When we are warned, “Judge not lest ye be judged,” in Matthew 7:1, who will judge us? Does “lest ye be judged” refer to the judgment of God, the judgment of believers, or both?
As in our earlier example, if a friend judges me for not returning their call quickly, it will likely cause me to expect them to return my calls quickly…and be extra upset if they don’t! So judging could cause fellow believers to judge me for the same thing.
But it could also refer to the Lord’s judgment, as some passages seem to suggest. Let’s check out James 5:9 as an example:
Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
The concepts in this verse seem to be similar to Matthew 7:1 – that we shouldn’t grumble against or judge our brother or sister, or we will be judged. Also, the wording is similar, and the Greek is identical to that of Matthew 7:1.
So who is judging in this parallel passage? James clarifies that the judging is done by the Judge who is standing at the door. Who is this Judge? Well, in the previous two verses, James reminds that the Lord’s coming is near, and here he says He stands at the door, so it seems that the Judge is the Lord.
So “lest we be judged” could refer to being judged by other believers for the thing for which we are judging them. Or it could refer to being judged by the Lord. Or both – yikes!
No matter whom it’s from, it seems like a wise thing to avoid. We may reap eternal benefits of avoiding additional judgment… and the earthly benefit of not incurring additional judgment in our relationships.
Question: How do you keep from judging others? (that is, not judging others for things not in Scripture!) You can comment below.