“JUDGE NOT LEST YOU BE JUDGED! — ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME! — WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE ANYONE ELSE? DO YOU THINK YOU’RE PERFECT?”
The above is a common but erroneous sentiment held by those who do not properly exegete Scripture… The Christian is absolutely *commanded* to discern/judge/try/prove all things, including other people. However, we are commanded to do so righteously; using accurate biblical standards and proof-texts; without hypocrisy (i.e. without doing the same things, or worse things, ourselves); and in humility (i.e. not condemning them to Hell or esteeming ourselves over them as if we couldn’t possibly due such things by nature).
We are commanded to separate from (i.e. to avoid) some; to admonish or rebuke some; to not follow in the ways of some; etc. If we couldn’t make accurate assessments, or judgments, about them, we could not obey such things. So God never condemns all judgment but only unjust, or unrighteous, judgment. The Christian is not only free to discern and respond to such things but is called to do so. However, we must never stand in the place of God, condemning such, as if we were the ultimate judge deciding their eternal fate/state before God. Likewise, we are not to turn our nose up at them, which is the natural tendency for many of us, especially when grievous sins are in play. The goal is to always discern, never to condemn, unless God gives us clear warrant to do so (e.g. with clear apostates in general, and blasphemers of the Holy Spirit, in particular — we are told that their condition is final, unrectifiable). So never internalise the false accusations of those foolish enough to think that we are commanded never to speak out against the errors, or harmful actions of others when it is prudent / warranted to do so.
John 7:24 “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
1 Corinthians 2:13-15 “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned [anakrinō]. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth [anakrinō: scrutinizes, investigates, interrogates, determines, questions, discerns, searches out, enquires into, sifts out – all so as to rightly judge, determine, and/or come to the right conclusion] all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”
Acts 17:10-11 “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming [thither] went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched [anakrinō] the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.“
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge [krinō: to distinguish, think or form a judgment, judge, try (as in to mentally put on trial), determine or make a determination, decide, separate, put asunder; to pick out, select, choose (but also to condemn, sentence, damn, decree, punish, and avenge in certain contexts)] them also that are without? do not ye judge [krinō] them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
Psalm 1:1 “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
Romans 16:17 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”
Ephesians 5:3-6 “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
1 John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [dokimazō: test, examine, prove, discern, scrutinize, and thus rightly judge, approve, and determine] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 “Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove [dokimazō] all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
Philippians 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and [in] all judgment [aisthēsis: perception, not only by the senses but also by the intellect; cognition, discernment]; 10 That ye may approve [dokimazō] things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
Ephesians 5:7-14 “Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving [dokimazō: testing, examining, proving, discerning, scrutinizing, and thus rightly judging, approving, and determining] what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them]. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
2 Corinthians 13:5-6 “Examine [peirazō: try, put on trial, go about to prove, assay, test, scrutinize, so as to rightly judge, discern, and determine] yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove [dokimazō] your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.”
Revelation 2:2 “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried [peirazō] them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:”
1 Corinthians 11:27-29 “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine [dokimazō] himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove [dokimazō] what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”