Written By Brook A.
Judging others. Just to read these two words put together tends to bring feelings of uneasiness. I was raised Catholic and graduated from a private Catholic school. Then at the age of eighteen came to know the Lord through salvation. It was only then that I began attending a Full Gospel church, and between this amazing place and through my “spiritual mother” I began diving into the Word of God for the very first time. One issue the congregations of the two churches seem to have in common is that Christians are never to judge one another. God Himself is to be the only Judge. But in 2014 I began to really look into scripture concerning this topic, and what I came to discover was something I had never heard in a Catholic homily, nor from the pulpits of a non-denominational church. Fact is, not even by the many Godly Evangelicals or Pastors I had listened to by radio or CD over the years did I ever hear speak of what I came to see a few years ago through that wonderful book we call the Bible.
First and foremost, if you have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life through grace by the precious gift of salvation, this message is not for you. I am by no means trying to sound rude here or disfavor anyone. All are welcome and encouraged to continue reading. But the judgement I am speaking of is one in regards to a righteous judgement set apart for the Body of Christ according to God’s Word in 1 Corinthians 5: 12,13. If you are not saved, are not sure if you are saved, or have never even heard of this salvation through Jesus Christ and would like to know more about it, please do not hesitate to frequent the contact link. Any questions will graciously be answered as soon as possible.
It has been my observation over the years that whether Christian, atheist, or agnostic, all seem to have one commonality in sharing the belief of three little words – do not judge. An old quote used here in the South that I feel applies to all bible believing Christians who continue on in this belief is, “That just ain’t so!” At least not as I read it in my bible. If you are a member of the Body and continue to try and convince yourself that judging your neighbor, or fellow brother or sister in Christ, is wrong and not to be executed, then shame on you! This reveals to me that you are picking apart scripture as you deem fit and not reading it in full. I also find that the majority of people who proclaim this “motto” are not only the FIRST to judge someone else (sometimes being unaware of it), but tend to use it in justifying the sin in their own lives. At the least it makes them feel better about it. This may come across as harsh, and trust me, I myself am as filthy rags before my King, and I fall short on a regular basis. I am just hoping that most of you are as sick and tired as I am of those professing to be men and women of God tickling our ears in giving a “feel good” message, or watering down the truth in the Word as not to offend anyone. So I unapologetically give this message in boldness and love. The underlying factor here is not the question of if Christians should judge one another, but in the when and how to go about doing so. The ‘who’ has already been established earlier in this article.
In Leviticus 19:15 the Lord instructs Moses to tell all the congregation of the children of Israel that they shall judge their neighbor in righteousness. Let’s take a look at what Jesus says about judging others in Matthew 7:1-5, without stopping at the first verse:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Jesus is not telling us NOT to judge, but rather when to judge. First we must judge our own hearts to make certain we are not practicing in the same sin. Notice how He uses the word plank in speaking of the one judging, compared to the word speck of the one being judged. Most who jump on the judgemental bandwagon are not following biblical instruction and doing so in love or righteousness, but rather with a spirit of hypocrisy demonstrating the same sin but to an even greater magnitude. Once we humble ourselves in repentance to remove our own sin and not return to it, we are only then to approach our brother in love to expose the sin in his life. Suffice to say, it is not a far stretch in seeing that the Lord was not only in favor of within the church judgement, but is also an important principle being He gives such precise and clear instruction on the issue.
Now that the ‘who and when’ has been covered, let’s take a look into the ‘how’. All too often Christians are told what we should or need to do, yet not given an explanation HOW to do it. Matthew 18:15 says,
“Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your bother. But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and tax collector.”
I will let you do the research on what the Bible has to say about heathens and tax collectors! I will not spend any extent of time explaining this as I find it is already self-explanatory and to the point. However, these verses are frequently used in church leadership where error or sin is involved. The Lord is a God of order, and the church must follow certain steps in the order in which is presented biblically. This also is intricate in dealing with one on one judgement. Again, the Lord must find judgement to be something of significance within His Body. If this were not so, I am convinced it would have been altogether left out of His Holy Word.
Brothers and sisters, as I read the numerous scriptures concerning judging one another and its caution on condemning ourselves to that very judgement, I have become cognizant of something that each of these scriptures seem to share in. These passages are speaking to, and giving warning to those who are handing out judgement while practicing the very same sin in their lives. They do not tell us that we are NOT to judge another, but rather how a greater condemnation and judgement will befall us if we do so while proceeding in that same path of sin. Judgement can in fact save a life from spiritual destruction. If you love your fellow members of the Body, it will bring freedom and growth. It helps to recognize the sin that can be actively greatly hindering ones blessings from the Father. Sin is a stumbling block and will disrupt our communion with our Lord. It will stifle us in reaching the next level of fellowship with Him. It stops God in His tracks from continuing to fulfill His purpose and will in our lives. When judgement is handed down in love and righteousness, it is only but a means of helping one another to become all the Father wants us to be as His children. Great joy can come to the one who receives righteous judgement, for one more chain is broken that the enemy would love to keep us bound by. Satan is highly aware of the power that comes when one humbly chooses to recognize the sin that fellow Believers help to expose. It is never easy to have to hear where we fall short and the areas of sin we are exercising within our lives. It takes spiritual maturity to accept from another. But the liberty that comes along with it is far greater than walking in pride, unable to face and accept another’s good intentions. I say bring on the judgement! I am one that welcomes it in my life, especially since Jesus Himself is very clear on this issue. He only wants what is best for us. In conclusion, I charge you with the words of Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, to “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with longsuffering (patience) and teaching.” God bless.