By, Toni Smothers
God knows men’s hearts, ”No one had to tell him, (Jesus), what people were like. He already knew.” (John 2:25) People, however, seem to learn slowly and painfully about our broken humanity’s capability toward depravity. We can’t accept that certain human behavior is possible until it becomes personal and we must. We must also realize that we will never be able to fathom the thoughts within another’s heart - No one can know what anyone else is really thinking except that person alone. So, instead of attempting to assign motives or blame, we are told in the Word to judge others by their fruit or actions. “Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thorn bushes. A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burned. You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds.” (Matthew 7 15-20)
We must beware of false people who are disguised as friends. We can detect them by the way they act, just as we can identify a tree by its fruit. Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced. Still, all judgment is not necessarily sinful. Jesus both forbid one kind of judgment and approved another type of judgment. In John 7:24 Jesus says, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Righteous judgment would certainly have to be based on spiritual discernment, which would utilize prayer and petition for help from God for wisdom.
In 2 John 1:9-11, we can get a pretty clear picture of righteous judgment. “Don't keep changing what you were taught about Christ, or else God will no longer be with you. But if you hold firmly to what you were taught, both the Father and the Son will be with you. If people won't agree to this teaching, don't welcome them into your home or even greet them. Greeting them is the same as taking part in their evil deeds.”
What it really comes down to is, whatever you are trying to evaluate must glorify God and adhere to the principles set forth in the Bible to be of value. Otherwise, detach yourself, because God’s word is the standard for all judgment - By using the Word and knowing the pertinent facts, we are judging with righteous judgment.