Yes, Christians Are Supposed To Judge!

One thing I'm sick of hearing is "Christians aren't supposed to judge."  And we hear it all the time.  People (and even other "Christians") use "don't judge" to silence Christians from calling anything sin, from pointing out sin and error in anyone else's life.

But is "don't judge" really biblical, the way people are using it?  Or are they misapplying Scripture in order to silence opposition?

When Jesus says "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 7:1-2), He wasn't saying to not call sin "sin" or to not stand up for His Truth.  

He was saying to not unfairly condemn others, to not look down on them as if you are better than them or as if you don't have your own sins, to not be hypocritical.  Because the very next thing He says is to take the plank out of your own eye before helping your brother get the speck out of his.

He's saying that we cannot point fingers at others while ignoring our sins.  In order to best help others overcome their sins and problem areas, we have to first deal with ours.  We have to first get right with the Lord before we can help others do it.

But nowhere does it say to overlook sin or to support everyone's right to do whatever they want or to keep quiet about sin and error.  Nowhere does it say to keep quiet about immorality, to always "be nice" above all, to never say anything against what anyone else does.  Nowhere does it say to make everyone feel happy and feel good about themselves and to never give them the bad news about where their choices are leading them.

Christians are, in fact, supposed to judge ... accordingly.  According to God's Word.  We ourselves are judged according to God's standards, and that is the measure we use to judge everything else against.

But who and what and how are we supposed to judge?

I would answer this way (not a full list):

1.  We are to judge "right and wrong" - Truth - according to the Bible.  This would include doctrine and what people teach others about the Bible, God, Jesus, Truth, etc.  We are to correctly handle the Word, correctly teach others what it says, and stand up for the Bible's Truth.  We cannot stand by when people pass heresy onto others, when they alter the Word to please people.

      "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness," (2 Timothy 3:16)

      "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."  (2 Timothy 2:15)

      "But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."  (Hebrews 5:14)

      "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."  (1 John 4:1)

We are to judge the messages others share.  We are to judge between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, good and evil ... based on Scripture.  We are definitely to teach, rebuke, correct, and to train people in righteousness, according to Scripture.  This all involves judging, using our judgement to determine what is biblical and what is not, what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil.

(And this is what society hates and is trying to stop.  It hates when a believer points out what's wrong, evil, immoral, ungodly, etc.  They use "don't judge" to stop this, to keep us quiet.  But this is exactly the kind of "judgments" we are to make - not condemning the person for their sins, but judging what's right and what's wrong according to the Bible, standing by the Truth of God's Word in a world that compromises it for their own desires.)

2.  We are to judge those inside the Church, meaning that we have the right and responsibility to point out and deal with sin and error in other Christians when we see it.  But only in a spirit of love and reconciliation, and only after dealing with our own hearts and sins (the "plank in the eye"), so that we are not hypocrites.  How can we help others get right with the Lord if we aren't right with the Lord?

We cannot let sin and error reign in the body of Christ because it will weaken the Church and compromise our witness, our understanding of biblical truth, and our mission.  It will bring shame to the Lord and to God's glory.

      "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?  Are you not to judge those inside? ... 'Expel the immoral brother from among you.'"  (1 Cor. 5:12-13)

      "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."  (Gal. 6:1)

      "... 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."  (1 Cor. 5:11)

All of this does involve a certain type of "judging" - making a judgment about what's sin, what's ungodly, what's immoral, what Christians should and shouldn't be doing, according to the Bible.    

3.  We are not to judge those outside the church, as in condemning them or pronouncing judgment on them.  Only God can do that.

      "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? ... God will judge those outside."  (1 Cor. 5:12-13)

But we are to judge the "truths" they share, the ways they corrupt and compromise God's Word and standards, the moral decay they try to spread.  We need to stand by the truth that there is "right and wrong," that there are choices that lead to death and choices that lead to life. 

