Whether we as Christians want to admit it or not, each and every one of us makes judgment calls every single day. For example, even if you simply call someone ‘judgmental’, you are making a judgment call. So what we need to do is realistically look at what are the differrnt types of judgment and what are the boundaries the New Testament sets up. Anyone who says we are not to judge does not fully comprehend what Jesus and Paul taught. Many Christians love to use the word ‘discernment’ because it sounds so Holy Spirit inspired, when in reality, discernment is a synonym of judgement.
Judgment abuse occurs at opposite ends of the spectrum. At one end it occurs when either critical or hypocritical judgment (Matthew 7:5) takes place. But it also occurs just as much when we turn our heads and fail to righteously judge and take action (1 Corinthians 5:11-12). Both are just as much sins. Only difference is, one is a sin of commission and the other is a sin of omission. There is a famous quote by Edmund Burke which says, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Remember, the wolf calls the sheep who spotted him a gossip and rumor spreader when that sheep cries “Wolf”.
I can literally write a book on judgment. I have already addressed it many times in numerous articles on this website. I’ve gone through the ins and outs along with the proper biblical procedures. But that is not what the Holy Spirit wants me to do this time. My goal is to point out the fact that the devil is laughing right now. He has put those in the church at odds with themselves concerning judgment. We have become so politically correct that everyone is so afraid to speak the truth because they just might offend someone.
The old bumper sticker which read, “Live and let live” has infiltrated the church. The devil has spread the lie that in our freedom in Christ as pastors, churches, and congregants, we don’t have to answer to anyone. We can do what we want to and only God can judge us. Ironic as it sounds, these Christians judge other Christians when they righteously judge.
Let me ask you this, “Why are we to righteously judge?” The answer is really quite simple. It is to stop the spread of evil in the church, other wise it becomes like a cancer (1 Corinthians 5:7). We see it now especially with the acceptance of the homosexual movement that is being adopted by whole denominations. Another purpose of righteous judgment is to instill a godly fear of sin (Acts 5:11). This is something that is extremely lacking in today’s American church.
Many Christians use the Prophet Nathan and King David as an example (keep everything hush-hush and let King David and God work it out). Keep in mind that the idea of Israel (God’s people) having a king like the gentile nations was never God’s intention in the first place (1 Samuel 8:4-7). Instead, Jesus gave us Matthew 18:15-17 as a guideline to carry things (faults, sins, tresspasses, offenses, crimes) to the furthest point as needed in order to force them to be hopefully dealt with. We are not to confuse differences, especially those of opinions or beliefs, and put them into the same category of things that need to be judged. They are two totally different animals. The best thing to keep in mind is to keep peace when there are strong differences (contentions). This usually leads to a mutual parting of the ways (Acts 15:39-41).
Satan laughs when many Christians forget that they are no longer under Old Testament rule. John Bevere’s book ‘Under Cover’ is truly false teaching because it tries to bring us back to this cursed way for the New Testament church to live by. Why stop there? Why not just go back to ‘an eye for an eye’? Instead, Jesus nailed it to the cross and taught His disciples Mark 10:42-45:
So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people (gentiles), and officials flaunt their authority over those under them (gentiles). But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In the light of the above instructions of Jesus, we must properly interpret a much abused verse by church leadership which is Hebrews 13:17. This verse from the Greek is telling us to allow ourselves to be persuaded by those over us in the Lord. Its not to be like military rule. The Message gets it closest to what the intent of the verse actually is:
“Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?”
Paul then goes on and give us detailed instructions of our duties in 1 Corinthians 5:11-13:
I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”
Notice how if there is no open repentance for the crimes done, we are not to associate with such ones. If a church neglects their duty to take action, the Gospel is choked until open repentance or decisive action takes place. To say that we are not to judge because God will take care of it is the same as saying “why preach the gospel, God will take care of it.” We are responsible and will come under judgment if we don’t (sin of omission). It’s a pathetic situation when a godly person needs to step up and call a church to the carpet and remind them of their duties.
Here is a clear test when we are confronted with a situation of whether to make an outward judgment or not. First, have we judged ourself and our motive (2 Corinthians 13:5)? It must be only for righteousness sake. It is never to be for revenge or to defame someone. Second, has repentance distanced itself from the situation? If not, and repentance is at work, never judge anyone who is in process. We are to show them mercy and guidance. But remember Jesus warning to the women (John 8:11) caught in adultery and the man (John 5:14) healed of leprosy, “Go and sin no more.”
In the course of our everyday life, we will come across those who have hardened hearts. Jesus let loose his righteous anger once at the beginning and once at the end of his ministry when He cleared out the money changers. These people exhibited hardened hearts. All we as humans can do then is take Jesus’ advice and consider the person as a heathen (Matthew 18:17). We can rest in the fact that we did our part by doing what we could do.
You can’t help but wonder why some Christians do what they do. It’s almost as if they believe it’s not sin unless they get caught. Then others take it a step further and try their best to squash any outcry. That way they will not have to experience any conviction. The two most abused powers in the world are authoritative and monetary. That is not just in the world but in the church also. I have seen good pastors and leaders begin teaching some very erroneous philosophies for ultierior reasons. Sinful practices then arise out of these philosophies. This is where we need to be firmly grounded in the Word of God and take a stand if need be. The fingers will be pointed at us as we upset the apple cart.
Many Christians don’t want to get their hands dirty when it comes to open sin that must be judged. They say, “Let God handle it.” They do not realize it is the same as saying, “Let God bring someone else along to preach the gospel if God really wants someone saved.” Think about that. Really think about it. There is no such thing as passive Christianity!
I want to make one last point in closing. Situation Ethics (End Justifies the Means) is not to be part of our lifestyle. Right is right and wrong is wrong according to Scriptures. Observe the following verses closely:
“But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?” (Galatians 2:11-14 NLT)
I just know that if I was doing something wrong, I sure would want someone to step up and tell me! May I never pervert the straight ways of the Lord (Acts 13:9-10)!