Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Discerning, Not Condemning
"Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church."
It seems as though every nonbeliever knows Matthew 7:1: "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged." Generally, it goes something like this: The Christian approaches a compromising Christian or a nonbeliever and talks about his or her need for Christ. At some point, the Christian will say that a certain thing is a sin. The other person will respond, "Who are you to judge me? Doesn't the Bible itself say, ‘Judge not, lest you be judged'? "
So what does this verse mean? Is Jesus suggesting that we are never to speak truthfully to someone, even if what he or she is doing is wrong? Is that indeed judgmental? Does this mean that Christians are never to be critical or make an evaluation? What did Jesus mean when He said, "Judge not, that you be not judged"?
Some people believe that to be a real Christian, you must love and accept everyone. You must be tolerant of everything and never register an opinion. But is that what a Christian is? No, it isn't. That assumption actually contradicts what we read in other passages of the Bible.
People often say that Jesus was a great humanitarian, loving and caring and sharing. He was those things, but Jesus also was a revolutionary. Jesus confronted people. He had some choice words for the Pharisees, calling them vipers and hypocrites and dead men walking. When confrontation was necessary, Jesus would speak the truth to a person.
We must do the same, but we need to do so lovingly. As Ephesians 4:15 says, "Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church." That is what we do with those we love. We should be discerning, but not condemning.
Copyright © 2010 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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