Monday, March 21, 2011
Judgment, Not Condemnation
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? —1 Peter 4:17
Sometimes I think Christians believe they are never to make any evaluations of others, that they are to just be loving toward everyone. While it is true that we should be loving, that also means speaking the truth. In fact, the Bible tells us to speak the truth in love (see Ephesians 4:15). So if I am having lunch with a friend who has spinach in his teeth, then as a friend, I will tell him that. A friend tells a friend the truth, even if it is uncomfortable or awkward.
Then there are bigger matters, like sin. Maybe you see some compromise, some weakness in your friend’s life. So you say, “I love you, and because of that, I feel that I need to warn you.” Your friend might get upset, because people don’t like to be criticized. And the kneejerk response we often hear is, “Don’t judge me! Who are you to judge me? Doesn’t the Bible say, ‘Judge not, that you be not judged’?”
Yet the Bible tells us that judgment begins with the house of God (see 1 Peter 4:17). It even tells us, “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?” (1 Corinthians 6:2). When we make an evaluation of a person’s life, we are, in effect, judging them—and there is nothing wrong with that. What we are to avoid, however, is condemnation. When Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1), a better translation would be, “Condemn not, that you be not condemned.”
Yes, we should make judgments. Yes, we should make evaluations. But we are not in the position to condemn. We are not the judge, jury, and executioner.
P.S. – All month long in April, your Daily Devotions will have a new look as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We’re calling it the Road to the Resurrection, specially designed to deepen your Easter experience and draw you closer to the risen Lord.
Copyright © 2011 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Watch Greg Laurie's weekly television broadcast on LightSource.com.
Have you ever doubted the Bible? Have you ever had questions about how the Bible came into being? Have you wondered about the historical reliability of the Bible? Listen. Don't feel bad about that. Let us help you. Here is a great resource that will bolster your faith and help you to defend your beliefs. This book is called Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible. It is written by Greg's friend, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, who is the pastor of the famed Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, Illinois.