type of judging which is to condemn others with habitual criticism.
To paraphrase Matthew 7:1, Jesus is telling us: Do not be a self-righteous condemner of others. No one, including God, likes a self-righteous condemner. Finally, let God and His Word do the judging. Hebrews 4:12 declares:
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword … it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Our job is to point others to Jesus Christ in a spirit of restoration and grace. Make judgment calls about the people who affect your life, but do not be a self-righteous condemner of others.