Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?—1 Corinthians 6:2–3
One day I was talking with someone who wasn’t going to church anywhere, and I asked why.
“Well, I don’t want to be judged,” the person said.
The fact was that this individual was doing something unscriptural, and I had mentioned it. I said, “Well, what do you be mean by not wanting to be judged? What is your definition of being judged?”
“Well, I’m afraid that if I showed up, people wouldn’t agree with what I’m doing and would say something.”
“So that is being judged?” I asked.
“Yes, it is.”
“I hope that if you go to a church, someone would say something,” I said. (That would be the loving thing to do.)
I think the nonbeliever’s favorite verse is Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Nonbelievers love to quote that to Christians who dare to confront them. But we need to understand what judge means in this verse. Jesus spoke these words in the Sermon on the Mount, and the word He used for judge means “condemn.” Jesus was saying, “Condemn not, that you be not condemned.”
I am in no position to condemn someone. It is not for me to say who is going to hell. That is for God to decide. But I should apply discernment, wisdom, and even judgment with fellow believers. Judgment is an evaluation. It’s saying to another believer, “Hey, I don’t think you are doing as well as you could be doing” or “I want to encourage you.” That is encouraged in the Scriptures (see 1 Corinthians 6:2–3).
So in a way, we should apply judgment—but not condemnation. We want to lovingly tell the truth from God’s Word with humility, wanting to help that person reach his or her full potential as a follower of Jesus.
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Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.