Q. Recently I’ve seen two videos of a gay pride parade. The first thing out the mouth of gay activists toward the Christians there was, “You must not judge!” Also, this is something I hear all the time from family members,co-workers and friends etc. My question is, what does the Bible verse “do not judge” truly mean? Does it mean that we shouldn’t make any attempt to point out to an unbeliever that they’re on the wrong path? What is the meaning of “judge” as it was used in that verse?
A. The Lord’s admonition “Do not judge!” comes from Matt. 7:1 which reads,
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. This has become the verse unbelievers most often when speaking to a Christian.
In Matt. 7:1 the word “judge” means to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong. Unbelievers don’t like it when we pronounce an opinion about their behavior, even if our opinion comes from the Bible. They don’t think it’s any of our business if they violate a behavioral standard the God they don’t believe in has established.
Paul agreed with them in 1 Cor. 5:12-13 when He said, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the Church? God will judge those outside.” In Romans 2:2-4 he said when we judge unbelievers we show contempt for the riches of God’s kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that it’s His kindness that leads people toward repentance. Behavior changes come after salvation.
I think it’s important when we’re speaking with unbelievers to always remember we were just like them before God cleaned us up, and He isn’t finished with us yet.
“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like them, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:3-5).