There is a HUGE difference between "passing judgment" on someone and "making a judgment". We seem to live in a world where we say "only god can judge me" well that is true when it comes to your salvation and eternity choice, it's not a free pass to live however you want and justify your life choices. There are places where it is appropriate to judge and be judged.
Passing judgment is something people do that is not fair, accurate, or is biased. Passing judgment is saying that person has tattoos they must be in a gang, or that person dresses bad they must be on welfare and won't work, I saw that person out late they must be cheating on their spouse, and things like that, passing judgment is making decisions based on opinions and not truth, reality, or fact. This is what Jesus was talking about when he said "do not judge, or you too will be judged" Matthew 7:1 he goes on to say in verses 2-4 "for in the same way you judge others you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" You see Jesus was talking about passing judgment on others behaviors or things yet ignoring things in our life that may be much worse or bigger, that is placing judgment.
However, making a judgment is much different. Jesus corrected the jewish people in John 7 for passing judgment on him for healing someone on their "holy" day, he told theme in John 7:24 "stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment". He didnt' say not to judge, but stop passing judgment, instead make a right judgment. Makin a judgment is different, that is when I have facts and truth at my disposal. If I see you cheating on a test and confront you, that is a right judgment you are a cheater. If I see you being rude and cussing someone and call you out on it, I am making a right judgment on that. If I see you misusing God's Word or speaking on things not backed up by scripture and bring it to your attention I am making a righteous judgment, not passing judgment, do you see the difference? Of course even in making a right judgment it still needs to be delivered and communicated in love and respect, not arrogantly.
There is also a distinct difference between those who are Christians and part of the Christians church and those who are not Christians and church members. If we are members and a part of the church we have a right to correctly make judgments about people in our own body who are purposely sinning. In I Corinthians chapter 5 the Corinthian church had a man in the church who was what we'd call "living in sin" he was being sexually immoral by having a sexual relationship with a woman he wasn't married to but also happen to be his step-mother. The Corinthian church was ignoring this behavior, as they probably had many of our attitudes, "It's not our place to judge", however Paul who wrote this letter to them rebuked them for ignoring this blatant sinful behavior and told them they must kick him out of church and not have anything to do with him. He goes on if you read (I Cor. 5:12) to talk about what happens when we ignore sin in the church with our members, to deal with sin, and to avoid those who willfully and purposely sin with no remorse. I have been in churches where people were living in sin and supposed to be members and leadership ignored it, as to not "offend" anyone or hoping it would go away. Not the way God wants us to handle sin. If we had that attitude about all sin, then we'd not deal with or correct anything because "we don't want to judge", and it's a cop out.
You may think that is mean or harsh, but the point of confronting sin or error and even not having anything to do with that person is that will motivate them to repent and get right with God again or get the infection/cancer out of your church body. So many times we think being a Christian is being nice, looking the other way, and not dealing with sin in our churches by supposed Christians, but that's not truth. Church leaders are to confront and deal with sin in the body of Christ. But, Paul also closes with a clear statement in verses 12 What business is it of mine to judge them outside of the church? ?Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. "Expel" the wicked man from among you.
The local church has an obligation to make judgments on members, not passing judgment on opinions but making judgments based on truth. Truth is, sometimes even though people are Christians and go to church they purposely choose to ignore sinful lifestyles and habits in their lives knowing it's wrong, but not caring. We also, need to realize it's not our job as the church to police the outside world, but God will deal with those outside the church who are sinning, not our place, but we should deal with sin in our churches, and if church leaders aren't willing to deal with sin, they should not be leading and should be dealt with as well.
My point today is simple, though God is our ultimate judge and He is only one who can determine who is saved and will be saved and those who will be in Heaven, there is still a place where sometimes as Christians we do have to judge people and situations. Not on our feelings, emotions, preferences, upbringings, etc...but make judgments based on truth of God's Word. We also much learn not to "pass" judgment on people where we are basing it on our own twisted truth or opinions because we don't like the way someone looks, or acts, or doesn't line up with our narrow mind.
I think if we all would read and study God's Word more, we'd learn to see the differences between passing judgment and making righteous judgment. If I am sinning, then my Christian brothers/sisters have a right to call me out on my sin, they do not have a right to pass judgment on me because they don't like my outfit, or my hairstyle, or my tattoos, or something I saw that is true from God's Word that they disagree with. I also have an obligation and responsibility as a Christian to hold other Christians accountable for their sin. As a church leader and pastor I have a responsibility to deal with sin in my church body.
I hope this blog opens some eyes today and encourages and blesses you to stop passing judgment on people and places that's not your place or accurate, but also will allow us to make right judgments in areas where we must judge correctly and properly within the church based on God's Holy Word.