Judging others

Hello everyone. The topic of judging others has been weighing on my heart heavily for several weeks. My family is a part of a group of Christian friends. Most of them belong to a community church which accepts anyone without judgement. I find this Christ-like since He focused on the sinner. On the other hand, most have been Christians for years yet are living sinful lives. Sexual immorality, lying, and drunkenness are very common in the group.
I am not sure how to handle the situation. They have mentioned Jesus teaching you are not supposed to judge others. But we are also taught to restore a sinning Christian with love. I also remember the warning to the watchman’s in Ezekiel. How do I draw the line between seeming judgemental and helping my friends grow closer to Christ?
Another way to ask this question: when should Christians judge others? Or should we judge at all? Does the answer change of someone becomes a Christian?

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@Lkcawyer my understanding is that we are not to judge those outside the church. Jesus was very clear on this saying we should remove the log from our own eye before trying to remove the speck from somebody else. I believe it is our job to come alongside a brother or sister who is sinning to help them, however, in the following passage is from 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Paul makes it very clear that the church is called to a higher standard than the world.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case, you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
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 person from among you."

It is my understanding that the church should aspire to live a holy life. Please feel free to correct me if I am misunderstanding this Connect community. It seems here that Paul is instructing the church to indeed judge those inside if they are living the kind of life he mentions.

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Hi @Lkcawyer! The verse in Matthew about not judging is very commonly quoted as grounds to never judge someone, and it’s kind of true…under one condition: you’re being hypocritical. In Matt 7, Jesus tells us that hypocrites shouldn’t judge people, but must first take out the mote from their eye to cleanse the speck from their brother’s eye. So it says that we should judge people only after we aren’t committing the same errors.
Now, this is a very controversial decision, as many people want to continue living their lives, never being told what is sin. And many people think you shouldn’t judge anyway, a common thought among non-believers.
Ironically though, people believe that judging is a sin, and what happens when you judge someone? They reprimand you and tell you not to judge. They must first judge you before they can stop you from judging them again. In order to correct you, they must commit the very same wrong they accuse you of. It’s a logical error.
The very world we live in requires us to make decisions about right from wrong. So this presents us with a choice:

Was Jesus wrong when he said not to judge? As it is impossible to not condone the greater acts of evil we see on the news these days without doing it.

Or is our interpretation about what Jesus meant by not judging wrong? Is it only in certain circumstances or something 100% of the time

I believe that people’s interpretation of that verse is wrong, as the consequences of never being able to judge leave massive implications. Because without being able to tell right from wrong, the next time you hear of a murder on the news you’ll have to say “well, I can’t judge if that’s right or wrong, the best I can do is say I really don’t like it.”
And that’s similar to subjective moral reasoning. That’s the best morality Atheists can offer us

The Bible gives us rules for a reason: not to get drunk, because we could commit other sins and because we’re not really in control of ourselves, not to commit fornication because that not only goes against the design given to us but also because relationships are destroyed and hearts are broken.

So I’ll leave you with this: people might say “God alone judges me, none else. I’m doing what he says”
But truth be told, it’s more like this:

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Without those Judges to remind Israel, this is what they did

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Hi @Lkcawyer

You are asking such a good question, and Im sure you plan to “judge” for the right reason and out of humble concern for others. @brianlalor and @TempusFugit laid out the great basics for non-hypocritical judgment and our responsibility to judge those within our sphere of influence.

My simple answer is to check your motive for judging, to discern/distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil is necessary, but if you judge to condemn others, then that’s a big NO.

Let me point you to a prior discussion we already have on this topic, though from the point of being judged. But the principle of judging is the same.

Hope they help, I pray as well that God gives you wisdom and compassion for the ones God put in your heart.

Blessings

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Hello, Llyod @Lkcawyer. I read your question several days ago and it has been lingering in my mind. I may have a lengthy response, so I hope you will bear with me.
First of all, I noticed you said that your family attends this church. So, I am wondering how old you are. Are you an adult? From the maturity of your question, I am going to assume so. I ask this because, as a minor, I’m not sure how appropriate your expressed congregational “judgment” might be, nor how well received it would be.

