What is the difference between judge not and judge a righteous judgment?

judge not” (Matthew 7:1).

“but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

In (Matthew 7:1), Jesus refers particularly to judging another person’s motives, not to judging the right or wrong of his acts as seen in (John 7:24). God alone is competent to judge men’s motives, because of the fact that He alone is able to read men’s innermost thoughts (Heb. 4:12). Looking thus on men’s hearts, God loves the sinner but He hates the sin.

Men are able to discern only the “outward appearance” (1 Sam. 16:7) and not the heart. Thus men inevitably make mistakes. We must judge ourselves, and judge our own acts. We must not judge nor pass judgment upon our brother without any ground. Here is a just reproof to those who quarrel with their brethren for small faults, while they allow themselves in greater ones.

In John 7:24, Jesus was addressing the religious leaders who were judging Him for making a man whole on the Sabbath day. Jesus told them to pass a righteous judgement. Such judgments, for example, would have led to the conclusion that acts of mercy such as He had performed on the Sabbath were not a violation of Sabbath law.

In Matthew 7:1, Jesus does not here refer to that fine sense of discrimination by which the Christian is to distinguish between right and wrong (Rev. 3:18), but rather to the habit of censorious, sharp, and usually unjust criticism.

Man can be harsh but God does not deal with us as finite men deal with one another. His thoughts are thoughts of mercy, love, and tenderest compassion. He says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins” (Isaiah 55:7; 44:22).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

Sign Up for Our Updates

Get notified of our latest updates. Don't worry, they're occasional :)

You May Also Like