The presumption of one Christian judging another overlooks the fact that God judges all, a prerogative categorically withheld from mortal, fallible men, and wisely so.
Judging the conduct of other Christians is a subject of such universal concern within the church that the collateral scriptures applicable to this question should be remembered here.
Jesus said, “Judge not that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1)
In addition, while upon Earth, not even the blessed Son of God himself judged people, saying, “I came not to judge the world but to save the world” (John 12:47).
This is not a prohibition of discerning other people’s actions, but of presuming to utter a condemnation, break the fellowship, or disturb the unity of the church.
Any Christian might lawfully make a private, personal, and tentative evaluation of another person’s conduct; but he is forbidden to pass judgment, in the sense of stating an opinion, announcing a conclusion, or otherwise making such an appraisal known to others.
He that speaketh against a brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
Only one is the lawgiver and judge, (Almighty God) even He who is able to save and to destroy: but WHO ART THOU THAT JUDGEST THY NEIGHBOR? (James 4:11,12).
Whereas, by the exercise of patience and forbearance, their undesirable conduct might, in time, become relaxed and changed, due to growth and development.
Thus, ALL JUDGING IS PREMATURE, as indicated by Paul’s command, “Judge nothing before the time” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
ONE CHRISTIAN HAS NO RIGHT TO JUDGE ANOTHER, except where Christ has expressly authorized it, and given him the rule of judgment.
This injunction against judging must be confined to such matters as Paul was discussing.
How could anyone beware of false prophets, unless we first judge them to be false prophets? (Matthew 7:15).
And we must judge a man to be an evil worker, or we could not obey the command to “beware of evil workers” (Philippians 3:2).
Neither could we obey Paul’s injunction (Romans 16:17,18) without judging which men belong to the class he mentions.
Peter wrote that Christians should, above all things: “be fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Judging and disposing of the faults of others is:
- (1) Dangerous
- (2) Hypocritical
- (3) Futile
“Another man’s servant” is an appeal to an earthly situation in which one does not meddle in the business of judging the servants of other people.
How much more appropriate it is for Christians to refrain from judging the servants of the Lord?
The same attitudes one manifests toward others are reflected against himself. The thing proscribed is harsh and censorious judgments of the conduct and character of others.
The injunction against judging is amplified by two negative commands:
- (1) JUDGE NOT
- (2) CONDEMN NOT
Also by two positive commands:
- (1) FORGIVE
- (2) GIVE
The word “release” has reference to holding an attitude of vengeance, or the keeping account of some injury with a view to retaliation. It was better translated “forgive” in the KJV.