Many people are quick to quote the first two words of Matthew 7:
Judge not […] (Matt 7:1a KJV)
But, did you know that in the rest of the chapter, there are three judgments that Jesus tells us to make about people? Let’s take a look at what Jesus says in the rest of the chapter and see if we can reconcile it with the entirety of Matthew 7:1.
Three judgments that Jesus wants us to make
1. Judge a brothers’ eyeballs
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matt 7:3-5 NKJV)
Notice that Jesus wants us to be able to pluck the speck from our brothers’ eyes. There is a HUGE precondition here, though: remove your own plank first! But, having taken care of our own eyeballs, we need to help each other… which we can’t do unless we see a problem first… which means we have to make a judgment about a brother.
2. Judge whether or not a brother is a pig
Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Matt 7:6 NKJV)
In the context, our “pearls” are our efforts to help a brother with his sins. Jesus calls brothers, “swine” (especially an ugly term in Jewish culture) if they ‘turn and tear you in pieces.’ So, that’s another judgement to make. Want to help a brother? First, as mentioned earlier, you need make sure your eyes are clean, but second you need to discern whether or not he is a pig that will tear you and your advice to pieces.
3. Judge whether or not a person is a false prophet