Today in the first few verses of Mat 7 we find the favorite Scripture in the whole Bible of the unrighteous! We know right away that Jesus is NOT telling us to not make judgments about right and wrong actions and behavior. We know, because He tells us in just a few more verses, TO make judgments based on behavior. (“You will know them by their fruits,” vs. 16.) We need to evaluate what fruit is being produced in someone’s life, and then make a judgment based on that fruit, whether we want to listen to them or not, or associate with them or not.
Also, Torah commands nations and communities to set up judges who will judge cases according to the Law. We know that the Word of God is truth, Genesis to Revelation, and truth cannot contradict. So if two things seem to contradict, then it is our understanding that is off somewhere, not the Word of God.
So what does Jesus mean, when He says, “Judge not, that you be not judged?” “Judge” in Greek is krino, and it means, by implication, to try, condemn, or punish. We might make decisions based on someone’s fruit, and even pass a judgment in a court of Law based on someone’s action or behavior, but we are not to try the heart of another human being or condemn the heart of another human being. When we do that, we are taking on something only God can do.
We are to measure grace to people, and forgiveness, because the fact is, we are not at the point of judgment yet! Jesus has not returned yet and has not separated the sheep from the goats. So there is still time for anyone to have their eyes opened, or for anyone to be saved and redeemed, even at the last hour!
I know that when I stand before the Lord, I want grace and mercy measured to me (Mat 7:2), so I take care to measure it to others. I want to be given the benefit of the doubt!