What is judging?


Luke 6:37 : “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

What is judging? Is it saying you are a glutton, or you are a murderer or is it just saying you will go to hell? Is judging accusing someone of something that he has done?


This is a good question as I would like to know also. In past conversations/arguments with my wife, I have been accused of being too judgmental and that I do indeed judge others. In more or less words, I put my faith in everything with prevents me from actually accepting people. this is in light of her feelings towards SSM and such. I tried to explain that I fully accept our friends who are gay and always will welcome them in our home but I will not condone any sinful acts or encourage them (or our straight friends) to engage in sex or any other sinful behavior. She and several of our friends don’t see anything wrong with sex before marriage or SSM, actually encourage it.


I don’t know but I think when you disagree with someone it is assumed you are judging them and I’m sure it goes both ways. But, we can’t all agree about everything, of course that’s not possible. Just because you don’t agree with someone it doesn’t mean you are judging them or don’t like them. That’s just not true. But I think that it’s assumed these days. :frowning:


JMO (Just my opinion) - but judging implies judgement - that one has decided X to be true. If you are comfortable deciding (setting the criteria, gathering the evidence, and pronouncing judgement) that someone is indeed a glutton or a murderer (and all that goes with those labels), then that is judging.

Some may judge me to be “politically correct”, but based on my life experiences and my beliefs and feelings, I try to avoid ever judging people. I use to do it all the time and discovered that it did not lead to happiness for me or change for them. I also discovered that humans are much more incredibly complex than imaginable, and it is rare that we have the time and ability to truly know someone else and thus be able to have all the evidence needed to judge them.

So, I reserve my judging now for acts and behaviors. This allows me to support and encourage what is right, warn against what is wrong, and attempt to live my life by those guidelines … gradually journeying from wrong to right, from good to better … and offering prayers for others that they may do the same.


There is judging rightly, and judging wrongly.

In the terms where the Bible seems to speak ‘against judging’, it appears to use this in a legal sense. Now most of us are not judges (these are the people who would have made legal judgments in Jesus’ time), so we cannot make the kind of judgments of a person having transgressed the LAW (meaning religious law) that these judges made. Regarding being able to read the heart of a person and to know whether that person has sinned or not, that is up to God.

However, Scripture does tell us that we may, indeed we MUST, discern things as true or untrue. This is also a kind of ‘judgment’ but not related to others, but to ourselves.

And we may also (in order to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, and admonish the sinner, among other acts of mercy) be able to state OBJECTIVELY things that are good, and things that are evil. This determination is a kind of judging of actions, but not of the people doing the actions, and it is fine.


And we mustn’t confuse judging with correcting.

Galatians 6:1 “My brothers, if someone is detected in sin, you who live by the spirit should gently set him right, each of you trying to avoid falling into temptation himself.”


We should be very clear on this, and since it is people who act, write and speak, we are judging their activities in relation to the truth.
Apart from commanding the woman found in adultery to “go and sin no more” the Christ commanded us to
“Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly.” (Jn 7:24).
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them” (Mt 7:15, 16).
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.” (Mt 7:19-20).

And St Paul, following the Master:
“Test everything: retain what is good.” (1Thess 5:21).
“The spiritual person, however, can judge everything but is not subject to judgement by anyone.” (1 Cor 2:15).

“Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 Jn 4:1).

“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:16).

That is precisely why we judge actions, speech, writing against true teaching as to what is good and what is evil.

Jesus has commanded “Stop judging, that you may not be not judged.” (Mt 7:1; read 1-5).
Thus we are commanded not to judge others regarding their motives, intentions, and guilt before God (a judgment reserved to God).


Okay but is that “judging” also sinful?(I dont’t want to judge i just want to know)


Abu wrote: <<Jesus has commanded “Stop judging, that you may not be not judged.” (Mt 7:1; read 1-5).( My statement…we can eliminate the second not in that sentence.)
Thus we are commanded not to judge others regarding their motives, intentions, and guilt before God (a judgment reserved to God). >>

That sounds correct to me. God is the judge of their actions and knows what is in their minds and hearts, whether they are culpable. Yes, it could be sinful, and we should be mindful of that when we are tempted to judge.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t correct , in a peacable way, when it is called for. The Lord wants us to do that.
The person may be indignant, but we would have planted a seed that takes root in the future. I can think of instances where this happened to me, and I knew in my heart that the person was correct, and in due time adhered to their correction. And, I should note, these people who corrected me did not bash me, put me down, or make me feel horrible. I could discern that they were being sincere and concerned for me in their correction.


(2) Judgment is lawful in so far as it is an act of justice. Now it follows from what has been stated above (1, ad 1,3) that three conditions are requisite for a judgment to be an act of justice: first, that it proceed from the inclination of justice; secondly, that it come from one who is in authority; thirdly, that it be pronounced according to the right ruling of prudence. If any one of these be lacking, the judgment will be faulty and unlawful. First, when it is contrary to the rectitude of justice, and then it is called “perverted” or “unjust”: secondly, when a man judges about matters wherein he has no authority, and this is called judgment “by usurpation”: thirdly, when the reason lacks certainty, as when a man, without any solid motive, forms a judgment on some doubtful or hidden matter, and then it is called judgment by “suspicion” or “rash” judgment.

