There is a continuing mantra (and a self-serving one) against judgment, especially in Christian circles, as if doing so was an outright evil thing. For Christians (and even many secularlists) the biblical passages ritualistically cited are Luke 6:37 or Matthew 7:1.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Matthew 7:1
In addition, in Luke 6, verses 41-42, the well-known plank-speck argument is added to the mix.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Luke 6:41-42
Even a cursory look at those scriptures will tell you that judgment is not forbidden, instead it is qualified as something that produces reciprocity and needs clarity and truth to be effective. In other words, you get what you give and if you look at verse that follows in Matthew that clarification is self evident.
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:2
There is no escaping God’s “eye for an eye” normative principle, which sets up the basic biblical precedent of reciprocity and justice. This fundamental insight walks the same ground as the well-known maxim “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) So you if you are going to put a microscope on someone else you have to be willing to have the same microscope turned on yourself, to have your life examined with equal closeness.
In essence this means that judgment is not for the weak, sin-ridden, wishy-washy, or feint of heart. It is for strong hearted Christians, willing to bear the scrutiny that taking a stand and calling out sin and error demands. Hippocrates need not apply. Your own failures will be laid bare, your own weaknesses played against you.
But if God has called you to be a prophet, you have no choice. It is the province of prophets to judge between the rightness and wrongness of things, about the actions of those who seek no questions touching the course they have taken. But prophets bear a heavy burden and historically have paid a heavy price, many times with their very lives.
Every time needs its prophets, those who are not feint of heart, but steadfast and true. They will not be perfect, for like us they are also sinners forgiven by grace, but they are willing to stand in the fires that they have set, to bear the scrutiny they bring to pass. They admit their sin, their failures, while speaking the truth in love to call all to repentance.
We are in need of prophets, yes indeed we are. We pray, dear Lord send us your messengers of truth. Let the voice crying in the wilderness, speak with clarity in the marketplace, like Paul in the Aereopogus. Empower them to expose the wood, hay, and stubble of our lives, so that we might remove it, laying aside that which so easily besets us. Yes, Lord, we are in need of prophets.