Matthew 7:1 and judging


When Christ said "Judge not, that you may not be judged", people say that Christ's meaning of this is that He didn't want people to judge the hearts of others.

But what should we do about certain people who's actions are malicious? If a man's a Christian but then starts murdering people, wouldn't it be ridiculous to say "maybe he doesn't know he's doing wrong"? Furthermore, should we give Hitler a chance and say maybe he was a "good guy" in his heart?


The usual answer is we can judge their actions but not the state of their souls... but I wonder if this might not be related to "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"? Since there is the same ending: lest ye be judged.

This would allow us to say that Hitler or Stalin was an evil man, but we leave the ultimate judgement up to God.


Christ does not forbid us to judge others, but warns us not to judge rashly, as is evident from the rest of the sentence “so that we may not be judged”. And the next verse, “for with the judgment you make you will be judged”. Similar to the Our Father, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” He is actually teaching us how to judge.

St. Jerome, Commentary on Matthew:

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.” If he prohibits judging, how is it consistent that Paul judges the fornicator in Corinth, and Peter convicts Ananias and Sapphira of lying? But from what follows he shows what he has prohibited. He says: for in what manner you judge, so shall it be judged concerning you. Thus he has not prohibited judging, but taught it.


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