First off… let me start off by explaining that there is a difference between understanding the difference between right and wrong and judging. I am not supporting some type of relative morality. Right and wrong exist and both are absolutes found in the Holy Scriptures. However, the pronouncement of sentence (judging) upon your fellow men is different. Judging is when you not only think you see the wrong someone is doing but then take it a step further and declare a punishment or sentence (even if it’s just in your mind) upon that person.
So why do people feel the need to judge others?
1. People pass judgment on others because it gives them a feeling of superiority. When people can comfortably point their fingers at their peers or make other people look at the seeming faults or shortcomings of others, it naturally makes them feel just that much better. Remember when you were a kid and you got caught doing something by your parents? Did you ever try to snitch on your siblings or close friends about their bad behavior in order to get your parents to stop scolding you for yours? Many people fall into the temptation to try to make the Christian life all about living up to a certain performance ratio, that is, a series of do’s and don’t’s, scrutinized by the public eye. So they go around pointing out and judging the failures of others, even if it is just in their own minds, in order to gain personal satisfaction that they themselves are righteous. Bad move.
2. People pass judgement on others because misery loves company. Many people who feel condemned themselves want others to be in the same boat as they are, so they make it happen. They feel that they are not good enough, not loved enough, not performing up to whatever standard they have set for themselves, so they put people in the same box. We have all seen this many times in churches that have congregations with superiority complexes; meaning, they feel that their mode of operation or way of expressing Christianity is better or just “more right” than all the other methods, so they judge their own brothers and sisters in Christ on their alleged lack of righteousness. They can also spread a rumor or some other bout of negativity to just a few friends about the decision making process of others who may be outside their own mentality. Again, bad move.
3. People judge others because they actually are trapped by the same or similar sin. Many times people judge others because they are trying to either make up for their own failings, or they are acutely aware of that particular sin because it resides in their own life. That type of judgement stems from the knowledge that others might be innocent of your forthright (or mental) accusation, but your inner struggle leaves you a slave to outward opinion. It could be that the influence of another is keeping a person entangled in a web of caution operation is, in reality, outside the scope of this person’s comfort zone. People can be and are conditioned by their surroundings to love or hate particular courses of action. There is no shame in trying to help someone maintain spiritual excellence. However, this is great shame in judging another person’s actions without knowing every single detail first. Our Lord put it this way. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35