"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
"Righteous judgment" is God's declaration and assessment of truth as revealed in His Word, as opposed to the "appearance" of our human senses and understanding. "We walk by faith, not by sight" confirmed the Apostle Paul, and while this does not mean that we don't exercise our human faculties, it does mean that we heed Solomon's admonition to "lean not unto thine own understanding" (II Corinthians 5:7; Proverbs 3:5).
Our minds and senses are meant to serve as stewards of the Holy Spirit. We trust Him to work upon and within them to enable our proper perception of reality, and appropriate response. "All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13). In contrast, we actually see so little in real terms, and make poor choices if, again, our minds are viewed as masters of our destiny rather than servants of God's eternal purpose in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Much exposure to the Word of God is the primary foundation upon which judging righteous judgment rests. We cannot think in accordance with our Lord's thoughts if we do not know what they are. We must also relate personally to God through the indwelling Holy Spirit if we are to exercise good analysis and decision making in the realities of life as it is actually lived. We are literally related to a living Person as born again believers in the Lord Jesus, and our God is imminent and dynamically active in the most personal manner concerning those who trust Him. Finally, we expect our Heavenly Father to illuminate us through the fellowship of devoted and likehearted believers with whom we live our lives. "In the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14). We need each other, by God's design, to see His truth in the fullest scope and measure, even as Paul wrote that "we may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:18-19).
The Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the church of God unite to illuminate the righteous judgment we are called to exercise. May we avail ourselves fully of these gifts so that appearances will not deceive us, and so that the promise of the Psalmist will be abundantly fulfilled in our lives...
"The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."