1. to decide the winner of a contest or settle an argument
2. to blame or criticize
3. to think or suppose
It’s clear that we’ve all done some form of judging whether we are aware of it or not. In many cases, we are not aware that we are passing judgement, but either way, the law of judgement applies to us whether we’re aware or not.
Therefore, you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgement, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
And we know that the judgement of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.
But do you suppose this, o man, when you pass judgement on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgement of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God who will render to each person according to his deeds, to those who by perseverance in doing good and seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.
What does judging look like in practical, day-to-day life experiences?Let’s take an example of a legal court where a case is presented to a judge. In a trial, the witnesses, prosecutors, and defenders present their evidence and facts. Forensics are given and the jury members make their decision. Finally, the judge gives the verdict and once everything has been presented the case can no longer be changed. If a person disagrees with the verdict, it really won’t hold much weight because the judge has made his decision.
Have you ever been in a relationship and it feels like no matter what you do or say, they won’t change their position?
For example, someone may point out that you’ve been a critical person, so you listen to their advice and try to become less critical. But unfortunately, even though you’ve tried to change, the person still has the same opinion about you. You get frustrated and try other ways to communicate, but they still tell you that you’re critical. This can make you feel defeated because no matter what you do or say, they won’t change their mind. This is how living under judgment can feel and this is the reason why God says judging is unacceptable. We as humans simply don’t have all the facts to make a judgement.
In fact, James 2:4 says,
“…did you not show partiality among yourself and become judges with evil thoughts?”
Unlike God who is righteous in all of His ways, our thoughts are usually biased, bitter, angry, and negative when we make judgments.
When we see people doing things we don’t approve of, we don’t have the full picture, but the scripture above says that God has all the facts and is fully aware of what is going on. In His kindness, God doesn’t punish us on the spot, but gives us time to change our minds and repent.
When we judge, we subject ourselves to being judged by God who has all the facts in our lives. And when God judges, He is righteous -- meaning that he will expose or bring to light things we don't even remember. If God is to judge righteously, He will have to look into every area of a person’s life.
Back to the example above: if you make a judgement that someone is critical, be careful because God will also examine where you have been critical in your life and judge you. Ultimately, when we understand the weight of being judged by God, we will think twice before judging others.
So next time before you decide, suppose, blame or criticize, ask yourself if you have all the facts, let God take full control, and let Him make the righteous judgement.
Damalie Namale, M.A.