If there is something that has been taken way too far in our generation of Christians, it’s this phrase. “Don’t judge me.”
I think that we actually take it completely out of the context that we find it in the Bible. We do the opposite of what it was meant to say.
When others are in sin, we say “Oh, don’t judge them.” Yet, when another Christian is doing something different than you, maybe in a gray area that creates confusion, we are quick to point out that he is the fanatic, and we must be right in the matter.
There are three instances in which the Bible clearly states we are not to judge others:
#1 – Don’t make judgments about another person’s place of standing before the Lord (the state of their soul/salvation)
1 Corinthians 4:5 “So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.”
#2 – Don’t make judgments about petty matters in another’s life when you are clearly living in sin yourself.
Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” [Notice…once there is no hypocrisy, it is perfectly acceptable to help get the speck out of your friend’s eye. This also helps us to conclude that there must be relationship before confrontation.]
Romans 2:1-3 “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things?”
#3 – Don’t make judgments about people outside of the church. They cannot be expected to live to the same standard that you do. However, it IS our responsibility to judge those inside of the church!
1 Corinthians 5:12 “It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.”
1 Corinthians 5:1-2 “I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do… You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship.”
Sadly, I feel like this perfectly describes the church today. We are so proud of ourselves for accepting the way of the world. We are proud of our “tolerance”, our “love” and “acceptance”. But in all reality, we are just creating an atmosphere of hippie love that is not at all representing what Jesus wants. In fact, through this tolerance of sin, we are making light of Jesus’ blood.
So then, how are we supposed to judge?
We should judge as Jesus judges.
John 3:17 “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Condemn [verb]; To sentence someone to a particular punishment, especially death.
Judge [verb]; To form a particular opinion or conclusion.
Jesus did not come to condemn the world. Neither should we. It is not our place to decide where someone will spend their eternity, for we do not have that authority. We can, however, form opinions about others, and Jesus actually expects us to.
The biggest difference between condemnation and judgment is this: condemning someone is placing shame upon them that cannot be lifted. It is saying that who they are is defined by their actions. Judging someone is using wisdom to define what it is that they are doing, and acting accordingly.
Condemnation defines who a person is, judgment simply defines what they are doing. Condemnation is permanent, judgment can be lifted.
Use the insight given to you by the Holy Spirit to judge accordingly to each situation.
John 7:24 “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
1 Corinthians 2:15 “The spiritual person judges all things.”
We as Christians have the right to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ. However, it is completely unfair to say that someone is wrong just because you don’t like their actions. Use prayer and insight to look into the situation, to see where their heart is at. Only in relationship can we judge someone in their sin. If a trusted friend confronts in love, don’t be offended. It is their place to make a judgment call about your sin.
Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted…”
We must judge false Christians. They are a danger to the church.
Romans 16:17-18 “Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.”
1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”
Always go in love, humility & gentleness.
Galatians 6:1 “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.”
Matthew 18:15-17 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.”
Spite, gossip & haughtiness are unacceptable.
Matthew 7:12 “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”
James 5:9 “Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!”
Just because someone has hurt you or the sin they are living in is damaging relationship, this gives you no right to be mean. Treat them just as you would want to be confronted. Someday, they just might need to come to you about your sin. We are all sinners. We all have the authority to judge one another and come in love to help each other grow in godliness.
Truth is truth. It never changes.
Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, we will speak the truth in love.”
2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.”
If truth is not prevailing, it is our duty to make sure that it does…” whether the time is favorable or not”… We have the authority to correct & rebuke other Christians gently, humbly and lovingly, but we must be willing to encourage and build up in the process.
We have been given the authority to “judge” sin – with the end goal always being the solution to sin – the HOPE given by the blood of Jesus.
James 5:20 “You can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.”
ROMANS 8:1 “THEREFORE, THERE IS NOW NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS!”
You see, the end goal of judgment on this earth is to bring us to saving redemption in Christ Jesus. If your brother in Christ is living in sin, and you aren’t confronting him in love, you are leaving him there, maybe without his knowledge. How is that loving? Jesus’ hope is that all would be brought to perfection in him.
Judgement is not about being better than someone. It’s not about self-righteousness or damning them to hell. It is never supposed to be about hurting others or making them look bad.
Judgement in the eyes of God is looking out for the best…always doing good to those you love. If they are blind to an area of sin in their life, it is an act of love to reveal it to them and help guide them through change.
God doesn’t want us to sit in sin or to “tolerate” [ignore!] the sin of others in the church. Jesus was never, ever tolerant.He was all or nothing. Jesus was passionate, honest, bold, controversial, and was the opposite of what was accepted in the culture of his day. God wants us to OVERCOME this world! That means not conforming to this culture, but rather rising to a higher standard…but never in condemnation or pride, but in LOVE and HUMILITY.