We are living in a time now where there is no tolerance for violating an individual’s constitutional rights. We are told that we live in a free society and certain boundaries have to be accepted. And to some that means any and everything goes. Here’s the thing though, scripture tells us although we live in the world, we are not of the world. (Romans 12:2). What that means for Christians is that we should live by Gods standards and not the worlds. However, living by Gods standards does not make us sinless. And it certainly does not give us the right to judge others. I have said and have heard others say we should not confront anyone about their sin, because we are not supposed to judge others. We love to quote Jesus and say let him who is without sin cast the first stone. So true. But do we say this to avoid a difficult, but loving, responsibility as a Christian? Where is the line between being biblically discerning versus being judgmental? If you see your child about to run in front of a speeding car, you will do everything in your power to warn him. If you see a brother in Christ about to ruin his life by sin or by believing false, damnable doctrine, love should motivate you to do everything possible to warn him, right? Many people cite Matthew 7:1 about not judging others, but they never bother to read down to verse 6, where Jesus says, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine”. He was talking about people who can be dogs and swine! To obey verse 6, you must make some judgmental decisions about the person’s character!  We judge someone wrongly when we criticize them out of jealousy, bitterness, selfish ambition, or some other sin, rather than seeking to build them in Christ. We judge someone wrongly when we set up human standards, rather than holding to God’s Word as the standard. Paul devotes two chapters to this problem. In Romans 14, vegetarian believers were judging those that ate meat. Others observed certain days as holy and judged those that did not. In 1 Corinthians 8, the problem was not eating meat but eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. But these are areas where the Bible does not give definitive commands. It is wrong to take our personal convictions in such areas and set them up as standards to judge those who do not share our convictions. We certainly do not want to be like the Pharisees who were focused on outward appearances, but their hearts were far from God. They judged others while they neglected God’s commandments and held instead to the traditions of men (Mark 7:6-9). We judge someone wrongly when out of a self-righteous spirit, we criticize. Perhaps you have insight on a matter that the other person lacks. Or, you have never struggled with a problem that the other person struggles with. We judge someone wrongly when we do not first judge our own sin before trying to help them with their sin.  That is Jesus’s point in Matthew 7:1-5. He does not say that it is wrong to help your brother get the speck out of his eye, but rather, before you try to do so, deal with the log in your own eye. One example I love is if you went to an eye doctor to remove a speck from your eye and he had a log protruding from his eye, you wouldn’t want him to touch your eye! If you haven’t removed the log from your own eye, you will come across as arrogant and lacking in compassion if you try to help a brother with his speck. Removing our own logs has a way of humbling us! I worked with a girl once who was always sending someone to hell based on what they did or said. We judge someone wrongly when we make a declaration about their eternal destiny. The Bible gives many tests that we can apply to ourselves to determine if our faith is genuine (1 John). We can also apply these tests to others. Jesus said, with regard to false teachers (Matt. 7:16), “You will know them by their fruits.” If a man’s conduct or teaching is not in conformity with Scripture, you may rightly conclude that at best, he is an immature believer. At worst, he may not be saved. But in the real, only God knows the heart.

Also, keep in mind that it is a sin to judge another person in your heart, even if you keep your thoughts to yourself. Judgmental words eventually will flow out of a judgmental heart, but the sin begins in the heart. There is a huge difference between being judgmental and making judgments, especially if you are trying to save a soul. I have found checking your motive and checking with God keeps the judgmental spirit away. Love and Blessings…

Romans 14

“Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

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