“But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (I Corinthians 5:11-13).
It has been said that the most quoted scripture in the Bible is John 3:16. I dispute that and say there is another scripture that is quoted more often, not just by Christians, but by the world too. To be fair, the scripture that I am referring to is not quoted in entirety and it is paraphrased. Matthew 7:1 says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Here is how it is most often said, “Thou shall not judge,” or “Who are you to judge?” If you would ask most people if it is alright to judge anyone, most would say no. Christians and sinners alike, are growing more resistant to the idea of anyone judging their life. I can understand non-believers hate being judged, but true followers of Christ need to understand that it is biblical to judge the body of Christ.
Many Christians have a hard time with the whole thought of judging others. One of the biggest reasons is they do not judge themselves. If believers never evaluate their walk with the Lord, then they may feel uncomfortable with judging others in the body of Christ, and rightfully so. There is nothing that makes one a hypocrite more than rebuking others for sin, when the one who is rebuking everyone is himself living a sinful life. No doubt we have way too many so called believers who live carnal lives and yet are judging and condemning other believers for their short comings. No one appreciates these kind of people speaking into their life.
Even for Christians who do live godly lives, they still may find it hard to judge the body of Christ. That is the reason for this article. Good righteous judgment is very important for the body of Christ to help keep her healthy. It is meant for the good of the individual believer and the whole of the body of Christ. Any of us can get drawn away into idolatry or some other sinful thing. It is a beautiful thing, though not comfortable at first, when a brother or sister sees a saint who is overtaken by sin and lovingly confronts them with the hope they would repent and get back to right standing with the Lord.
Before any believer should judge another they need to remember this important thing. Judging needs to start with yourself first. This is one time you can put yourself first. You need to examine your own life before you speak up to others about theirs.
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates” (II Corinthians 3:5)?
When you do examine yourself, don’t see how you stack up against man, but see how your life lines up with the word of God. Ask God what He thinks of your walk, not man. I am sure many people appreciate the medical experts teaching us different self-examination techniques we can perform on our bodies to detect unwanted growths that could lead to death. How much more, should we as believers, be thankful that we can examine our walk to see if there is something there that could lead to spiritual death. When the Holy Spirit does put His finger on something in our lives we must then confess it and forsake it. He is a loving God that is patient and always willing to forgive us by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
The Christian who has sinned at times and then made it right with God, will understand how a believer can fall into sin, and will be much more patient and loving in their judging a brother or sister. They won’t be doing it with a self-righteous spirit. They will do it in such a way that even the one who is being judged should recognize the love. We already read Matthew 7:1, now let’s look at the next two verses. We will see how this speaks to the thought that we can judge only after we dealt with the things in our life.
“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye” (Matthew 7:2-3)?
Verse two tells us that when we do judge, we are opening ourselves to be judged the same way. So if you don’t want to be judged by self-righteous people, then you better not judge in self-righteousness. If you don’t want people condemning you for your sinful failures, then don’t go condemning anyone else. In verse three we learn that it is alright to judge another believer, after we get the beam out of our own eye. It is then that we can judge righteously. It is then we can judge in love. The true heart behind righteous judgment is always for the sake of the believer and the body of Christ.
There are those saints who are the most eager to judge their fellow brethren. If you are one of them, make sure your life is right, make sure your heart is pure and make sure it is righteous judgment. The heart of judging anyone must always be for restoration and the desire for the one being judged to live a life that brings glory to God. If one who claims to be a Christian and refuses to repent of a sinful life, then for the sake and spiritual health of the body, that one must be removed. This is a right judgment. In fact, God expects us to have such a love for the body that we should not allow any person, no matter how much they may be loved, to be a cancer to the body of Christ. If the Bible says, “…put away from among yourselves that wicked person,” then a judgment has to be made about that person living in sin. We are not even so supposed to eat with a brother or sister who is living a sinful life. This does not mean that we can’t eat with any Christian who sins. If that were the case, you wouldn’t be able to eat with me. I have sinned many times since I have become a believer, but the difference is that I have confessed those sins to the Lord. It is the person who refuses to repent and continues to live in open sin that the body of Christ must put out. This isn’t an easy thing to do. I have done it a few times in my church because I love Christ and His body too much to allow any individuals to spread their sin amongst the church. So to conclude; Yes judging is right, as long as it is done right.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” (Galatians 6:1-3).