“Judge not, that you not be judged. ”
When Jesus made the statement quoted above, what did He mean? The following verses give us much clearer understanding – they say, in essence:
“In the same way & with the same measure you judge others, you will be judged. Before you try to take the speck of sawdust out of someone else’s eye, take the 2×4 out of your own.
Jesus challenges His disciples not to take a harsh, critical, nitpicking attitude towards others, especially if they haven’t first examined themselves to address & repent from the sin, wrong attitudes, & behaviors in their own lives. And if the time comes to address an issue of wrong in someone else’s life, it has to be done in a manner that reflects Christ: with great love, compassion, humility, & mercy.
Something else that can help us get what Jesus meant when He said, “Don’t judge” is a better understanding of what “passing judgment” means: Passing judgment involves making a final pronouncement of “guilty” on another individual/group – think: a judge in a courtroom smashing his gavel down while saying “GUILTY”. In that situation, it’s over. It’s done. All that’s left is the sentencing. That role, ultimately, belongs to God (see Revelation 20) & “Judgment Day” isn’t here yet – now is the time for healing, restoration & salvation (2Corinthians 6). So, if we pass judgment on someone, we are, in essence, writing them off as hopeless cases. That’s not how God sees them (or us).