Judgment is not inherently a bad practice. It is by our judgment that we make decisions, find out whether something will make or break us, or even help build others up. But just like anything, judging can be done with the wrong intentions or on the wrong foundation.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-2 "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." Jesus is clearly against a certain kind of judgment, but not all kinds of judgment. There are up to five words for judgment in Greek and eleven translations in Hebrew.
There are clearly many ways that we can judge and while some may be helpful, there are other times we can judge in the wrong way. Here are five times we shouldn't do it.
When we judge others more frequently than we judge ourselves
Matthew 7:3 goes on to say this: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" There's nothing wrong with judgment per se, but the first person we should be judging is ourselves. Judgment is our way of growing and is helpful because we have command through God's Spirit over our own mindsets and actions. But the actions and thoughts of others are not for us to control.
When the motive is to bring down and not build up
When we judge to correct others, what is our motive? Do we want to humiliate, embarrass or make it appear that we are better than them or do we correct to build each other up? 1 Thessalonians 5:11 commands us saying, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." To discern and correct as a means to edify someone is good, but to do it only to bring them down or lift ourselves up is not.
When we judge based on outward appearance
Man looks at the outward appearance and God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), but God invites us to see things from His perspective. The external can easily deceive but we must pray for the Spirit to lead us in discerning the heart of matters and of people so that we can judge based on Christ's perspective and not our limited ones.
When judgment is thrown without basis
The Pharisees were quick to judge Jesus and threw accusations without proper basis. Even Pilate himself could not understand why they would have Jesus executed. Now while judgment isn't always that intense, it can start small and still be baseless. The more we judge this way, the more it grows. We must always be quick to ask ourselves how we draw conclusions about others.
When we fail to judge our own actions
If there's one person we should judge on a daily basis, it's ourselves. No, we don't condemn or guilt-trip, but we weigh our character and actions with the Word of God to see whether we are truly doing things and thinking the way God wants us to. When we judge ourself, we open ourselves up to greater spiritual growth.