What does the bible say about judging people? Well consider this, I live in an apartment that is literally across the street from a small church. My front door faces the church’s front door almost exactly. The other day I was thinking about how disappointed I was in their congregation because in all the time I’ve lived in this apartment no one from that church has ever walked across the street and invited me to their service. They don’t know me and therefore don’t know whether or not I’m saved or spiritually lost. As I pondered these thoughts I concluded they were not doing a good job as a church or as Christians.
The next day, however, it occurred to me that in all the time I’ve lived in that apartment I’ve never walked next door to invite my neighbor to church. I don’t know if he’s saved or spiritually lost. I was immediately convicted for having wrongly judged the people at that church across the street for doing the same thing I’ve done. That evening I invited my neighbor to church.
What does the bible say about judging people?
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. (Romans 2:1)
But that’s not all. The Bible also has a balance. A lot of people wrongly believe that the bible gives a blanket-statement about not judging anyone for any reason, ever. That is not true. And we would all be fools if we never judged anyone. For example, we teach our children to judge a stranger who approaches them saying he’ll give them candy if they get in his car. Likewise we’re able to judge between right and wrong. If you saw a man light a house on fire, wouldn’t you later point him out in the crowd and tell the cops, “He did it!”? That is judging, and rightly so.
What else does the bible say about judging people?
But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a [Christian] brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:11)
What this means is that as Christians we ARE to judge other Christians. But we can not judge non-Christians. In this passage the writer was referring to a man who was attending the church regularly but at the same time was sleeping with his step-mother. The church needed to pass judgment on him and kick him out of the church.
A simpler example would be this: if there was a man at your church who was stealing money from the offering, would you continue to allow him to count the money after each Sunday service? No. You would pass judgment that he is not fit to be anywhere near the offering money.
God doesn’t ask us to turn a blind eye and pretend we don’t notice when people are sinning, but we can not condemn someone for doing the same thing we do as well.
Photo credit: flickr Creativ Commons, finger pointing by Jim Simonson