Countless of times I have heard people, especially Christians, telling me when addressing sinful actions of believers, “Who are you to judge?”

Jesus’ command, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1 NLT) could be the most quoted of His sayings and yet so often taken out of context. Many people use this verse in an attempt to silence their critics, interpreting Jesus’ words to mean, “You don’t have the right to tell me I’m wrong.” Christians are often accused of “judging” when they speak out against sin.

The Bible’s command that we “not judge others” doesn’t mean we cannot show discernment. Immediately after Jesus said, “Do not judge others,” He said, “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!” Matthew 7:6 NLT

Later in the same sermon Jesus says, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.” Matthew 7:15-16 NLT

So, how are we supposed to discern those who are “unholy,” “pigs,” and “false prophets” unless we have the ability to make a judgment call on doctrines and actions? Jesus is giving us permission to tell right from wrong.

That’s why He said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 7:24 NKJV

In other words, there IS a correct usage of judgment which is based on Biblical doctrines and actions of a person.

Now we also understand why the apostle Paul told the Corinthian Church that it is their responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning!

“It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.” 1. Corinthians 5:12 NLT

Therefore, when Jesus said not to judge others, He did not mean that no one is allowed to identify sin for what it is based on God’s definition of sin found in His Word, the Bible!