Focus: unpacking judgment, and learning the importance of walking in love
Scripture: Luke 6:41-42; Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; Matthew 23; Galatians 1:8-9; 1 John 2:18, 1 John 10-11
Video: Watch Week Four on Judging
I want to bring up another aspect of judgment that I believe we have a tendency to miss.
We must be willing to first judge ourselves before we begin to judge others. We are told in Luke 6:42 that we must first judge ourselves before we can help others with their sins.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:41-42)
Throughout scripture, we are told to examine ourselves, to make sure that we are walking in a manner worthy of the One who called us.
The word “judge” in the Greek is the word “krino” in which we make a judgment based on God’s Word. We approve of what His word says and reject what does not line up. We accept the actions and thoughts that line up with God’s Word and reject what does not.
Our natural tendency is to judge others harshly and justify ourselves, but God’s way says that we are first to judge ourselves and make sure that there is no false way in us. For example, when we see someone who has a lot of money and we say “if only they’d use it for the Kingdom,” we must first ask ourselves: “what am I doing with what I have for the Kingdom?”
Again, this does not mean that we are not to judge others in the church. We aren’t to overlook or tolerate serious sin or doctrinal issues, contrary to popular belief. (c.f., Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; Matthew 23; Galatians 1:8-9; 1 John 2:18, 1 John 10-11). Jesus made it clear that we must confront a Christian who is sinning, and Paul judged the Judaizers for adding works to grace.
We are to extend mercy over judgment. What does this look like?
Not condemning. It means that when someone does something wrong, repents and is forgiven, we don’t get mad and say “that’s not fair!!” It’s like the son who’s brother came home. He responded with “that’s so not fair that you’ve allowed him to come back home.” His self-righteous attitude is exactly how we are not to act.
What about our words?
In speaking the truth in love, we speak what God’s word says about someone, not what our flesh desires to say.
So, instead of saying that someone is a liar, a thief, or a drunkard, we speak the truth of God’s Word. They might have participated in lying, stealing or drinking, but God’s Word says that if they are a believer, they are a child of God. They are precious in His sight, worthy of Jesus’ shed blood and worthy of forgiveness.
This is not denying what has taken place, or what is in front of you. It denies that label to have a right in that person’s life because you are extending mercy by calling them a child of God. We extend mercy by pardoning them, which is what Jesus did for us. We release them from the penalty of guilt and sin. When a woman who anointed Jesus was called a sinner, He told a parable of two debtors:
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”“Tell me, teacher,” he said.“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:40-47)
Like the woman whose many sins were forgiven, we must forgive much because we have been forgiven of much. We must forgive others who have sinned against us, whether or not they have apologized or repented. This includes those close to us.
Remember back a few days when we learned that with the same measure we judge, we’ll be judged. If you call someone a liar, we will have that same harsh judgment extended to us. Again, this is not denying what happened, but it’s refusing the label to stick to that person. It’s extending mercy and saying “you know what? I know God has a lot in store for them because they are a child of God, and as His children, there are great things in store for us.”
I have also heard that when you begin to judge people harshly, there will be the chance of you struggling with what you are judging them for. I remember that I thought ill of someone who stayed on their phone the entire time during bible study. I thought “they’re probably not even learning because they’re so distracted by their phone.”
Suddenly, I found it difficult to stay off of my phone during bible study, during church, and any other time. Once this was brought to my attention, I repented of not extending mercy and the desire to be on my phone subsided.
Some may think that’s silly, and that’s okay, but I challenge you to ask the Lord about this. It was something that was revealed to me, so it’s something that I see as an issue.
Questions to Answer:
1.) What has been revealed to you in today’s study? Do you have any questions about what has been discussed? (Please feel free to email me any questions or concerns you have).
2.) Have you been convicted of an area in which you’ve harshly judged someone?
Ask the Lord to continue to unravel judgment to you. Ask for help in extending mercy but not tolerating sin. Watch your words about a person.