One of the many things God and Christ tried to teach us is not to presume to judge our brother. But like so many other wrongs or sins...judgement comes too easily. Sometimes it's like breathing, it just happens. But what does it do to us when it "happens"? We don't just hurt the ones we judge, we hurt ourselves as well.
Christ teaches that we reap what we sow. He teaches that we "are" judged by how we judge. We are forgiven or showed mercy by how we apply these to others. Basically he's saying according to how we treat others, he will treat us. Can any of us say there hasn't been a time we needed mercy or forgiveness? Has our lack of compassion and mercy stood in the way of God's for us? Here are some verses of what he has to say about the subject and there is countless more you should seek that teach what it does to our souls to neglect this warning.
Matthew 7:-3 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, "ye" shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
John 8:7... He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone...
Romans 14:10-13 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
James 4:7-12 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. (Gifts at the alter doesn't have to mean the old time sacrifices, our gifts to God are our prayers, our thanksgivings and our Love.)
And finally one of the greatest examples given in a parable as to why we should show mercy to others. I won't place the whole story here, you can read it in Matthew 18:24-35. In summary a man showed patience and mercy to a debtor. Then the debtor went around "not" showing mercies to his debtors. When the first man found this out he lost that initial patience. Then the last verse of the parable says: " And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
On a personal note, I have been a long time learning this lesson and I still have to catch myself. I had to realize that I am simply not equipped to judge another for I can in no way have "all" the facts in order to judge rightly. Only God and his son know the hearts of man, so only they can judge righteously. We, on the other hand, are instructed to help and aide our brother. I know all too well that old habits are hard to break, especially those accepted by the general population. But as Christians we must try and remember that it's not for us to judge anothers actions, reasonings or sins. We are here to uplift, strengthen and go through lifes temptations together. If you are a Christian, think on these things... and question how much more you would ask of those that would judge you. Try to start catching yourself when you begin to speak harshly of another, show compassion instead, pray for them instead. The peace and blessings that these actions will bring about will be wonderous.
I'll leave you with an article, poem and scripture I found in the publication of "Our Daily Bread". Which, by the way, you can sign up for free at www.rbc.net. I quote it as it is written in the booklet:
"Only those who realize their own potential and tendency toward sin in their own lives will have the humility that is necessary to help restore a wayward believer. I read about a member of a church board who had fallen into sin. The pastor called together the other board members, and with love and compassion he told them the sad story. Then he asked them this question: "If you had been tempted as our brother was, what would you have done?" The first man, confident of his ability to withstand temptation, said, "I'm sure I would never have given in to that sin." Several others made the same statement. Finally, the minster addressed the question to the last member of the board, a man the others respected as being deeply spiritual. "Pastor," he answered, "I feel in my heart that if I had been tempted and tested as he was, I would probably have fallen even lower." There was silence. The the pastor said, "You are the only one who can go with me to talk with our erring brother and try to restore him to fellowship." We must never take a superior attitude toward fellow believers who have fallen. We must seek to lift them up with a humility that comes from knowing ourselves as sinners."
Galatians 6:1-5 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.
Let me not judge my fellowmen,
but understand them, Lord, and when
The casting of the stones begins
remind me of my many sins
- Lita Rollins