Right off the bat, I can see where many would reply, "why then do we have Judges in court?" Those type of Judges are for a different purpose, and we will get into that. While "Do not judge" is not one of the Ten Commandments, it is important: It was a Commandment given to us by Jesus Christ. (Photo credit to: On The Record)
The issue usually arises when people look at judging by biblical standards as a "biblical contradiction." There is nothing contradictory about it, it is not a fallacy, it is truth. In what way is it a supposed contradiction? Some point out that Jesus tells us "Do not judge," and said that he did not come into the world to condemn (judge), and that is true. He came into the world to save the world - it is at a future event that he will judge - it was not the reason he came into the world.
The other supposed contradiction is described as such, "If we are told not to judge, why did God also tell us to appoint judges over ourselves?" That is a very good question, which deserves a good answer. Let us first take a look at the passage in question.
Matthew 7:1-5 says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from the other person's eye."
That said, we are told not to judge others - as in, do not judge a person based on looks, personality, acts they have committed, their skin color, and whatnot. When we are told to beware of false prophets and "evildoers," as well as to avoid practices that mediums and psychics partake in, we are discerning what is evil and what is not. But we cannot discern if we do not make some kind of judgment regarding such things.
All too often in today's world are Christians accused of "judging" by speaking or acting out against an activity we know to be sinful. But that is not judging. We are to exercise a "righteous judgment," with consideration and careful spiritual discernment. John 7:24 says, "Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly." In other words, stop judging by external standards.
In Matthew 7:1-5, when Jesus tells us about judgment, he is not telling us about external judgment - he was condemning self-righteous and hypocritical judgment of others. "Judge not, lest you be judged." Do not judge someone else for his or her sin, especially when you see that you are sinning "worse" than they are. Actually, if we see another Christian sinning, we are told to lovingly confront him or her about their sin.
He tells us this in Matthew 18:15, which says, "If a brother or sister sins, go and point out the fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over." In this way, it is not judging, but pointing out fault - pointing out the truth with the goal of repentance towards God on behalf of the other individual. James, brother of Jesus reminds us of this. "Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the way of error will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins." (James 5:20)
2nd Timothy 4:2 says, "Preach his word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction." It is in this sense that we are to "judge" sin, but only by presenting the only solution for sin and the consequences of sin - Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (John 14:6)
Now, what about a judge? Well, let us take a close look at God's Word. The book of Judges, along with the prophet Samuel featured in 1st Samuel, and the future event in which Jesus will return to reign on Earth 1,000 Years (Revelation 20) all have a common theme: Judges. Samson, Gideon, Deborah, Samuel, and many others judged Israel. Christ will come back to judge the lost - and then award the saved according to their works. Not by works that they are saved, but by works their rewards in Heaven.
Also in Revelation 20:4 is the following verse: "I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the Word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life with Christ and reigned a thousand years."
Now, if you seek to learn more on such events, see the series, "The End Times." The reason I pointed out that verse was this: if we are to have judges in the future, human judges nonetheless to judge others, why then are we told not to judge others? Is that not a fallacy? Of course not, and I will attempt to explain why.
If you are a judge in a courtroom, you are there for a specific reason. Regardless of the case, or your personal opinions, your job is to hear the case being presented before you, and come to a verdict based on testimonies and such. You are not judging the crime based on what the person looks, smells, or sounds like. (Depending on what the case is, of course.) You are there to judge the evidence, find the guilty party, and sentence.
That is not judging by external standards, or by what someone appears like, dresses like, sounds like, acts like. That is judging a case. That is the difference between a judge - and judging based on external standards. We can look at this from another view. We are told not to judge, but we ourselves all have a judge, because we have all broken the law. God is a Judge, among his other titles.
With God as our judge, and because we have all broken his Law, we are all guilty and sentenced to an eternity in a very real place - Hell. Thankfully, the Judge's son, Jesus Christ, walked into the courtroom and paid the fine for each and everyone of us - and all we have to do is accept his free gift, accept him as savior, confess our sins to the Lord, repent, and ask for forgiveness, and if you believe in your heart that Christ died and is risen from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Do not wait until a later date. If you know you have broken the law, you are being given an opportunity - right here, right now, to accept the only one who has the power to save you. It is between you and God, but I would urge you not to wait... you never know how much longer we have left on this earth, and last I checked, 10 out of every 10 people die. If you have already accepted Christ, then stay true to the faith - don't keep the faith, spread it.
I thank you for taking the time to read this entry of "The Truth." I hope this has cleared up a few misconceptions. As ever, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, comment below, or visit the facebook. May God bless you, reader. Remember these words, John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Troy Hillman