by Richard Haas
Recently in a conversation, the question of judging was brought up by a fellow Christian. They ask whether it was okay for Christians to judge other Christians? This a great question to ask and one that is often asked; in particular by those with the gift of discernment and who have been told that they should not fellow Christians, instead be preaching only to the lost.
So should Christians judge other Christians? There is a yes and no answer to this question. In the Bible, there are two types of judging. One is acceptable and one as Christian we should stay away from for it’s a sin. The two types of judgment are Righteous Judgement and Hypocritical Judgement.
Let us take a look at Hypocritical Judgement first. This form of judgment is what is talked about in Matthew 7:1-5. Often this set of verses is used out of context to try to stop those who have the gift of discernment from speaking the truth. (Read our full article here on Matthew 7:1-5.) In this set of verses, Jesus was not speaking against all forms of judging others. On the contrary, Jesus was condemning only one kind of judgment, hypocritical judging. Hypocritical is the type of judgment in which you judge a person for committing a sin while you are committing the same sin. This sort of judgment Christ warns us to stay away from in the text of Matthew 7.
Another key verse that explains the differences between the types of judgment is John 7:24 which tells us “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” We can see here that it is not a matter of judging, but a question of what type of judgment we are using. Thus, Scripture makes a clear distinction that there are forms of judging. One being hypocritical and the other being right or Righteous.
Now let us look the other form of judgment; Righteous Judgment. Righteous judging is where those with the gift of discernment come in. While the Bible strongly warns us not to judge in a hypocritical intent, Scripture clearly tells us that we can righteously judge others. Scripture even states we are allowed to judge those inside the church, meaning that we are authorized to judge fellow people claiming the name of Christ.
Righteous judgment is different from hypocritical judgment. Righteous judgment is done in the light of Scripture with the purpose of sin being exposed to bring back those in sin into the fold of Christ and His church. Righteous Judgment is also done with the intention to expose false teachers and teachings so those weaker believers are not lead astray. We can see this in Scripture. Looking at the book of second Corinthians chapter 5 verses 12 and 13 we can see that those within the church are clearly instructed to judge righteously those claiming to be in the church body.
1 Corinthians 5:12-13 ESV ~ ”For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
Another verse that tells us that righteous judgment is allowed and should be practiced is found in 2 Corinthians 2:15 which states; “The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.” As we can see by this verse Christians’ the “spiritual person” or true believers will indeed judge all things.