Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged

Q. I have a question regarding the “Judge not lest ye be judged” verse. So many people spew this verse out that I’m not even sure what it means.

Y’shua says that we are to recognize evil and remove ourselves from it. Paul says that we are to stay away from those who do evil. How do you tell new Christians or those who are not Christians yet what this verse really means? If one cannot judge how then does one witness to another? It seems circular. Could you please explain this to me?

A. The verse you’re quoting is Luke 6:37 and the word translated “judge” means to render an opinion about someone. That’s different from disapproving of his or her behavior. For instance, we can avoid being around someone whose behavior is inconsistent with Christian standards without making a judgment about the person. The Lord, who alone knows the intent of our heart, reserves task that for Himself. (1 Cor. 4:5)

Another way of explaining this to a new believer is that we’re to hate the sin but love the sinner. This is how God looks at us. According to Romans 7:20 when the Lord sees our sinful behavior, He knows that it’s not us sinning but the sin nature that dwells within us. That’s why he can forgive us every time we confess our sins, something else He also requires us to do for one another.

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