Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)
Judgment is an evaluation with the intention that harm be dispensed as punishment for some transgression, either real or imagined. Any such emotional intention establishes an attraction for similar harmful energy to be dealt to those who judge. It sets a karmic reaction in motion for getting back the same kind of energy that was given out. That is the meaning of the statement above. Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
Where judgment implies punishment, discernment recognizes differences, such as good vs bad, or acceptable vs not acceptable, without emotional engagement. To discern whether or not a snake is poisonous does not judge the snake. To decide whether a person’s words or actions are abusive is not a judgment of that person. Discernment is using the ability to distinguish between that which may be beneficial as opposed to that which may be harmful.
For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)
Judgment has no mercy. Discernment has no judgment and is not concerned with punishment or retribution because it is not interested in an outcome.
Know the God of your father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind; for God searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts. (1 Chronicles 28: 9)