It may be the best known Bible verse in our culture: “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1).

As one of our society’s most popular verses, it is also one of the most misunderstood. Too many people, non-Christian and Christian, take Jesus’ words to be a blanket rejection of all moral evaluation. But given that Jesus alludes to his opponents as dogs and pigs five verses later, it’s safe to think Jesus wasn’t condemning every kind of judgment. We see from the rest of the Gospel that Matthew 7:1 is not inconsistent with strong criticisms, negative statements, church discipline, and warnings about hell. Judgmentalism is not the same as making ethical and doctrinal demands or believing others to be wrong.

And yet, after all the necessary qualifications, we must not mute this important command. As sinners, we are apt to assume the worst about people. We are eager to find favorable comparisons that make ourselves look good at the expense of others. We are quick to size people up and think we have them figured them out. But I have learned over the years–both as the giver and receiver of judgmental assumptions–that it’s best not to assume.

Don’t assume you know all the facts after hearing one side of the story.

Don’t assume the person is guilty just because strong charges are made against him.

Don’t assume you understand a blogger’s heart after reading one post.

Don’t assume that famous author, preacher, athlete, politician, or local celebrity won’t read what you write and don’t assume they won’t care what you say.

Don’t assume the divorced person is to blame for the divorce.

Don’t assume the single mom isn’t following Jesus.

Don’t assume the guy from the Mission is less of a man or less of a Christian.

Don’t assume the pastor looking for work is a bad pastor.

Don’t assume the church that struggles or fails is a bad church.

Don’t assume you’d be a better mom.

Don’t assume bad kids are the result of bad parents.

Don’t assume your parents are clueless.

Don’t assume everyone should drop everything to attend to your needs, and don’t assume no one will.

Don’t assume the rich are ungenerous.

Don’t assume the poor are lazy.

Don’t assume you know what they are all like after meeting one or two of their kind.

Don’t assume you should read between the lines.

Don’t assume you have interpreted the emotions of the email correctly.

Don’t assume everyone has forgotten about you.

Don’t assume they meant to leave you off the list.

Don’t assume everyone else has a charmed life.

Don’t assume a bad day makes her a bad friend.

Don’t assume the repentance isn’t genuine.

Don’t assume the forgiveness isn’t sincere.

Don’t assume God can’t change you.

Don’t assume God can’t love you.

Don’t assume God can’t love them.

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Comments:


66 thoughts on “Don’t Assume”

  1. Sergio Roa says:

    Don’t assume Evangelicals are the only christians.Don’t assume Evangelicals are right and the rest of christendom wrong, and finally, Don’t assume God can’t speak you today by prophets

  2. Eric Rasmusen says:

    Indeed, there are many things we should not assume, but rather deduce.

  3. Hugh McCann says:

    Don’t assume an Evangelical is a Christian.
    Don’t assume the rest of “Christendom is right.
    Don’t assume God is speaking via a modern-day prophet who claims, “It’s like watching TV!”

  4. Greg says:

    Fantastic post Pastor DeYoung. I started sharing it with everyone soon after it burned a hole straight through my own pocket of prideful judgment. I would only add this…(especially after reading a number of the commments posted here).

    One shouldn’t assume that persons who ultimately choose to throw stones honestly believe that they are without sin. It’s seems apparent that some folks just love to chuck rocks regardless.

  5. Ryan says:

    here’s a good one – Don’t assume theologians have it all figured out :)

  6. Catherine says:

    Can anyone recommend a book on the Biblical view of “judging”? What exactly did Jesus mean by “judging”? When is it appropriate and when is it not?

  7. Mel says:

    I love this for the new year and just tweeted it.

    I will add that as a divorced person that both people are guilty. Relationships are a complicated thing that never has an innocent party because we are sinful people.

    The best response I got to my divorce from godly people was sadness to the death of the marriage and the reality of a broken family. It confused me at first because I was in survival mode but in the long run it helped me recognize my sin. It doesn’t matter what his sin is because that is between him and God. What matters for me is my sin in it. That is between me and God.

    The worst response I got from a “friend” that considers herself godly was “well why did you get married if you were going to get a divorce? She was the only one at church I got like that. If I had gotten more I probably would have never seen my sin, only theirs.

  8. Linda says:

    I love this post and would like to translate it into dutch and put it on my blog 9with a link to your website) so that more people can read it in Dutch. Can I get permission for that? Thanks in advance.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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