Don't Judge Me

How often have you heard someone say, "don't judge me!", or "it is not our place to judge?" This attitude is common in our society and is just as common in the church. As long as the person is not doing something to harm someone else then we should not do or say anything to them.

The Bible seems to be unclear when it comes to judging. For every verse that says, "who are you to judge your neighbor? (Jam. 4:12)", there is another verse that says, "is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (1 Cor. 5:12)" Our muddled thinking does not come from the Bible but from our understanding.

Not everything that is categorized as judging is judging. Warning someone that their behavior is destructive to themselves and those around them is called love. If someone is driving towards a cliff it is our duty to warn them that if they continue along that path they will indeed reap the consequences. "If anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and and cover a multitude of sins (Jam. 5:19-20)."

Obvious sin must be judged for the benefit of the sinner. God is not fooled by our behavior, although we may fool ourselves. Our behavior is indicative of what we believe. "Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warned you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:21)."

Lastly, even though it is good and right to judge we need to be very careful when we do it. We need to make sure that we are not hypocritical. It is often the things that we find in ourselves that make us the most angry when we see it in other people. "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your eye? (Matt. 7:3)" We also need to be confident that our judgment is based on real behaviors and not on our dislike for that person. If we judge wrongly we come under judgment ourselves (Jam. 4:11-12). Judging should not be used as a way to separate from other people, instead we should forgive (Luke 6:37).

Accountability is missing in the church and it is because we are afraid to judge. We are afraid that if we confront someone about their behavior they may be offended and never speak to us again. Unfortunately, this is likely the case (Is this a Christian characteristic?). It seems that it is the people who say, "don't judge me," who are the quickest to judge. Are you not judging the motives of the person who confronts you? When we don't act on our judgments we are becoming a judge. If we see someone acting in a particular way that indicates that they are wandering from the truth we are essentially condemning them, since we are not warning them of the error of their ways.


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