Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
August 17, 2023

The saying "judge not, lest ye be judged" means that we should avoid making judgments about others because we would not want to be judged ourselves. The saying suggests that we should understand and forgive others' actions or behaviors rather than be quick to criticize or condemn them. It's a reminder to show empathy, as everyone has their own struggles and challenges.

In short:

  • The idiom asks us not to pass judgment on others.
  • It encourages empathy and understanding instead of criticism and condemnation.

What Does "Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged" Mean?

The phrase “judge not, lest ye be judged” is a call to refrain from judging others. If you heed this advice, it means you try to understand people's actions and behaviors rather than quickly passing judgment. It also implies that you value compassion and empathy over criticism and condemnation.

Let's delve into its main meanings and use:

  • "Judge not, lest ye be judged" advises against passing judgment on others without understanding their circumstances.
  • You use it when you want to remind someone to practice empathy and understanding rather than making hasty judgments.
  • The saying suggests a continuous effort to empathize instead of a one-time decision. It proposes consistently practicing understanding and compassion.
  • It's often used when discussing the importance of empathy and understanding in human relationships.
  • For example, you might say, "Judge not, lest ye be judged is a phrase that resonates with me and taught me to take each day as it comes and go." 
  • Similar phrases include "don't be too quick to judge," "don't judge a book by its cover," and "walk a mile in someone else's shoes."

Where Does "Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged" Come From?

The phrase "judge not, lest ye be judged" is a biblical teaching that comes from the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament of the Bible. It's a metaphorical expression, representing the idea of showing empathy and understanding towards others rather than making hasty judgments. Nowadays, it's used to encourage compassion and understanding, even when we're not faced with the same situations as others.

Biblical Example

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 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 7:1-2

10 Examples of "Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged" in Sentences

To provide you with a better understanding of this phrase, let's take a look at some examples from various contexts:

  • As per my last email, I mentioned the guiding principle, "Judge not, lest ye be judged," which we should all follow to create a positive work environment.
  • When she started to criticize her neighbor's actions, her mother gently reminded her, "judge not, lest ye be judged."
  • The phrase, "judge not, lest ye be judged, " reminds us that we should not point fingers at others because what goes around comes around.
  • As an aside, the phrase "Judge not, lest ye be judged," taught me to err on the side of caution before passing judgment on anyone.
  • She decided to put into practice the saying "judge not, lest ye be judged" and stopped passing quick judgments on people she barely knew.
  • He lived by the principle of "judge not, lest ye be judged," always trying to understand others before forming an opinion.
  • "Judge not, lest ye be judged," he quoted when his friend began to harshly criticize their mutual acquaintance.
  • Despite being on an emotional rollercoaster, Tom always remembered the words of his mother, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."
  • The community leader emphasized the importance of "judge not, lest ye be judged" in maintaining harmony within the group.
  • It's easy to jump the gun and judge others, but always remember, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

Examples of "Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged" in Pop Culture

This phrase often appears in pop culture, typically as a call for empathy and understanding.

Let's explore some instances:

  • The iconic 1962 film "To Kill a Mockingbird," based on Harper Lee's novel, echoes the sentiment of this phrase. The character Atticus Finch implores his children to walk in someone else's shoes before passing judgment.
  • In Bob Marley's song "Judge Not," he sings, "Judge not before you judge yourself." This is a clear reflection of the biblical verse.
  • The TV series "The Good Place" explores themes of morality and judgment. The character Eleanor Shellstrop learns that her actions and judgments in life have consequences in the afterlife.
  • The 1996 film "A Time to Kill" challenges the audience's judgment and biases through the story of a racially charged trial.

Other/Different Ways to Say "Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged"

There are various other expressions that convey a similar meaning to "judge not, lest ye be judged."

Here are some of them:

  • Don't be too quick to judge
  • Don't judge a book by its cover
  • Everyone has their own story
  • Walk a mile in someone else's shoes
  • Think before you judge
  • Give the benefit of the doubt
  • Everyone is fighting their own battle
  • Don't cast stones in a glass house
  • Don't rush to judgment
  • Have empathy, not judgment

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged":

  • What does "judge not, lest ye be judged" mean?

The phrase "judge not, lest ye be judged" implies that one should not judge others as they themselves do not wish to be judged. It's a call for empathy and understanding rather than criticism and condemnation.

  • How can I use "judge not, lest ye be judged" in a sentence?

You can use it as a part of a sentence when advising or reminding someone not to pass judgment on others. For example: "Remember, as you rise to success, Judge not, lest ye be judged, for the tables may turn, and you may find yourself in the same situation."

  • Where does the saying "judge not, lest ye be judged" come from?

This saying originates from the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament of the Bible, particularly from Matthew 7:1-3.

  • Is "judge not, lest ye be judged" applicable in today's society?

Yes, the saying is still relevant as a reminder to practice empathy and understanding, and to avoid making hasty judgments about others based on limited information.

  • Does the saying imply that all forms of judgment are wrong?

No, it doesn't suggest that all forms of judgment are wrong. It primarily cautions against judging others harshly or without understanding their circumstances.

  • Can "judge not, lest ye be judged" be used in a legal context?

While its origins are biblical and moral, the phrase can metaphorically be applied to a legal context as a reminder for fair and impartial judgment.

  • What's the significance of "judge not, lest ye be judged" in interpersonal relationships?

In interpersonal relationships, this saying encourages individuals to be understanding and forgiving, promoting a harmonious and respectful environment.

  • Does "judge not, lest ye be judged" relate to karma?

While not directly related, the saying and the concept of karma both emphasize the idea of reciprocity - in this case, the way you judge others may be the way you are judged.

  • Are there other sayings similar to "judge not, lest ye be judged"?

Yes, similar sayings include "don't be too quick to judge," "don't judge a book by its cover," and "walk a mile in someone else's shoes."

  • How does "judge not, lest ye be judged" influence moral behavior?

This saying encourages empathy and understanding, discouraging hasty or unfair judgments. This can promote more compassionate and considerate behavior.

Final Thoughts About "Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged"

The saying "judge not, lest ye be judged" serves as a powerful reminder to treat others with kindness and understanding, refraining from hasty judgments. It encourages us to put ourselves in others' shoes before forming opinions about them, fostering a more empathetic and compassionate society.

Here's a quick recap:

  • "Judge not, lest ye be judged" is a call to practice empathy and understanding rather than passing hasty or harsh judgments.
  • It is often used as a moral guideline in interpersonal relationships, promoting harmony and respect.
  • Although the phrase originates from the Bible, its message is universal and applicable in various contexts, including legal and societal settings.
  • The saying also reminds us of the reciprocal nature of our actions, similar to the concept of karma.

The essence of the saying "judge not, lest ye be judged" remains relevant across cultures and societies, serving as a timeless reminder of the importance of empathy and understanding in our interactions with others.

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