"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you."
- Matthew 7:1-2
There was a time when probably the best-known Bible verse would have been John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." It seemed as though everyone either knew this verse or knew a little bit about it.
But that is no longer the favorite verse of most people, especially nonbelievers. In fact, I believe the nonbeliever's favorite verse is Matthew 7:1. I don't think they know the actual reference, but they love to quote it: "Judge not, that you be not judged."
That is usually what they say to a Christian who has the audacity to hold a biblical worldview. If we dare say that something is right or wrong, or if we make an evaluation about something, they will shoot back, "How can you say that? That is so judgmental! That is so narrow-minded! That is so bigoted! Doesn't the Bible say, 'Judge not, lest you be judged'?"
Don't be put off by that. A better translation of this verse would be, "Condemn not, that you be not condemned." I am not in the position to say who will get into heaven or who will end up in hell. Ultimately that is up to God.
But I am to make judgments in life. Every day, I make judgments. If I am stepping into the street, I look both ways to make sure it is safe. That is a judgment. If I see a dog and decide to pet it, only to change my mind when he suddenly bares his teeth and growls, then that is a judgment.
So I am to make judgments and evaluations as a follower of Jesus Christ. We must make judgments. But we must not condemn.