The problem that a lot of us have is that we judge wrongly. There is a time to judge and there is a time not to. When is it appropriate? When we are judging something in the hope of making a better society. Sometimes we need to judge for the purposes of self-protection. For instance, we need to judge actions sometimes because we care about the society around us. If we do not judge, we go along with anything and we lose any sense of standards.
Take the issue of children in school. Some people say Oh don’t give them a low grade because it will hurt their self esteem. But in the real world, they are going to be judged all the time. We need similarly to judge people’s moral actions. There is far too much concern about not judging. What harm did a little good judging do? There is good judging and bad judging. Good judging says this behaviour is unacceptable. Bad judging says the person themselves is unacceptable. There is a clear difference.
When should we not judge? When we do not know where a person is on the path to heaven. For instance, let’s say there are two people. One is at a bar for the first time, considering the possibility of taking their first drink. They are tired of being good all the time when they perceive that their life is not going well so what’s the point of being good? They feel that God has let them down. On the other hand, there is also someone at the bar who is in the process of overcoming an addiction to alcohol. Both of these people are similarly drunk at the same time in the same bar. An onlooker might lump them in the same category as drunk people. But God knows that there is a very real difference in the attitude of the two sinners. We are all sinners. But our attitudes are much harder to see than the glass that is raised to our lips. That is why it is up to God to judge in these important matters.
Only God knows us as individuals, completely. He knows where we are on the path to heaven, if we are even on it in the first place. The first person has a bad attitude in this example and is not on the right path, excluding all other circumstances. The alcoholic might be in the process of repenting and this is the last time he is ever going to take a drink. He knows and loves God, and is almost ready to be strong. Same action, two different attitudes. One is on his way up, the other on his way down. The casual, human observer cannot differentiate between these two souls, but God surely can.
We do at times need to judge in this life. Society is all around us. What we do as individuals affects the community as a whole. As Donne said, No man is an island. However, we judge the action, and not the person. Because we have no idea where that person has been, or where they are going in the future. The only thing we can do is hope and pray that everyone is going in the right direction as much as possible.