In today’s Christian world, at least here in America, there is much being taught against Christians judging other Christians or non-Christians. All judging is being taught as something evil and to be avoided at all costs. And those who are teaching the wrongness of it will quote Scriptures out of context to prove their point that all judging is wrong. But what is their motivation for doing so, and are they wrong or right in what they say?
Let’s take for example one of the verses that they like to quote which is John 8:7: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And this is quoted in order to attempt to shame us into not judging anyone for his or her sin. But is that the context? No!
The context is that of Pharisees who were using a woman caught in adultery (no mention of the man caught with her) in order to try to trip up and to trap Jesus with his words so that they would have cause to accuse him. So this really had nothing to do with the woman or with her sin but it had everything to do with hypocrites who were using a woman to get at Jesus in hopes to get him to fail.
But I love what Jesus did next. He wrote with his finger on the ground and then he said the quoted passage. Now, none of us knows what he wrote, and many have speculated, but the result was the Pharisees one by one went away. So what did Jesus write on the ground with his finger that would have sent them away? I believe he wrote something that exposed their sins and they didn’t want their sins exposed so they dropped their stones and left.
So, this wasn’t about the men judging the woman for her sin because they were concerned about her sinning. This was about hypocrites using a woman’s sin to get at Jesus in order to accuse him falsely, for they wanted to bring him down. So this was about hypocritical judging, at the least, and then entrapment and false accusations, etc. So, if we can take anything away from this passage it is that we should not judge others hypocritically.
But We All Sin
Another thing they like to say is that we all sin and so we have no right to judge another for his sin because not one of us is perfect. Well, it is true that not one of us is perfect and that we are all capable of sinning and it is possible that we might sin from time to time. But God sets the standard with regard to sin and he states in his word that if we make sin our practice that we will die in our sins and we will not have eternal life with God.
The Scriptures teach that, as followers of Jesus, we should have died with Christ to sin, and we should daily by the Spirit be putting sin to death in our lives, and that sin should no longer have mastery over our lives. And then it says that we are slaves to the one we obey, and if sin is what we obey, it leads to death, and if obedience is what we obey, it leads to righteousness and to sanctification and it ends in eternal life with God.
So the Scriptures make the division between those who practice sin and those who practice righteousness. It is those who walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh who do not have eternal life with God, and it is those who do walk in holiness and in obedience to the Lord who do have eternal life. This is the judgment of God with regard to sin. And as his followers we can declare God’s judgments against habitual sin.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Tit 2:11-14; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Is it Wrong to Judge?
Many people within the gatherings of what is called “church” are declaring today that all judging is wrong and that we are not to judge others and their sins under any circumstances. But that is not what the Scriptures teach. They teach against hypocritical judging, false judging, and judging others by human standards, by ourselves, by appearances and by traditions of men. Yet they do teach that we must make certain judgments against sin.
For example, if anyone is caught in a transgression, we who are spiritual, who are walking in obedience with our Lord, should restore such a one back to a walk of faith and obedience to the Lord if he/she is willing, but to do so with gentleness and humility, keeping watch over ourselves lest we be tempted to sin, too. And if anyone among us wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, that person will save his soul from death.
And then we read how sexual immorality of a severe nature was being allowed to go on within the church and no one was doing anything about it and they were not mourning over it, either. They should have judged that person and removed him from among them so that he did not infect the whole congregation and so this freedom to sin might not pass on to the rest of the church. For we aren’t even to associate with the sexually immoral who profess faith in Jesus Christ, but we are to judge them for their sin.
But then we aren’t to look at the speck in our brother’s eye while we ignore the log in our own eye, for that is hypocritical judging. So, first we remove the log from our own eye so that we can see clearly to take the speck out of our brother’s eye. For you see here this is talking about hypocritical judging and that we need to not be walking in sin ourselves while we try to pick out some small sin from another person’s life. So first we get our hearts right with God and we get on the right path and then we can judge another’s sin.
And then we are not to judge by appearances, but we are to judge with a right judgment. And we are not to judge someone without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does. And we are not to judge according to the flesh but according to the Spirit and according to the word of God. And we are not to judge others and then practice the same things. And we are not to judge others by ourselves and by our own motivations for what we do.
[Gal 6:1-5; Jas 5:19-20; 1 Co 5:1-13; Matt 7:1-5; Jn 7:24, 51; Jn 8:15-16; Rom 2:3; 2 Co 10:12]
So, judging others, in and of itself is not wrong. It is all about how and why we judge others. Yet many within the church today will try to convince you that you should not judge sin in anyone, but these same people are also telling you that God will not judge you for your deliberate and habitual sin, too, and we know that is a lie from hell. So, we must judge unrepentant sin within the church, but according to the word of God, and in love.
An Original Work / September 2, 2012
Based off Ro. 12:9-21; 1 Pet. 3:8-17
Love each other truly.
Cling to what is good.
Hate all that is evil.
Never lack in zeal.
Serve the Lord with fervor.
Joyful in hope be;
Patient in affliction;
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.
Share with all God’s people
Who are found in need.
Do not be conceited.
Love, and show compassion
Keep your tongue from evil.
Peaceful you must be.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.
God sees who are righteous;
Listens to their prayers.
But He’s against evil –
Is His to avenge.
Do not fear what they fear.
In your hearts, make Christ Lord.
Serve Him faithfully.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.