[When] most people say [that] you shouldn’t judge, they mean that you shouldn’t judge things negatively. In other words, if you say “Fred did great in class,” [you won’t hear people say] “don’t judge!”
Whenever somebody commits a crime, it was their bad upbringing; but if someone is rewarded, nobody says: “he doesn’t deserve it, he was brought up well.”
I’m suspicious of the “don’t be judgmental” [response] because I think it’s a kind of “don’t say things I find unpleasant” [comment]—which is really not a moral argument.
— Francis Beckwith, from Can We be Good Without God? at 1:38:20
This passage (Matthew 7:1-5) is often taken out of context to forbid all moral evaluation, as if Jesus were a relativist. But Jesus had something else in mind: a clear-sighted self-evaluation and a proper evaluation of others based on objective standards. Therefore, when one judges others, one is implicitly bringing oneself under the same judgment. One will be measured by the same measurement one employs….
If one fails to evaluate oneself by one’s own standard, one cannot rightly discern the moral status of others. In other words, proper moral evaluation requires a knowledge of the self, and allows no special pleading.
— Douglas Groothuis, from On Jesus, p. 58
Matthew 7:1—Judge not, that you be not judged.
As the context reveals, this does not prohibit all types of judging (v. 7:16—you will know them by their fruits).
There is a righteous kind of judgment we are supposed to exercise with careful discernment (John 7:24—Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment). Continue reading
Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.
— Charles Spurgeon
Biblically we are called to evaluate people’s behavior, to see if the behavior fits their confession of faith. 1 John is all about this; Matthew 7, judge them by their fruits; Ephesians 2:10, good works; James 2:14-26….
Judging truth and judging behavior is important and significant, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We’re so afraid of intolerance and judgmentalism that we don’t exercise biblical mandates to evaluate, to warn, to rebuke, to correct, and so on.
— Douglas Groothuis, from the “Developing an Apologetic Mind” Part 1 lecture at 37:11
I certainly do have a right to make moral judgments. I am a rational human person who is aware of certain fundamental principles of logical and moral reasoning. I think I’m qualified…. Your claim that I have no right to make judgments is itself a judgment about me. Your claim, therefore, is self-refuting.
— Greg Koukl and Francis Beckwith, from Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air, p. 12
Tolerance presupposes judgment.
— Francis Beckwith, from Why Be Tolerant? at 58:20
When someone says, “Who are you to judge?” the proper response is, “Since we are both rational people, who are aware of certain fundamental principles of logical and moral reasoning, we are both qualified to judge. In fact, I’m simply using the same standard you are using to judge me. All of us must make moral judgments. Laws couldn’t be made if we didn’t make judgments. And if we never judged between behaviors that are good and those that are evil, then we would have destroyed ourselves years ago.”
— Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, from Legislating Morality, p. 208