This is the 16th issue of my newsletter. The topic today is "Judgmental." Additional information can be found on my internet site:
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"Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
"Rebuke a discerning man, and he will
Judgmental: inclined to pass judgment or condemn
Rebuke: to convey one's disapproval of; reprove
Christians must exercise great care and discernment when judging the actions of other human beings. We must be especially careful not to condemn others or be hypocritical. We must keep in mind that we ourselves are not perfect, and have our own sin with which to contend. However, this does not mean that Christians should avoid judging the actions of others altogether. It is our Christian obligation to rebuke others who are caught in sin so that they may repent and restore their relationship with God.
Jesus preached that human beings should exercise caution and restraint when judging others. 1,2 He emphasized that we should not judge (that is, condemn) others when we ourselves are engaging in the same or even "greater" sins. 3 Such actions would be hypocritical. 4
Similar cautions about judging others are given elsewhere in the Bible. For example, if we pass judgment on others when we ourselves are engaging in the same sin, we bring condemnation upon oursleves,5 and we will not escape God's judgment.6
God is the only true judge of mankind. 7,8
On the final day of judgment, it is God to whom we will have to give an account of our lives--not man. 9 We should seek to be ready for the day of God's judgment. For Christians, this will be a day when we are judged in terms of the rewards we will receive in heaven. 10, 11
Despite biblical warnings against judging others--especially hypocritical judgment--it is clear from the Scriptures that we should rebuke our fellow Christians when they are caught in sin and are breaking God's moral laws.12 Such rebuke is important to help restore the person to righteousness, and is a way of showing love for the sinner. 13 In the end, rebuking a sinner from the error of his ways can save his life.14
The Bible does not contain any standard "formula" for rebuking others. In some instances the Scriptures recommend that rebuke should be frank,15 but gentle.16 Elsewhere, it recommends that rebuke should be public, so that it serves as a warning to others. 17 Finally, the Bible reocmmends that when we rebuke someone, we use great patience and care.18
Perhaps the most effective way of rebuking another person is to simply "speak the truth in love."19 Humbly point the sinner to God's commandments and the truth as contained in the Holy Scriptures; the Word of God was designed for such purposes. 20
In the final analysis, rebuke is not something to be avoided, but embraced. If a fellow Christian rebukes you, consider yourself fortunate. 21 You would be wise to listen to rebuke and learn as much as you can from it. 21-24 After all, your response to rebuke may have consequences for eternity. 14