That is, breaking free and staying free from having a judgmental attitude towards individuals, leaders and ministries.
This is especially important in church life.
Jesus taught us to be fruit-testers—to weigh up whether a prophetic ministry that purports to be from God is actually of Him by examining the fruit. (Matt 7:15-19) The Apostle Paul warned leaders to be alert for ‘wolves,’ teachers who would distort the Gospel. (Acts 20:28-31)
However, I have learned that there is a difference between God-honouring discernment that protects the church, and passing judgment in such a way that damages others and us.
What does ‘Do Not Judge’ Mean?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Jesus, Matt 7:1-2).
Jesus made it clear that we are not to judge others.
Many of us would be aware of this command. However, if someone accused us of ‘judging’, we would be quick to refute it, mentally if not verbally.
Yet it is likely that each of us make judgments frequently. This is because summing other people up—and finding them lacking—is an inherent part of our culture today. It is also a common response when we have been hurt or wounded by someone.
But what does the Bible say?
A study of the New Testament Greek word translated ‘judge’ reveals that it means to decide the rightness or wrongness of something. In its simplest form, ‘krino’ simply means to form an opinion about whether something is right or wrong, good or bad, approved or disapproved. 
When Jesus used the term in Matt 7:1-2, he was warning us against condemning or passing sentence on others. Why? Only God can truly judge the heart and intent of people.
Some Signs we are Judging Others
Unsure about whether or not you are being judgmental of a person or a leader? Here is a checklist of some things to watch for:
1. A Blockage in our Ministry
Holding on to judgements, negative opinions and a critical attitude will affect our spiritual progress and our ministry. In prophetic ministry, judgment affects us like a blindfold across our spiritual eyes. It stops us seeing people as the Father sees them. 
If we hold judgments against a leader, it will affect our ability to serve him or her wholeheartedly.
Likewise, holding a judgement against ministers or leaders will block the flow of their ministry to us—we will not be able to receive God’s intended blessing through them.
2. A Negative Opinion
When we judge, we are forming a negative opinion of others based upon:
- Something they have said or done
- Something someone else has reported about them
- The way they look, or how circumstances appear
- A prejudice or preconceived opinion
When someone commits a wrongdoing, we cross the line to judgement when we label him or her a wrongdoer.
Just as a court judge has the power to pass sentence and send a person to imprisonment, we too imprison people and ourselves with our views and opinions.
A judgment will colour our viewpoint of someone negatively. A common way that judgments manifest is in the form of an attitude of disapproval.
Our disapproval will in turn influence others, who pick up it up from us.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.’ (James 3:9).
A criticism is simply a vocalised judgment. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). We have already passed sentence by the disapproval in our hearts; this is now reinforced by our words, which we inevitably share with others.
By judging another person or group, we are placing ourselves on a higher level. Sometimes we may even consider this justified, especially if we believe we hold the moral high ground.
James tells us that there is only one judge—God. (See James 4:11)
What To Do About Judgments
If you recognise that judgments have affected you in your personal, church or ministry life, you may find the following steps helpful:
An excellent way to do this is to listen carefully to what comes out of your mouth! Ask yourself the questions,
- ‘What negative opinions do I have about other people and leaders?’
- ‘What do I disapprove of?’
- ‘How have I labelled them—summed them up?’
Now, call these responses by the name of the sin that they really are: judging.
You may find it helpful, as I once did, to write out your judgments and renounce them one by one.  Intentionally replace every negative opinion with a positive one. Replace criticism (cursing) with blessing.
Re-examine the Cause
Take another look at the action that caused you to make it in the first place:
- If the judgment arose from a hurt, do you need to forgive? Or do you need to receive God’s comfort and healing?
- Is the area you have judged the other person in, something that you yourself have a weakness in? (See Matt 7:2-4)
But the Person was Wrong!
So if we cannot judge someone, does that mean that we cannot take an appropriate warning concerning his or her actions to a leader? Does it mean that we cannot bring correction or adjustment when it is needed? Does it mean that we have to trust someone who has hurt us again?
No, no and no.
What it does mean is that we step down from our high platform of judgment and onto the common ground of grace—the knowledge that we too have sinned. And from that place, allow Biblical wisdom, humility and the love of God to guide our responses.
1. Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. 1996. Ref 2919, krino, to judge.
3. This article is an adapted excerpt from my book, ‘Prophetic People in a Changing Church’ in which I share my own journey of freedom.
Can you think of any other ways in which judgments can affect you? Or do you have a question or testimony about breaking free from judgments? Leave a comment in the comments box. If it is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
Did you receive this from a friend? Read more from Enliven Blog or sign to receive our weekly prophetic teaching updates at https://www.enlivenpublishing.com/blog