By Allen White
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. Romans 14:13
“Judgment” comes from more than one word in Scripture. We are instructed to “judge not, lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7:1), but also that the “spiritual man judges all things” (1 Corinthians 2:15). So, which is it? We can’t judge everything and judge nothing.
One Greek word for judgment is the idea of sizing things up. This is the thought behind judging all things. The spiritual person sizes things up. The purpose is not to condemn the other person, but to help them. If we see something that is out of line in the life of another believer, it is our responsibility to point that out to them (Matthew 18). The result could be that we win our brother over (Matthew 18:15).
The other side of the coin is that we also have spiritual folks who are sizing us up. In turn, we should also be open to their insights. What is obvious to others is not necessarily obvious to us. It’s wise to listen to the insights of others.
The judgment that is prohibited is pronouncing final judgment on someone. “See that’s just the way he is. He will never change.” We don’t know that. Only God knows whether or not a person will ever change. It’s only God’s place to judge people in any sort of final sense. He’s the only one with all of the information. God knows our thoughts and our motives (1 Corinthians 4:5).
In the family of God, we are not allowed to write other people off based on their past performance. That doesn’t mean that we continue to allow their bad behavior. But, we do extend grace and patience to them much like we would want to be treated.
Judgment creates a stumbling block. Who are we to reject the same people that God accepts? Some of us have been deeply wounded by religious people who were so busy policing the boundaries that they forgot to show us the love of Christ.
If we are truly concerned about our brother’s behavior, then we need to sit down with our brother and try to figure out why he does what he does? We need to help our sister figure out why she gets involved with the people that she does? Not because we are better than they are, but because we are the same.
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