67. Christians: When Should You Judge?

I’ve seen so much division among the Body of Christ recently. We have not been commanded to judge another Christians’ life decisions or denomination. Whether it’s judging another denomination for their beliefs, holding so tightly to beliefs that they won’t listen to and understand another way of thinking, or even being afraid of people who believe differently, it’s pretty sad that is has come to this. It’s not just the denominations that judge each other, though. Petty little fights break out among followers of Jesus who attend the same church. Somewhere along the way the culture around us which says, “your opinion matters” has been taken by us to mean, “your opinion matters more than anyone else’s and gives you the right to think lowly of those who disagree/ live differently than you do.” I’ve heard this mindset described as self-righteousness. This is not what Jesus taught.

Instead, Jesus taught humility. When people didn’t agree with Him, He didn’t get into a cut throat argument or gossip about it with His disciples later that evening. When someone didn’t want to sacrifice to follow Jesus, He let them make their own choice.

As for the denominations, I don’t think we can say any of them are “the right one.” I grew up in an Independent Baptist-style church, and now attend a community church that leans a tad more toward the Pentecostal faith. But see, the important thing is they both taught me about Jesus and how He came to die so I could have the option of eternal life with Him. Having friends of many denominations has challenged and stretched my faith over the years; watching them live out their faith in such varied ways has helped me grow in my relationship with God. One denomination may certainly be better for a particular person than another one would be, but you cannot say one is bad altogether if they proclaim the Gospel.

First of all family, as the children of God, we are family. Also, if we claim this, we should be known by our love. Judgement has to do with fear and fear has no place in love.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:18-21)

In Matthew 7 Jesus tells us that to the extent that we judge others we will be judged. How’s that for putting us in our rightful, humble place?

Now, Paul did clarify that sin is a big deal and that we actually should judge a fellow believer for walking in it. He wrote the Corinthians to tell them “not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler- not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the Church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

This judging should be done among brothers and sisters you are relatively close to and know fairly well. It is done based on what the Bible calls sin, not based on something that doesn’t meet our own code of conduct. Instead of the “avoid the person” judgement we often see today, the judgement we are called to is a deliberate action/ inaction. One that should only be taken after much prayer and strong verification of the sin. I have heard it be recommended that you confront the person about it. Confronting them would be a good verification and a chance to see if they are willing to turn from their sin. The main difference between Biblical judgement and self-righteous judgement is where your heart is in the midst of it. Love should be the driving force behind this action of judgement to a fellow believer and the goal should be to encourage them to draw close to Jesus once more.

Genuinely get to know people, and love them. If they are a child of God, trust that He has His hand on their life. God leads each of us on different paths and to different denominations because we are unique people with our own unique personality, story, experiences, and ways that God wants to use us. The only time we are to judge is in the case of sin, and even then, it is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. After all, we are known by our love.

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