What did Jesus mean when He said, 'Do not judge.'?

Scripture: John 7:24, Matthew 7:1-5
What did Jesus mean when He said, 'Do not judge.'? This verse is often misapplied. Christ said, 'If you judge, do it righteously.' The best understanding of this verse is 'Do not condemn.' We are to judge on what is obvious and plain on the outside. We cannot know the details of the heart.
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Caller:  When Jesus said ‘Do not judge’, what extentI guess what I’m asking is, what did He mean?

Pastor Doug:  Well, this is often misapplied, Bryan.  You know, the Bible says “Judge not lest you be judged”, Jesus says this in Matthew, then He goes on to say, “If you judge, judge a righteous judgment”, and so there it seems like He’s telling us it’s okay to judge but if you’re going to do it, do a righteous judgment.  And the word ‘judge’ here, when He says, ‘judge not’, it means ‘do not condemn’.  For with what judgment you judge you shall be judged.  So there is a distinction there and that’s one of the weaknesses when you translate from one language to another.

Caller:  Yeah.  Basically, I guess, when our President was having his problems, and I’d hear a lot of people like saying well, Jesus says you shouldn’t judge, but I think it was terrible that our country didn’t judge him.  You know, they were using that point where Jesus said you should not judge, but I think Jesus will judge us for not judging him.

Pastor Doug:  Well, the Bible tells us that we should have good judgment.  Scriptures also tell us we are our brother’s keeper, and furthermore, the Bible tells us that we’re to inspect the fruit.  Jesus said ‘You will know them by their fruits’.  Right?  Incidentally, I gave you a scripture before—John 7:24 is the one I’m looking for—it says “Do not judge according to appearances, but judge with righteous judgment”.  In other words, if you’re going to judge, do it righteously.  Okay?

Caller:  Obviously, if somebody keeps on committing murder or something, we’re going to judge him.

Pastor Doug:  Yeah.  You know, that has been a very terribly misapplied scripture where it says ‘don’t judge’, in that it’s almost like saying ‘Blind yourself don’t have any kind of evaluation’.  The Bible is telling us we shouldn’t pass sentence because we can’t see the heart, but the Lord does want us to evaluate what we see on the outside.  That’s why Jesus said, “You’ll know them by their fruits”.  Okay?

Caller:  Okay.  Thank you so very much.

Pastor Doug:  Alright, thank you.

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