The word "judge" here is being translated from the Greek word κρίνω (krinō), which means, according to the lexicon:
-to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose
-to approve, esteem, to prefer
-to be of opinion, deem, think, to be of opinion
-to determine, resolve, decree
-to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong
-to rule, govern
While "judge" may be the best word to use, the meaning of Jesus' statement begins to have greater meaning because it indicates not just judging, but feeling oneself able to judge - thinking highly enough of oneself to think that our opinions and judgements have value. It is a false sense of entitlement - feeling ourselves great.
Feeling so highly of ourselves to enable us to judge others is practically universal in the physical world. The citizens of this world feel it is our right and responsibility to judge others. We assume that our opinions are valuable.
So everyone has an opinion - on practically everything. Regardless of whether we know anything about what we are talking about or not. We think our opinions and judgements are invaluable.
We can see it online in the form of comments and reviews. So many people want to get their opinion out there - judging an article or book or topic in general. Regardless of their expertise on the topic. Regardless of whether they have had any training or any kind of knowledge given to them to share.
There are two issues here. One relates to a lack of knowledge and the other relates to humility.
Are we really in any kind of position to make judgements upon anyone else? No. Therefore, our judgements have no value.
Just consider how small an inconsequential each of us is. There are about seven billion people on this planet. Seven billion = 7,000,000,000. Thus we are each one among those 7 billion.
Now consider the Supreme Being. He created every living being. He designed the physical world and all of its lessons and consequences.
Who is in a position to judge? Only one person - the Supreme Being.
Because the Supreme Being is the Source of everything and the Owner of everything, and the Knower of everything, only He has the right of judgement. Only He has an opinion of value.
Therefore, if we are not glorifying the Supreme Being, or passing along His opinions - the teachings of His representatives - then our opinions are no better than dogs barking or cats meowing.
Jesus confirmed this position as he said:
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)
Jesus is stating that is judgments are fair because he is working on behalf of the Supreme Being. He is God's representative. His purpose for judging others is not related to the reasons we in the physical world like to judge others.
We like to judge others because we think that we are great. This is self-centeredness. It is pride. It is egotism based upon false identification.
Because we mistakenly identify ourselves as these physical bodies, we think we have some right of judgment. Yet we are not these physical bodies. They are temporary vehicles. And our minds are also temporary. So even if we think we have a sharp mind, the mind will not be sharp for long. At some point our mind will become forgetful just as our physical body falters and begins to die.
Jesus' statement above also indicates one of the designs of the physical world - that the physical world is designed to teach us through consequences. Whatever we do comes back to us in the form of consequences. This allows us to experience what we do to others. It is the perfect learning tool.
Jesus is explaining this process with regard to judgement. He says, "in the same way you judge others, you will be judged." This is precision consequence learning.
It is so precise that even the measure with which we judge others - "and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
This consequence system, designed by the Supreme Being, is perfect.
Yet some feel that God is not perfect, because if He were, then why is the world so messed up? Why are there so many wars, and people starving and people dying if God were perfect?
These people - who are judging God without the ability to do so - do not bother to look around or within. We don't bother considering that quite possibly the reason why the world is so messed up is because we are messing it up.
Yes, the Supreme Being simply provided us with a world where we could make choices regarding our activities. Here we have the choice to be as mean and greedy as we want, or a loving and kind as we want. It is our choice, and the condition of the world reflects this choice.
As such, it is the meanness - the hostility - the greed - of those of us in the physical world that has produced all the hostility, starvation and wars around the world. These are not coming from God. They are coming from us. These are the consequences of our actions. Our consciousness. Our self-centeredness.
So why, we might ask, are some children born into starvation? What have they done to deserve this?
This same question was asked of Jesus:
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:1-2)
Now just how could the man's sins have possibly caused him to be blind if he were born blind. This was obviously part of the possibilities that Jesus' disciples considered. Why did they consider this possibility?
Because part of Jesus' teachings was that we each have lived before being born within this physical body. These teachings were neatly removed from the New Testament by ecclesiastical institutions - and they silenced early Christian teachers such as Origen Adamantius from Alexandria who were passing along those teachings to their students.
The reality is - which cannot be neatly removed, is that we are not these physical bodies at all. It is scientifically verifiable. These bodies are constantly changing. The molecules that make up our body now will be recycled for new molecules within five years. So within five years, we will effectively have a completely different body on.
This means we changed bodies - right in this lifetime.
We can also change bodies after this body is dead - if we haven't re-developed our loving relationship with the Supreme Being.
And this is why some children are born into suffering. Because that suffering is a consequence of actions taken in a previous life. Just as Jesus' disciples mentioned, "who sinned, this man or his parents?"
Think about this further. The question is a logical one. The boy's blindness might be a consequence of the parents - something the parents did before the boy was born. Or it might have been a consequence of something the boy did - in his previous lifetime.
The reality about suffering is that all suffering is taking place upon the temporary physical body - not us, the spirit-person. It is like playing a video game. If a boy's icon gets blown up in the video game does the boy get hurt? Nope. The boy can just turn off the game and walk away.
In the same way, if our body gets blown up, we simply leave the physical body - and "walk" away. We actually rise up out of the physical body (resurrection) at the time of death.
So the suffering of the physical body is meant as a learning experience. It is like getting into a flight simulator. The flight simulator is not a real plane. It is designed to teach a person how to fly a plane.
In the same way, these physical bodies are designed to teach us - to rehabilitate us.
This is the purpose for consequences. When we treat others poorly we get treated the same in reciprocation. This is meant to teach us, so that some day we will want to love again. And one day desire to re-develop our innate relationship with the Supreme Being.
(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus - translated from the original Greek texts.)