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   Studies in Contrasts - Volume 1 (10 of 13)

Volume 1

  1. Should a Christian Be Afraid of God?
  2. The Resurrection: A Matter of Reason or a Matter of Faith?
  3. Can We Learn from the Cults?
  4. Should We Be Waiting or Working As We Anticipate Christ's Return?
  5. Did Christ Come to Live or to Die for Us?
  6. Is Man Like God or Unlike God?
  7. Should a Christian Be Self-Controlled or Spirit-Controlled?
  8. Isn't the Holy Spirit All I Need to Understand the Bible?
  9. Can We Come to God Just As We Are?
  10. Is It Ever Right to Judge Others?
  11. Are We the Result of Our Parents' Choices?
  12. Does God Hold Us Responsible for Other People's Sin?
  13. Self-Esteem: Is It Right or Wrong?

Is It Ever Right to Judge Others?

A choir member received many compliments after her solo part in a church service. But another choir member made the statement, "She sings only because she likes to be in the limelight."

A Christian educator, referring to a widely read religious book, told his students, "The author is not a Christian. He denies Christ's deity, rejects the biblical account of the virgin birth, scoffs at the doctrine of the atonement, and ridicules the idea that Jesus rose bodily from the tomb."

Both of these people made a judgment about another person. What does the Bible say about judging others? Were both right or were both wrong? Or is one right and the other wrong?


  1. Jesus said that we should avoid judging others if we don't want others to judge us (Matt. 7:1,2).
  2. If we obeyed our Lord's admonition "First remove the plank from your own eye" (Matt 7:5) before we judged someone else for the speck in his eye, much criticism would be eliminated.
  3. Judging others tends to make us self-righteous, like the Pharisee who thanked God he wasn't like other people (Luke 18:9-14).
  4. We tend to be unfair in judging others, especially when we assign unworthy motives to the person we are judging. Some believers in Corinth did this, saying that Paul rebuked them in a letter because he didn't have the courage and strength to do so through his personal presence (2 Cor. 1:12-2:17; 10:1-13:14).


  1. We should judge some people as being so vicious in their scorn and so hardened in their contempt of God that it is futile to give them His truth (Matt. 7:6).
  2. We should judge some people as being in need of church discipline after they have repeatedly resisted our efforts to correct them on an individual basis (Matt. 18:15-20).
  3. We should exercise judgment or we will be unable to obey the admonition of Galatians 6:1 that we help a person who has been overtaken in sin. In fact, we cannot carry out the many biblical commands to admonish fellow believers unless we first judge that a person needs correction (Rom. 15:14; Col. 3:16; 2 Thess. 3:15).
  4. We should judge certain religious leaders--viewing them as false teachers (2 Peter 2:1-22; 1 John 4:1-3).
  5. We should judge some people as being in a place of danger before we can obey the command in Jude 22,23: "And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire."
  6. We should be able to provide judgment between disputing believers (1 Cor. 6:1-8).


Judging others is wrong when it stems from a self-righteous attitude, reveals a critical spirit, or presumptuously interprets motives. But judging is right and helpful when God's Word is the standard, when it flows from proper motives, and when it leads to corrective action.


God calls on us to be discerning. This involves judging people to be false teachers when we see them promoting heresy, and it involves noting wrong conduct in fellow Christians so that we can help them. In these cases, we are not to judge unseen motives but rather beliefs and actions that the Scriptures have already judged.

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