Though Jesus was perfect and had every right to judge those around Him, that’s not why He came to earth. In his conversation with Nicodemus under cover of darkness, He explained that He did not come “ ‘into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved’ ” (John 3:17). He didn’t come to judge and revamp the law, either; He came to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). From the start, Jesus’ mission and focus was far different from what the Pharisees of back then and today wish it was.

Humanity’s natural way of judgment, stemming from selfishness, is to harm, get back at, or criticize out of pride. When Jesus was unwelcome in a Samaritan town on the way to Jerusalem, His disciples recommended calling down fire on the town as a response. But Jesus rebuked them, saying, “ ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them’ ” (Luke 9:55, 56). God’s way of judgment is different. Instead of coming from a place of selfishness, it pours out from a place of deep, redemptive love. As Jesus cried out the destruction in store for His people, He lamented that they would not come to Him instead so that He could protect them (Matt. 23:37). This is not a judgment that delights in destruction or harm, even when it’s justified! It is a judgment that desires to redeem.

All of Jesus’ judgments, too, are not arbitrary but simply trying to bring people back to reality. He beckoned the people away from the religion of the Pharisees because it was truly not going to help them; they would only thirst more after water from these broken cisterns. He pointed out the spiritual poverty of the religious leaders to show them where they were, so that they could change through surrender.

If Jesus had been “judgmental” in the way that humanity can be and often use that word, then the tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners would not have flocked to Him as they had. This was one of the religious leaders’ most constant complaints against Jesus: “Why do all these bad people love You so much? And why do You let them come to You?” (see Luke 15:1, 2). It was because all of Jesus’ instruction, censure, and guidance came from an overflow of love. The only people who can be offended by that are those who choose to not see their need.