So sorry for disappearing for the last 6 weeks or so. Y’know sometimes in life, wisdom demands that all else be put on hold in order to ensure the achievement of a more urgent goal – I had to prepare for and sit my last 3 ACA papers ever (in Jesus’ name) and as you can imagine, it took over my whole life. I’ve got about a month till results so please keep me in your thoughts and prayers that results day will be one of laughs and no tears, unless of course they are tears of joy 🙂
Now back to the How To series which I started back in May (please see previous posts [btn text=”here” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#FFF thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2016/05/how-to-pray-without-ceasing/” target=”_blank”] and [btn text=”here” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#FFF thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2016/06/how-to-count-it-all-joy/” target=”_blank”]) I believe, and this week I wanted to touch on the concept/idea/notion of “judging others”.
There is a 99.9% chance either you have said to someone or someone has said to you “Who are you to judge me?” or “But the Bible tells us not to judge” in a bid to shut down any presented criticisms, particularly when the truth is actually being laid down about a person’s actions, lifestyle, manner of speech etc.
So how then can we tell others the truth when very much needed but avoid the confusion that comes with being accused of being judgemental towards them?
1) DITCH THE HYPOCRISY: “Do not judge and criticize and condemn [others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge], so that you will not be judged [unfairly]. For just as you [hypocritically] judge others [when you are sinful and unrepentant], so will you be judged; and in accordance with your standard of measure [used to pass out judgement], judgement will be measured to you. Why do you look at the [insignificant] speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice and acknowledge the [egregious] log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye. You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew chapter 7 verses 1 to 5 AMP).
As in the English language, the word “judge” also has different meanings in it greek origin. Without boring you too much with a language lesson but with intent to expand understanding, “do not judge” in the verses above is derived from the greek word krinete (from krino) which according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon means “1) to pronounce judgment; 2) to subject to censure; 3) of those who act the part of judges or arbiters in the matters of common life, or pass judgment on the deeds and words of others: universally, and without case”.
So it would appear that the crux and context of what Jesus was essentially saying in these verses is that before we go around as Lord and Master to condemn others of their sin, we must ensure that we ourselves are not guilty of that same sin. It sounds so absurd but the reality of the times when Jesus preached this was that people (read: Pharisees) were calling out people for the same sins that they themselves were also guilty of behind closed doors but were lucky enough not to have been caught out yet. And Jesus was essentially challenging their audacity to try to deal with the matter in the lives of others when they haven’t even tried to make changes in/examine their own lives with respect to the same matter.
Nothing is hidden under the sun, so if you’re going to go a-galloping on your high horse around others, just make sure that if you fall of it, your underwear will be most definitely be found spotless. Go figure!
2) CHECK YOUR MOTIVE: If we are thoroughly honest with ourselves, it isn’t every time we speak truth to others about our observations of them, that we come with purest of motives. Some of us (me included), just want you to know that we know you are doing wrong in God’s eyes whilst others just want to use you to make themselves feel better in that whole “Oh Lord, look at me. I am not like that sinner!” Pharisee-type mentality (Luke chapter 18 verses 11 to 12) – and both are one and the same, to be honest.
At the end of the day if the motive is not right i.e. love and a desire to see improvement in your fellow Christian, you’re neither helping the individual or yourself. It is much more important that we speak the truth in love as the situation might demand remembering that we are all members of the One Body of Christ – being hurtful, spiteful or hypocritical to another all in the name of correcting and admonishing them will only serve to hinder the Body of Christ from growing and maturing in unselfish love which is the exact opposite of the unity expressed in Ephesians chapter 4 verses 15 to 16.
3) THE RIGHT KIND OF JUDGEMENT: Again (saving you the stress of a lesson on greek origins of biblical words), it turns out that one of the variations of krino is, “of the disciplinary judgment to which Christians subject the conduct of their fellows, passing censure upon them as the facts require”. In this context, it appears Christians “judging” one of their own is based on the premise of the preservation of the Holy Church and what it stands for from a spiritual and moral perspective, very much in the same way that if you break a workplace rule there are likely consequences.
One such example of this judgement is seen in 1 Corinthians chapter 5 verses 11 to 13: “But actually, I have written to you not to associate with any so-called [Christian] brother if he is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater [devoted to anything that takes the place of God], or is a reviler [who insults or slanders or otherwise verbally abuses others], or is a drunkard or a swindler—you must not so much as eat* with such a person. For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders (non-believers)? Do you not judge those who are within the church [to protect the church as the situation requires]? God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside [the faith]. Remove the wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].”
I won’t lie, I came across these verses a while ago and they gave me a headache. It was too confusing for me to dig into at the time so I packed it away in my mind until when prepping for this post. On one hand, the Bible tells us not to judge and then on the other hand the aforementioned verses essentially say “Actually, you are to judge your fellow Christians but not the non-Christians“. Confused dot com. But thank God for the Holy Spirit who gives understanding of the scriptures!
In simple terms, the verses above are saying, if someone claims to be Christian but continues to habitually practice behaviours or live a lifestyle that is not in accordance to the word of God, showing no repentance or willingness to change, they gotta go! This is not saying that sinners cannot come to Christ but rather, if you choose to live a life of sin habitually after “giving your life to Christ”, then you will portray the wrong picture to those who are contemplating whether they should come to Christ or not. There are many who seriously need the healing hand of God in their lives and their souls are longing to embrace the salvation that Christ has made available for them therefore, the Church does not need people with contrary agendas causing chaos in the mind of those who may already be struggling with their faith. Furthermore, this concept of judgement is only for within the Body of Christ who have come to embrace the new life the Christian belief presents and not for non-Christians who are not even aware of the doctrinal teachings and are therefore not bound by it in the same way. Simply put, if you identify as a Christian and know what to do based on God’s word – let your doin’ match your knowin‘. This is NOT a joke.
Side note: Yes, the Bible says the above and yes, it seems rather harsh but I really don’t have all the answers neither do I claim to. I just try to share the understanding I have
I would also hope it goes without saying that this should be done by the leader of any Church family for the sake of orderliness and correct judgement.
So I hope this helps to clarify the thought process around when and how to speak the much needed truth to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as the situation might demand. Of course, there is scope for wisdom and being led by the Holy Spirit and neither should be neglected.
Lots of love,
P.s. If you have any “How To” you’d like me to consider then please do let me know and I will do my best by the grace of God to pen something on it