Thursday, May 1, 2014


This little blog series has been a fun one to work on. I still have a few more to go but this particular topic tends to strike the nerves of people sometimes. I know I am right about this but it just feels wrong to say it. It is also not a popular opinion to have amongst non-Christians and even amongst many Christians. It is the topic of judgement. Specifically, "passing judgement".

Our culture is definitely a culture of individuality, permissiveness, "you don't hurt others, I don't care what you do". At the same time, if someone were to speak against the actions of someone else for committing what they see as sin, the speaker gets lambasted for "passing judgement." Even Christians or quasi-Christians will say things like "only God can judge me" or "before you say something, check your own sins out". While these things are true, only God can be the final judge of you and your life and I definitely have my own sins to be concerned with, they are not a complete picture of the obligations of Christians.

The Bible does direct us to use judgement and to rebuke immorality and to not be stumbling blocks to others. It also tells us to confront an immoral brother (1 Corinthians 5, Matthew 18:15). Further, it tells us not to yoke with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6). All of these actions require us to judge the actions and even the hearts of others. How do I know if I am a stumbling block to you if I don't know enough to judge your heart a bit? How do I know to confront you about immorality if I don't first judge what you do to be immoral?

This is all fine and good but what about Matthew 7:3-5? How can we possibly "judge" others when we sin too? I think the answer lies in the heart of the person "passing judgement". Do I point out your sin in order to boost me to a position over you? Do I point out your sin so that I look good? Do I point out your sin and completely ignore my own? All of that is wrong. Do I point out your sin with a heart bent to truly helping you on your walk while I am simultaneously working on my own sin? Is it with a heart of humility and servitude? That is correct.

At the end of the day, the Bible tells us to judge others. It tells us to be concerned about others' well being. It does not want us to condemn, only God can do that, and it certainly does not give us the right to pass final judgement. We do have to exercise judgement in our dealings with the world and in our choice of mate (do not yoke). We also must exercise judgement in keeping the church pure and holy. We must do so, however, with humility, with a heart aimed toward helping and growth, not condemnation and self aggrandizement.

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