Matthew 7 makes it clear how we are to judge.
Do not decide, lest you be decided upon. “For with what decision you decide, you shall be decided upon. And with the same consideration you use, it shall be considered to you. And why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the plank in your own eye? Or how is it that you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the splinter out of your eye,’ and see, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to remove the splinter out of your brother’s eye.
We all make decisions (aka judgments) on a daily basis, starting with the very second we decide to get out of bed. Jesus routinely challenges us to choose (decide/judge/discern) this day whom we shall serve. A decision, a judgement. In order to make an effective decision we have to have all the facts, so we can decide wisely. Aka righteous judgement.
I heard a teaching once in the not so distant past where the teacher removed the word “judge” which automatically triggers misconceptions with some, and replaced it with a more palatable and equally meaningful synonym to help usher a better understanding of what is being said concerning judgement.
To teach in error that we are to never judge would be like teaching that the above scripture prohibits us from thinking or having thoughts and forming conclusions to those thoughts. In effect, we really would be anti-science…lol What it actually prohibits is us acting on thoughts based upon inaccurate or incomplete information.
The last verse telling us to first remove the plank from our own eye so we can see clearly to remove the splinter from our brothers eye is a Hebrew idiom in that it exaggerates the size of what is in our eye to something impossible (a 2X4 in your eye) and then proceeds to tell us to remove what is impossible to happen in the first place and gives an expectation that once removed we will assist our brother in doing what is possible, removing a splinter from an eye. Why is our own “plank” an impossible Hebrew idiom? Because we can’t do it under our own power and have to rely on Jesus, seeing that we can’t even comprehend how a “plank” fit inside an eye to begin with, much less deal with it on our own power.
I heard it said recently that we “cannot judge whether or not someone is a Christian based on our own ideals for what it is to be a Christian.” That is a circular statement that excludes G-d’s Holy Word from its logic.
All you have to do is look at Scripture. Saying you cannot determine if someone is a Christian or not would be like saying you cannot judge if something with wheels and a seat is a tricycle or an SUV because doing so is judgemental. I think I know the difference between the construct of an SUV vs a tricycle. We are called to be fruit inspectors. We are called to judge righteously and not be blind. Teaching that we are not to judge at all is equally as much a false teaching as teaching that we are to be overly legalistic. Both of those paths leads to destruction and death.
Belief in a god is not enough. The devil believes in G-d. Faith does not equal belief. Faith is putting belief into action.
I believe that working out and eating healthy is good for me. But do I have faith in that? Do I abide in that belief? And if I eat triple cheeseburgers and fries three times a day, who are you to judge whether or not I abide in that belief? It’s called common sense. Me just saying I live a healthy life and wearing a Fitbit all the time and going to the gym occasionally doesn’t mean a thing.
Just like me having a Bible, dancing around to worship music and going to church really doesn’t mean I am a Christian…and simply saying I am certainly doesn’t mean I am.