Have you ever passed judgment on someone based on their appearance, perceived intellect or social status? Be honest here. I think that we do it all of the time to one extent or another. We might not approach someone for friendship who is extremely beautiful or whom we know has a lot of money because, after all, they are probably snobby, right? Or what about the reverse...the poorly dressed person just might not have what it takes for our ministry or group, right? What about a person without a formal education? Surely that person wouldn't be capable of teaching a bible study. That Harvard MBA surely wouldn't want to serve in the soup kitchen, would she? Please remember that I'm only giving examples here and some of them may be extreme, but I think we can all see the point. These judgments are not godly when we make them.
In the New Testament book of James we find James telling his brethren of all the things they should and shouldn't be doing as Christians. I read somewhere once that it was the "How To" book of the bible. In James 2:1-13, we are told that we sin when we show partiality.
James 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (NKJV)
Here we see it again...the love thing. Remember how 1 Timothy 1:5 says that "the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart.."? Fulfilling the whole law, not just the parts that make us feel better about ourselves, means that we need to show mercy and grace to everyone - not just to those people who we decide are good because of whatever reason we concoct in our little minds.
So are we ever to judge? Absolutely. There is a time and place for righteous judgment. But the key here is righteous. We have to know more about a person before we pass judgment. And then we need to be very careful because we may be guilty ourselves. So the next time you want to determine who a person is without getting to know them and their entire situation completely, consider whether you are being godly or just "playing God".
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Samual 16:7)