Intro: 

 A person who judges says something along the following vein:

That person is sinning / not sinning
(Or more descriptively)
That person is acting/ not acting according to God’s will
(Or more secularly)
That person in acting in a harmful/non harmful manner
(Or more comparatively)
I am acting in a better/ worse manner than that person

Most people are uncomfortable with these statements, because, by themselves, they imply too much. In many cases, a person who says one these statements is judging sinfully. But not always.

When people say that you shouldn’t be quick to judge, they don’t mean a person shouldn’t have in mind what is right and wrong. They know that everyone has an idea of what is right and wrong. Their problem is with the condescending, or prideful attitude shown in many (if not most) examples of judging.

The tricky part is that when people have difficulty with these statements, they have difficulty with them for different reasons, all of which fall under the same name in our current lexicon – judgmentalism.

Thesis:

When a person calls someone else “too judgmental” or “too quick to judge,” they typically mean at least one of six different types of errant judging, which often happen concurrently: (A) Single-Sin-Focusing, (B) Conclusion-Jumping, (C) False-Prophesy, (D) Outward-Action-Policing, (E) Forgetting God’s Grace, and (F) Neglecting the Person’s Situation.

Further Definition:

Spelling out these six forms a little more . . .

If you think a person is sinfully judging, then you probably think they are either -
(A) Judging a person based on too narrow a slice of their actions – putting too much stock in one behavior,
(B) Judging a person based on wrong assumptions – assuming wrongly or assuming more than they know about the other person,
(C) Judging a person with wrong standards – using an incorrect definition of godliness
(D) Judging a person based solely on words or deeds – forgetting that most, if not all sinful behavior is in the thought life,
(E) Judging a person’s standing with God – thinking that a person who sins more has less of a relationship with God, or
(F) Willfully ignoring a person’s situation – purposely ignoring the fact that the “sinner’s” circumstances might be completely different than the judger’s circumstances.

Examples/Illustrations of judging sinfully in the six ways.
(A) (Single-Sin-Focusing) I hear Peter talking about an R rated movie that he saw. I thought he was a good person. Now I don’t know if I can trust him.
(B) (Conclusion-Jumping) I saw Peter go into a tobacco shop. I didn’t know he smoked.
(C) (False-Prophesy) No, the Bible doesn’t say that a person shouldn’t take out a home mortgage; I just know it to be true.
(D) (Outward-Action-Policing) Peter’s house is way too big. It doesn’t matter that he has ten kids.
(E) (Forgetting God’s Grace) God wouldn’t love a person who parents the way Peter does.
(F) (Neglecting the Person’s Situation) It’s too bad that Peter has been unemployed for more than a year, but a father should clothe his kids better than that.
 
Biblical Support:

Both Christians and Non-Christians point to Jesus’ words (“Do not judge, or you too will be judged” – Matthew 7:1) and suggest that this means “do not ever declare another person’s action to be sinful.” So if anyone ever declares another to be sinful, they are doing wrong. I will treat the irony of those sentiments with benign neglect, but here is the Bold Statement: When Christ chastises the Pharisees and law teachers for improper judging, it not for their mental act of discerning what is right and wrong behavior. Rather it is always for one or more of these six things.

(A) Single Sin Focusing – Christ suggests the leaders consider their own sin before they stone the adulterous women. (John 8:4)
(B) Conclusion Jumping – The Pharisees assume that Christ is doing tawdry things when he spends time with the tax collectors and sinners. (Mark 2:15-17)
(C) False Prophesy – The Pharisees chastise the disciples for picking grain on a Sabbath, and Christ rebukes them. (Matthew 12:1-8)
(D) Outward Action Policing – Christ tells the Pharisees to worry about the inside of the cup and then the outside will be clean as well. (Luke 11:39 – 41)
(E) Forgetting God’s Grace – Christ says “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)
(F) Neglecting the Person’s Situation – The Pharisee thinks that the prostitute is not worthy to pour perfume on Christ’s feet. (Luke 7:39)

The Right Way:

Theoretically, however, if a person is able to avoid these six aspects of sinful judgment, they are not judging sinfully. In other words, using the above statements of judgment – found at the very beginning of this post) a person who says (or thinks) the following is not sinfully judging:

(A) Regarding only the action/behavior that I am talking about,
(I realize that this action is only one aspect of this person as a whole being and that other sins that others do might be worse)
(B) Considering only what I know of that person,
(I am trying to only speak of those things that I know for a fact about that person)
(C) Assuming that my definition of God’s will is correct.
(I realize that your definition of what is sinful may be different from mine and that I had better be certain of what scripture says before I judge)
(D) and Speaking only of outward actions,
(I realize that some people who outwardly look good are inwardly sinful and vice-versa)
That person is sinning / not sinning
(Or)
That person is acting/ not acting according to God’s will
(Or)
That person in acting in a harmful/non-harmful manner
(Or)
I am acting in a better/ worse manner than that person
(E) But (even in light of this) he is not more/less entitled to God’s Grace and Love,
(I realize that everyone sins and that God’s love isn’t based on how upright a person is)
(F) And (even in light of this) I am not a better/worse person
(I realize that, put in the same situation, I might do the same as him and ‘but for the grace of God, there go I’)

You might say, now wait a second, no one says or thinks all of these things when they judge. I admit, it would be rare. This is, I would assume, why Christ advises against it.