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Monday, August 29, 2011

Judge Me....Judge Me Not

I've been thinking about this post for quite some time. It seems like it is something people struggle with - the "Judge Me....Judge Me Not" idea.  It seems that this topic isn't just a problem with non-Christians, but also with Christians.  So, let's have a look at the scriptures and see what they have to say about judging others. 

This scripture is probably the most quoted of all when it comes to judging others.  Christians use it as a way to not get too involved in the lives of others and non-Christians use it in defense of their sinful lifestyles (not sinful by "my" standards or by "your" standards, but by the standards of God....lined out in His Word.)

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:1-5

But, when you read this passage carefully, you will see that it is not saying that we can not judge, but that by the same measure we judge others, we will also be measured.  In other words, if I judge and condemn others, but yet fail to look at the sin and problems in my own life, then I'm being hypocritical and will be judged severely. 

Those who cry out, "Don't judge me!" are, in fact, judging the person they are crying out against!  Have you ever thought about that before?? So, "Judge Me Not" isn't really that simple, is it?
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?
Romans 2:1-3
We know that God is the ultimate judge of our souls.  Even Jesus didn't come to judge, but to save. There is no disputing that fact.  His Word plainly teaches that God will judge the hearts of everyone.  He will judge our motives.  He will judge our actions and our deeds. 

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
1 Corinthians 4:5

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.  God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
Romans 2:5-8

Other scriptures tell us to judge others very plainly.  When telling others about Jesus and how He died on the cross to forgive them of their sins, we are pointing out the need for Jesus.  We are pointing out sin in their lives (and hopefully recognizing it in our own lives.).  The judgement that God's Word tells us to pass on others is the judgement of those who are already professing to be Christians.  Read the following passage:

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people - not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
1 Corinthians 5:9-13

Paul is writing here - being inspired by God - and he is saying that those IN the church should judge those IN the church and not those on the outside.  Is that shocking to you?  Why in the world would Paul/God suggest such a thing?  Isn't what I do my business?  Isn't it true that "no one can tell me what I can and can not do?"  "No one can tell me something is right or wrong!"  Well, it appears that that is, indeed, what Paul/God is saying.  So why?

If a Christian sees a brother or sister in Christ sinning, it is his Christian duty to lovingly and respectfully confront the person with his sin.  However, this is not judging (or shouldn't be) in a condemning way, but rather pointing out the truth.  Pointing out sin and pointing out the truth strives to reach the ultimate goal - of bringing repentance in the other person and to restore them to the fellowship of God. (Remember sin seperates us from God.  Repentance is what brings us back to God.  The blood of Jesus will continually cleanse us when we have a pentinent heart.) We are to speak the truth in love and proclaim what God's Word says about sin. We are to judge the sin, but always with love toward the sinner. The goal of presenting the solution for sin and its consequences - the Lord Jesus Christ and He must be the motivation that brings us to the realization that it is our responsibility to talk to our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Another reason it is important that Christians judge sin in the lives of others is because when Christians are continuing in sin, they are being hypocritical.  The world is seeing someone who professes to be a Christian, yet sees no evidence of a changed, transformed life.  Why would anyone want to be a Christian if the example they see is no different than their own life?  Full of sin and full of despair?

"Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”
John. 7:24

So, in reality, we can and do judge others, as long as we apply the same standards to ourselves and knowing full well that God will use the same standard on us.  We can and should judge others when it comes to sin in their lives and in regards to their salvation.  Hopefully and prayerfully, we want others to judge us, that sin in our lives might be pointed out and taken care of quickly.

My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
James 5:19-20

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful that God is the ultimate judge of my life, but also grateful for those who love me enough to let me know when there is something in my life that needs to change....according to His Word and not man's opinion. 

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!


Wa Wa Waughs said...

Thanks for addressing a hard topic! Many are afraid to speak out nowadays, because of our tolerant society. We don't want to be seen as closed minded. Personally, I always think to myself "I don't want to judge someone because I really don't know their heart/have walked in their shoes." When I should be bold enough to talk more to that person.

Lori said...

Thank you!

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