(2 ad 1) Thou shalt not judge. (Mt 7:1) In these words our Lord forbids rash judgment which is about the inward intention, or other uncertain things, as Augustine states. Or else He forbids judgment about Divine things, which we ought not to judge, but simply believe, since they are above us, as Hilary declares in his commentary on Mt. 5. Or again according to Chrysostom, He forbids the judgment which proceeds not from benevolence but from bitterness of heart.

*(**4) Now no man ought to despise or in any way injure another man without urgent cause: and, consequently, unless we have evident indications of a person’s wickedness, we ought to deem him good, by interpreting for the best whatever is doubtful about him…He who interprets doubtful matters for the best, may happen to be deceived more often than not; yet it is better to err frequently through thinking well of a wicked man, than to err less frequently through having an evil opinion of a good man, because in the latter case an injury is inflicted, but not in the former."
(Aquinas, ST II-II 60 - Judgment)

*I think the type of judgment we are most often condemned for making is the third type: rash judgment, where we condemn a person’s action based on our own perception of his motives for doing it. We are normally ignorant of what motivates a person and therefore we should not judge what we do not know.



Okay so is that sinful judging limited only to judging someone’s sin or multiple sins? Or is it also sinful to judge something else like watching tv too much(assuming that the one you are judging about watching TV too much isn’t doing anything sinful as a consequence of watching TV too much)?


The word judging is one where most people are terrible confused as to its meaning. First you need to know, the word judgment has two completely different meanings in the Bible which is what leads to confusion. One definition of judgment is passing final condemnation on the state of someone soul. This is the kind of Judgment that the verse cited by the OP is talking. We cannot judge the state of someone’s sould and we cannot condemn others. When Jesus commands not to judge, he is forbidding us from passing condemnation on the state of another’s.soul, and if we condemn someone we will be treated the way.

The second definition of judgment used in the bible is discerning right from wrong.
This kind of judgment not only we are allowed to do but we have a duty to do it. When we point that certain act is sinful or we correct someone, that is the kind of judgment, discernment of right from wrong, that we must do. Is very important to keep this in mind as the don’t judge line has been misinterpret by people who want to justify sinful actions and is heavily used today when a sin is point out, the answer is don’t judge don’t judge, so be clear that the second type of judgment it is allowed.


We can judge someone’s actions as right or wrong. We can judge someone’s status when on a jury as guilty or not guilty. We can judge the truth or falsity of a statement. We can judge the prudence of a particular course of action. We can judge the accuracy of an observation. We can judge the impartiality of a news report. We can judge the value of reading particular books or seeing particular movies. We can judge the accuracy of a weather report.

We can judge whether or not our children did what they were told. We can judge the desirability of a particular course of action.

We can judge a lot of things. We must judge a lot of things. The only thing we cannot judge is the state of someone’s soul; only God can see that.


When I was a kid, I heard a protestant minister shout from the pulpit, “Sinners who drink, and go to movie theaters, and listen to rock and roll music will BUUUURRRN in the fires of Hell for AAAALLLLLLL eternity!”

This is a good example of the wrong type of judgment. He has judged individuals based on his own values. Furthermore, his statement implies that there is no hope for these individuals being forgiven (even if those things really were evil). He has made a dogmatic statement of the eternal state of souls without basis, knowledge, and based on frivolous preferences.



In Luke 6:37, the word for “judge” is used to instruct us not to condemn. The same word is used in John 7:24 where it speaks of making correct appraisal or discernment:
"Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly."


Hi Timi,

I think Shakespeare wrote beautifully on this in the Merchant of Venice. Portia is responding to the Jew, Shylock, who is demanding justice (judgement). Portia says…

“Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.”

What Shakespeare touches on, I would say, is that by hoping for mercy from God we too learn to show that same mercy to others - that is, not judging them as guilty, but acquitting them of their sins against us.

So I would say, rather than looking at this as just a command, remember our Lord in his Passion as he faced those that had nailed him to the cross and called out “Father, forgive them”. If our Lord does not judge others as guilty, then who are we to?

Just my thoughts,

God bless +



It appears to me that the main point, from everything I’ve read that is purely Catholic, is that we are not to judge a person’s motives, because we are not mind readers. We cannot know what a person feels in their heart, those are only things that God knows. If a person gives to the poor or is serving God in some way, we are not to take it upon ourselves and judge their motives as anything less than legitimate intentions. Not to say that we are to be naive and ignore obvious glory hound bragging and blowing the trumpet to draw the attention and glory to themselves, because somethings are very obvious.

The “judge not” passage has definately been taken out of context by many who want to justify their politics or social views that do not mix with the teachings of the Church.


Here is a good footnote from the Douay-Rheims Study Bible on Matthew 7:1

1. Judge not. It is no Christian part to judge ill of men’s acts, which be in themselves good, and may proceed of good meaning, or of man’s inward meanings and intentions, which we cannot see; of which fault they must beware that are too suspicious, and given to deem always the worst of other men. But to say that Judas, or a heretic evidently known to die obstinately in heresy, is damned, and in all other plain and manifest cases to judge, is not forbidden.


Im confused now. Some say that others that. What is judging? And is judging sinful? Both judging someone sin/s or judging something else that is not a sin?


The context for this type of “judging” was someone being put to death. It’s another way of telling us “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. It didn’t mean ignoring what others are doing when they are doing evil. In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus says, “judge not that you be not judged”. But later on in the same paragraph, Jesus tells us, “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves…thus you will know them by their fruits”. We have to observe what people do and examine what they say in order to beware of the “false prophets” (heretics). So we should “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph 5:11), and “… let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (Jas 1:19).

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