Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Judging Others, By Hillary-Beth

Judging Others

By Hillary-Beth Koenig

The Bible tells us a lot about judgment. While we need to be wise about who we trust, the Bible tells us to not judge others' motives or service.

How can I tell when I’m judging their motives or service? I am judging their motives when I say they aren’t preaching, teaching, or doing other ministry for God’s glory; when I say they are doing it for selfish reasons. I am judging their service when I look at their work as being for themselves and not the Lord. These are sins on my part, because the Bible says not to judge these things. If things are being done for the Lord, He can and will deal with the people, either to reward for their faithfulness or punish for their wickedness. But I cannot know another’s heart fully like God does, so I cannot judge. Besides, it’s God’s job.

1 Corinthians 4:1-5
So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

Philippians 1:12-22
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Another thing the Bible says is, don't judge others' personal convictions.

What is a personal conviction? That’s something that the Bible doesn’t talk about specifically, but of course there are general principles that can be applied. It is how these Bible principles are interpreted by different Christians that varies.

For example, some people firmly believe that they should not watch any movies with ratings over G or PG, and some people believe it’s okay to watch R rated movies for the right reasons.

Some people listen to a lot of secular music, and some people listen to no secular music. Some people believe it’s okay to drink a little, and some people believe it’s never okay to drink.

Some people believe they should not be in a certain profession because it involves too many temptations, while others say that Christians should be in every valid profession because they can be a light in the workplace where there are few who are pointing to the Lord.

These are Bible-based convictions; derived by study of the Scriptures, not just personal feelings one way or another. To develop my personal convictions, I need to take the topic to the Bible. If someone disagrees, I do not argue. If they are more strict or less strict than me, and they seem to do what they do with joy and for God’s glory, I should look at Scripture and see if it can be interpreted to include their convictions. If I look and see and believe they are sinning, I can confront them. If I am the one who is less strict, I need to make sure I do not lead my brother and sister in Christ outside their convictions, which is sin on both parts.

Romans 14:1-8
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Do judge other believers who do what the Bible says is sin.

Sin is outlined in many passages in the Bible. If I see a brother or sister in Christ in sin, it is my responsibility to let God work through me in any way I am given to help to restore them. God will work in their heart, and through the believers around them to support them in becoming more like Christ. All of this is done in love.

Here is a specific example from the New Testament.

1 Corinthians 5 
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife.I can’t have fellowship with my brothers and sisters who are living in persistent sin, but if they say they would repent and need help I am to be there for them as God makes the way.
Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are.
I have written 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 you that 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.

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 man from among you."

God will judge all. If we judge, our purpose is to correct sin in a believer’s life, and to, in love, help restore them for God’s purposes and glory.


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