1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
In this verse Paul cautions against the judgement of another with the warning that we ourselves will be judged. This is not a sentiment exclusive to Paul. In other places in Scripture we hear that by the measure we judge, so will we be judged. Yet to get a full understanding of this verse it is necessary to consider what Paul is talking about when he says we are not judge others.
To begin our exploration it is good to look at 1 Corinthians 2:15 were Paul makes a claim that at first glance is counter to what he says in Romans 2:1. In 1 Cor 2:15 he declares that “a spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment…” To further complicate matters, in 1 Corinthians 4:5 Paul again cautions to “judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes.” So which is it? Are we, the spiritually minded, given the okay to judge or are we to refrain from judgement? The answer is not as clear cut as we would like it to be.
The truth of the matter is that it depends. I know, I hate that phrase as much as you do. It depends because it depends on what is being judged. When it comes to the status of another human being and their relationship with God, Scripture strictly forbids any man from casting judgement. That is not our job. That is God’s domain alone. Yet as Christians, those who are imparted with the Holy Spirit and given the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) we are commanded to make judgments about what is good in the eyes of God.
By way of example, if you were to witness a man beating his wife it would be within your authority to judge that situation as outside the will of God. After all, Ephesians commands that husbands love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Yet it would be beyond the scope of your judgement to announce that the man was condemned to hell because of what he had done. This can certainly be a tricky line to walk but this is essential when it comes to living the Christian life.
As you go on your way this week remember that you do have the God-given authority and wisdom to judge and discern what is right and pleasing to God. Use that wisdom to edify and build up your brothers and sisters and bring loving correction to those who walk outside the will of our Lord.
A prayer for you: Father, please grant me the wisdom to know what is right and pleasing to you. Instill me with your mind and your eyes that I might see the world as you see it. Father, give me the boldness to judge in a godly manner and to act when I see things that grieve your heart. Amen!