Should a Christian Judge Others?
There are few types of judging or judgment found in the Bible:
1. Final judgment
2. Believers judging believers
4. Judging non-believers
(GENESIS 18:25) "Far be it from you to do such a thing - to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous with the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
(ISAIAH 13:9-13) See, the day of the Lord is coming - a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger - to make the land desolate and destroy sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. I will make man scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger.
(ROMANS 14:10) You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written:
'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
(2 TIMOTHY 4:1) In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction.
It is very clear throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament that every person will be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ — not by any man. Man was not put on the earth to be judged by man.
Therefore, is it appropriate for believers, or anyone for that matter, to tell people that they are 'going to Hell'? No, it is not appropriate because that judgment will be up to Jesus Christ and although God delegated that authority to his son Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ has not delegated that authority to any man.
The charge by Jesus Christ was for his believers to spread the good news — the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Believers Judging Believers
(MATTHEW 18:15-17) If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
(1 CORINTHIANS 4:11-13) But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
Should believers "call-out" other believers when they don't see their own sin? Yes, but only for the good of the church. Calling yourself a Christian while continuing to live an immoral life gives false testimony to Jesus Christ. Non-believers may assume that the church approves of such living and then the name of Jesus Christ would be dishonored. In the event that a brother/sister does not see their sin and is disgracing Jesus Christ we should help them and do whatever it takes for them to see the error of their ways and repent.
Remember that treating someone as a pagan or tax collector in Jesus' eyes is about treating them with love — they are just not believers. Paul's instructions in 1 CORINTHIANS to, "Expel the wicked man from among you", is with the intention of having the person see the error of their ways, repent and forsake his ways.
(ROMANS 14:13) Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
Be cautioned. Judging (which in this case is more about helping) other believers should only be done for the good of the church and not the good of yourself. In other words — don't sweat the small stuff. Believers can debate disputable matters.
(MATTHEW 7:1) "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
(MATTHEW 7:3) "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay not attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from you brother's eye."
(ROMANS 2:1) You, therefore, have no excuse you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
(JOHN 8:7) When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
It appears pretty clear that the scriptures say that believers should focus on judging themselves as opposed to judging other believers. We should all be most critical of the person in the mirror and much less critical of our brothers. Through following the Way ourselves the Holy Spirit will guide us in helping others.
Also, there is a recurring theme in the scriptures and that is — Jesus doesn't think very highly of hypocrites.
(MATTHEW 9:12) On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
(1 CORINTHIANS 5:12) What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?
(1 TIMOTHY 1:14) Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
(COLOSSIANS 4:5) Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
We are all sinners and could never achieve righteous before God if not for the sacrifice and salvation of Jesus Christ. The only difference between believers and non-believers is the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Non-believers, are not to be judged by believers because they, like all of us, will receive final judgment by Jesus Christ. This is a task that Jesus never delegated to his apostles, disciples, or followers. So for a Christian to make judgments, especially final judgments, on anyone would be far outside the mission that Jesus gave us and the authority given to us through his name. It disgraces the Lord Jesus Christ.
As believers our job is not to judge non-believers and tell them they are going to Hell — it is our job to tell them the good news, get them saved, and learn and live the Way.
Christians have no authority to judge others and should focus on only judging themselves. In the event that a brother/sister does not see their sin and is disgracing Jesus Christ we should help them and do whatever it takes for them to see the error of their ways and repent. It is very clear in the scriptures that Jesus Christ does not think very highly of hypocrites. Finally, Christians should always look upon non-believers as opportunities with the goal of getting them saved and not condemning them.
9/13/2007 4:30 AM
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