A concordance of the NIV Bible shows 25 references to the word ‘warn’; eleven being in the New Testament. If judging always and only meant ‘merely to think’ or ‘to form an opinion’, and if we never ‘judged’ in that way we would help to create anarchy and lawlessness.
This, too, is what the devil seeks for mankind and he may appear close to succeeding, if we let him.
Jesus tells us not to hide our light under a bushel. We are to be salt and light. Without light there is darkness, without salt, there is decay, without truth, there is deception.
To make an absolute of “Judge not lest you be judged” necessitates ignoring Jesus when he says we are to judge:
1 Cor 6:2-5: “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? …… Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?” NKJV
We need to practice our judgment regarding sin in the church. This is warning the righteous. We are to be salt and light to the world and warn of an eternal judgment. This is warning the wicked. So, do not be intimidated by others, judge for yourselves…. are we judging when we warn?
John 7:24 “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
Luke 12:57 “Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” KJV In addition, God does tell us to judge those within the church.
1 Cor 5:9-13 tells us immorality in the church must be judged. “What business is it of yours to judge the heathen, God will do that. It is our business to judge those inside the church.”
We are to put the immoral person outside. If we accept sin in the church we send the message that God accepts sin in heaven, which is obviously not true.
I wanted to write this from the viewpoint that a judgment carries with it a punishment, and if that punishment were not inflicted, we were not guilty of judging. In view of this, I sought of the Lord what He meant when He said, ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’, and that same day the Lord reminded me of a lady I know whom I used to think arrogant and proud by the straight way she walked and how she held her head high; until I knew her better and found out she had been in an accident and that she had a metal rod next to her spine and a steel plate in her jaw. Jesus’ words: “Judge not lest you be judged” finally became clear. We need to be careful before we judge someone’s spirit by mere outward appearance. Jesus still continues to instruct that we must judge between right and wrong, especially in the church; and that we must warn both the righteous, and our countrymen, against wrong actions, that we must praise and encourage good works, and that we must keep ourselves clean by judging our own motives and actions first.
-end for more on ‘judging’ you may wish to read: ‘Judging Those Who Judge Us’ which may be found at: https://theproverbs120column.wordpress.com/category/judging/judging-those-who-judge-us/