But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written,
“‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘to me every knee will bow.
Every tongue will confess to God.’”
So then each one of us will give account of himself to God.
When I read these verses I realize that God doesn’t need me to judge my brother’s motives. If we believe what God says about the future, we would keep in mind that God is already going to judge each individual Himself. God has no need of our judgments. He knows much better than we do.
Paul is not saying that we shouldn’t discern good from evil. He isn’t saying that we shouldn’t expose evil and try to turn people back to God. I believe He is saying that it isn’t our responsibility to act as a judge over our fellow Christian’s internal motives.
In context, we know that Paul has been talking about personal beliefs and that it is easy for us to judge someone’s motives by what they do or do not allow. I believe that it is this kind of judgment that is in focus here. God knows each person’s heart and He will be judging our true motives one day; but this is an individual thing. We have not been given the right to judge a fellow Christian’s motives! We have not been given the right to judge a fellow Christian’s motives! (Yes, I repeated that on purpose.) You may think that you have “the gift of criticism” but it can’t be a Spiritual gift because God wants to be doing the judging Himself.
Each of us should, instead, pay very close attention to our own motives, realizing that we will stand directly before God soon and “give account” to Him.