When you take just part of a sentence from the Bible, you almost always miss the point. The message was “Judge not lest ye be judged likewise”. If you don’t understand that one, Jesus followed up in the very next sentence, “Why try to pull a speck from your neighbors eye when you have a log in your own”. He is on the same subject. Hypocrisy, not judgement.
The question is are you willing to be judged by the same standards that you apply to others, not whether or not to judge at all. People use that phrase “don’t judge me” to justify some horrible behavior. If Deuteronomy tells us to “Choose this day whom you will serve, Good or Evil” and you can’t tell the difference; you’re in big trouble. Discernment is not judgement.
“Before you go to the altar if you have aught against your neighbor, go to them first and resolve the issue. Then go back to the altar”. Notice it doesn’t say “if you are upset with anyone because they did something wrong get over your judgmental ways and don’t say anything to them”. No you as a Christian are supposed to go talk with them, and if they don’t change their evil ways go to the pastor or the whole congregation. What you don’t do is let them stay in sin and just walk away saying, “Who am I to judge?” That is exactly what Cain did, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” How did that work out for Cain? Not well.
What standards do you live by? Do you help others live by their standards? Do you know what standards your friend lives by? How are they working out for them? Do you care? Can you call out a friend wisely? I almost said gently, but Jesus in the temple wasn’t close to being gentle. The thing is we always want to take the easy way out. Put God in a box. And take him out whenever we need Him. For example, it’s easier to say God is always kind and gentle, so I will always be kind and gentle. Except God is not ALWAYS kind and gentle. God is always appropriate for that particular moment and that particular person. If your ass needs to be kicked and you actually respond to that, that’s what you will get. Maybe you don’t like it, but for some people it is the only way. Some people need a 2×4 to the head. Some people, take them aside and have a gentle but firm talk. The thing is do you care about that person enough to do what they need? Jesus talked, walked with the Father, he always knew what was appropriate. Do you?
So judge, but judge carefully. How would you judge yourself if you were doing that? Are they clearly doing something wrong? And if it isn’t clear maybe you ask them what they are doing and why? Isn’t that what you would want someone to do to you? Try to understand me before you judge me.