Secondly, you mention your concern, not for a single individual, but for the culture of the entire church. This is much more serious to me, and not to be addressed the same way. Since it’s the culture of your church, perhaps it should be brought to the denomination’s attention. However, if the denomination is the same, that again, is a larger issue and one that makes it necessary to evaluate the right-standing of that denomination against Scripture.

As Brian @brianlalor, Daniel @TempusFugit, and Roy @RoySujanto have pointed out, the first thing we must check is our own state of sinfulness or attitude when we want to correct or judge others. 1Cor. 11:32 warns that we must first judge ourselves. Proverbs 28:13 stresses the importance of confessing our own sins.

Moving beyond that, I think the next thing to look at is why you want to judge. The example in 1 Cor. 5 , on the surface, involves just one man. Paul was aghast that the people weren’t grieved by this man’s actions. (In fact, it seems that that church was proud of it’s not being judgmental…perhaps, like yours?) My question to you is, “Are you grieved by the culture of your church or is it more a sense of right and wrong?”

The culture of your church appears to be one that has the attitude Paul warned against in Roman.6:1,ff: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”. Of course, Paul sharply refuted that because when we identify with Christ, we die to our sin as well. So, to deliberately sin as an excuse to show God’s great grace is faulty thinking.

I think a great study to do is in Rev. 1-3 where Christ is addressing the seven
churches. He is portrayed in Rev. 1:14 as having feet of brass or bronze which is the symbol for judgment in Scripture. At least two of the churches (Pergamos and Thyratira) have problems of compromise, sexual immorality, and licentious behavior. Christ gives them a stern warning of impending punishment for their behavior if they don’t repent. So, we can see that the acceptance and non-judgmental stance of sin that your church is taking is unacceptable to Christ. It should be to us as well.
(An excellent study of these 1st three chapters of Revelation is Dr. David Jeremiah’s series entitled, “Escape the Coming Night”. I highly recommend the audio series. It takes all the intimidation out of the Book of Revelation that people often have.)

Perhaps, another word for “judge” would be “admonish”. It might be received more favorably. Admonishing is found throughout the New Testament in terms of instructing, encouraging, warning. I suggest using a good concordance or Googling “admonish” or “admonition” as referenced in the Bible, to see what the contexts are.

In terms, again, of an individual, in 2Thes. 3:15, Paul instructed the Thessalonians to not tolerate laziness or gossiping, but to expel such, not regarding him as an enemy, but as a brother. It was a disciplinary action for his good. The same applied in 1Cor. 5. (See Heb. 12:11).

This brings me back to some stances we have to look at: First, are you qualified to bring this matter to the attention of the congregation in terms of your own sin and attitude, and age appropriateness? Can you influence your church through your family?
Second, are you concerned with just one individual, as in 1Cor. 5, or the entire culture of your church, as in Rev 1-3 and again in 1Cor. 5? Is this church like the one portrayed in 2Tim. 4:3? Has it become one of wanting to have its ears tickled?

I think that if you are concerned with your church as a congregation, you have to decide if this is a place you should be. What is your reason for staying in this church? Is it to be with your family, if age isn’t a factor? I caution against that. If Christ is standing in judgment against such churches, perhaps you should question the appropriateness of being associated with them. That is a tough decision, I know. I recently felt I needed to leave a church I had been attending for 24 years. (It was not because of their sinful behavior.) I prolonged leaving for 4 years because I wanted to be together with my daughter and her family. I felt that it was important that my granddaughters see my husband and me worshiping in church with them. What seemed like a noble and right attitude was actually destroying me spiritually. The day I decided I had to leave, regardless of my family, my whole world changed because that was what God was asking me to do in the first place.
If you can’t effect change with love, or through your family, then I think you should consider what your next option is. If you make an attempt and are rejected, Christ gives you permission to “shake the dust off your feet and leave”. (Matt. 10:14)

I think you can see from what the others and I have replied, that judging a person or a congregation has to be carefully and prayerfully weighed.
Matthew 6:22 states that if the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness. If this applies to your church, then prayerfully, seek the Lord’s guidance on the action(s) you should take.

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