Bible Insights

Who Are We to Judge? We May Have It Backwards

Though the Bible Tells Us to Judge, Who We’re Supposed to Judge May Shock You

When Paul writes to his friends in Corinth, he has much to say because they struggle with many things, including judging others. He spends a whole chapter in his first letter addressing sin within their assembly: sexual sin, specifically incest.

In reading between the lines, it seems the people involved think God’s grace gives them the freedom to pursue this lifestyle, to live as they wish, while the rest of the church remains quiet on the issue.

Judge Ourselves

Paul is concerned one bad example will infect others and embolden them to go wild as well. As the saying goes, “one bad apple spoils the whole barrel,” though Paul’s first-century version says a little bit of yeast affects the whole batch of dough.

He tells them how to deal with this issue and the perpetrators. Though he expects them to assess the situation and take action, he places limits on the scope of their role of judging others.

Not Judging Others

Specifically, he says not to worry about those on the outside, that God will deal with them. Instead, they need to worry about the people within their group, that self-policing is in order.

Paul reminds them that they should judge folks within the church but they have no business judging others, the people in the world.

Much of today’s church has this backward. We delight in pointing a condemning finger at the actions of the world, all the while ignoring the behavior within our own community.

It’s no wonder the world thinks the church is comprised of close-minded, judgmental, hypocrites—because it is.

It’s no wonder the world fails to see the love of Jesus, because his followers fail to show the world his love. Instead, they show judgment, mean, hateful judgment.

Though we need to judge ourselves, we have no business judging others in the world in which we live. So stop it.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 5-7, and today’s post is on 1 Corinthians 5:12-13.]

Read more in Peter’s book, Love is Patient (book 7 in the Dear Theophilus series).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

2 replies on “Who Are We to Judge? We May Have It Backwards”

I think it would be more helpful as an author and a christian, if you would at first really define what the word judgement means in Biblical terms. It is not the opposite of tolerant. A judge says what the person convicted in a Court, usually a jury , receives for punishment. . In biblical terms, God Judges =evaluates and decides what a person deserves or will receive for His or her heart and actions ( The Lord Yeshua set limits that were a spectrum – the heart ( mind will and emotions ) was responsible and thus able to be judged as actions ) . God DOES want us to evaluate behaviour as it relates to BIblical standards( ” Obey your elders , and submit to them and considering the out come of their lives, imitate their faith “… whatsoever is good , lovely, honorable, excellent,….. think on these things . Avoid …. , DO not associate with an ANGRY man, DO not Rebuke a Scoffer .. and on and on ) IF we do not evaluate for wisdom what and Who has and does not have Biblical character , we do not know how He desires us to relate in Biblical Understanding to the world and people around us as HE desires. Proverbs is full both of Wisdom , but understanding ( knowing the Lords wisdom and being able to apply it to our choices and relationships in life in a way that He would , seeing the results from applying wisdom and avoiding evil and foolishness ) . WE ARE To someday judge with Him, yes it begins with the household of faith , because we have more intimate personal interaction with them, but we are to Evaluate with wisdom others, love them ( serving them by the grace of the Holy Spirit to do everything He asks to make others successful in what God desires for them —- that is LOVE to me ) , but interact with understanding, praying for them , and doing those things that wisdom and love together ( the Lord , really ) tells us to and not to do in relationships . That is NOT judging, that is living with bibical discernment , prudence and understanding. Judgeing is for the Lord to say what and what not a person deserves for his or her heart and actions. . We might know what we see, and be sad what might someday appear to be the destiny of their actions in a life apart from the Lord, but we are to love them and speak as he says, serve as he says, and give that ultimate ” Verdict ” . what a judge does, solely to Him .
Dont confuse Biblical evaluation of the fruit or evidence of the Spirit , and making wise behaviour choices based on that , which is what we are Supposed to do, with the Word Judgeing, , which is deciding and sayiing what any one ultimately deserves for their lives,….. Only He can know and has the right to decide that . We are all guilty …. a=save for the saving Blood of the Lord .

Karen, yes, in our world of political correctness the word judgement has been distorted to take on a meaning it doesn’t have. Also, it would be interesting to do a word study on verses that mention judgement, because on the surface some verses seem to contradict each other. Thanks for stopping by.

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