We don't have to force God's Truth on them or force them to see things our way, but we need to stand up for God's Truth when needed, to point out the ways their "truth" differs from the Bible.  

And while we don't need to worry about what they're doing in their own lives (God will judge them), we do need to be careful to keep their immorality, corruption, and compromise from seeping into the Church.  We need to proclaim biblical truth to help others find their way out of moral decay, to find their way to Jesus.

Love the sinful person, but do not excuse or embrace the sin.  Gently and lovingly stand by Truth, sharing it with them in the hopes of drawing them to Christ.

The world might call this "judging," but Christians call it "sharing the good news of Jesus to help others find their way out of the fire."

Other verses on judging (there are more than this):

2 Peter 2 is all about discerning false teachers.  Discernment is a type of judging.  We have to be discerning about what others teach about God's Word, what they say about Truth, and how they live their lives, because that will show if they are truly Christians or not.

Romans 12:2"Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."  We need to judge between the patterns of this world and God's Will.

1 Thess. 5:21"Test everything.  Hold on to the good."  You can't test things unless you have a standard to judge them by.  Judge according to God's standards, God's Word.

2 Timothy 4:2-5"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist ..."

And Ephesians 4:15 calls us to speak the truth in love.

The world tries to stop us from preaching the Word and sharing Truth by calling it "judging."  By using the biblical directive to "judge not" against us.

But God tells us to preach the Word and share the Truth, to correct, rebuke, and encourage.  With love and patience.  He calls us especially to point out sin in another believer's life, to deal with it accordingly.

"Don't judge" was never meant to mean "don't call sin what it is."

It was meant to mean "Don't be a hypocrite, don't act like you're God in other people's lives, don't condemn anyone because that's God's job, but try to lovingly lead them to the truth."

But it was never meant to mean "don't share the truth" or "don't stand up for the truth" or "don't call sin what it is."  

This is a twisted version of God's truth, meant to silence Christians from spreading God's truth.  Satan's best tactic is to use the Bible to hinder the spreading of the Bible, using God's Word against Him.

Don't fall for it!  Don't be shamed into silence with "don't judge."  Don't listen to how the world interprets God's Word.  Go to the Word yourself to see how and when we are to judge, to speak up about sin, and to stand up for biblical Truth.

[And for Christians who use "It's not my place to judge" to excuse their inability to take a biblical stand on moral issues:  It is your place, as a representative of Christ, to represent Christ, to stand up for God's truth, to correctly handle the Word, to help others find their way to Christ by pointing out what's true and what's false, to teach others which ways lead to life and which ways lead to death.  

"It's not my place to judge" will not be a viable excuse when you stand before God and give an account for why you didn't stand up for Truth, for why you didn't help others find Truth, for why you stood by and watched people and society slide into godlessness and moral decay.

But I would like to note something here, for the Christians who feel it's their job to shove God's Truth on everyone, who say "Well, God tells us to tell everyone else how to live.  It's our job to always give an answer to people, to always tell people what we think, to always shove the truth on them, whether they want it or not": 

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect," (1 Peter 3:15)

Sometimes, all we remember is the part about telling others what we think, about giving them our answers.  But we forget the part that says we are to give answers to those who ask us about the reason for our hope.  We are not supposed to just shove truth on everyone and anyone, as though it's out duty to force it on others.  This verse is about sharing the hope we have in Christ with those who ask.  With gentleness and respect.  

It's a balance - sharing truth, yet not forcing it.  And sharing truth boldly and firmly, but with love, respect, and gentleness.  I think many of us - myself included - need to work on this.]

Here are some links that talk about this also:

(And here are some other posts about similar dilemmas, about twisted truths that Satan tries to get us to buy into: "God is love, but love is NOT a god!" ... "Jesus Wasn't Always 'Nice'" ... "Watch Out For This Heretical Teaching About Sin!" ... "Heretical 'Christian' Teaching.")

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