It is impossible to suspend judgement on people all the time. A person whom you’ve seen before walks into the church after Sunday School is over and picks off some of the lunch food while the congregation is praying, then keeps to himself even when you try to talk with him. He asks for a ride to the nearest BART station. Do you do it, or do you suspect foul play and decide against possibly being forced to do more in a vulnerable position alone with a stranger?
If you do what he asks, you must judge that this man is not dangerous and that it is safe enough to take him whither he asks. If you decline, you must judge that this stranger is likely enough to be dangerous to you that it is not safe to give him a ride to the BART station. Either way, you must judge, and it isn’t a question merely of being nice or playing it safe: there is absolutely no way to suspend judgement, and any course of action that looks like it is actually just a decision that most people make honest requests or that many people are not up-front about what they’re asking for.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
There is a right kind of judgement, and there are several wrong kinds of judgement, as Prof. J. Budziszewski explains. The key is to avoid hypocrisy carefully and vigorously and, where possible, to know people enough to make an accurate judgement, and then to discern in love. Easier said than done, yes, but unavoidable.