Have you ever pointed something to a friend that was in clear violation of God’s word only to hear “WHY ARE YOU JUDGING ME?”
We all know people who are fault finders. These people seem to thrive on finding fault in others. You have to be perfect otherwise they are ready to point out your short comings. Their fault finding never stops, even when you agree with them and admit your shortcoming.
But what if you genuinely care about a friend and they are engaged in actions that are contrary to God’s word and harmful. Should you point these out? What if you tried to talk to your friend only to hear them say “why are you judging me?” Then what?
Most of us use this sentence when we know what we are doing is wrong. We don’t want anyone pointing it out. It hurts our pride and we feel attacked. What makes us defensive is the fact that in our heart we know our action is wrong. We just don’t want anyone to bring it to our attention. We get wounded when others point out things in our lives that are not right.
In the gospel of Matthew chapter 7 Jesus says: “Judge not, that you be not Judged”. Judge here has the idea of deciding (mentally or judicially) and coming to a conclusion. We shouldn’t be the kind of people who are always condemning and critical. But does that mean that we should not judge wrong actions and behavior?
There are several passages that could shed light on this subject.
In secondary issues, we can have liberty and difference of opinion. We may have certain convictions that others might not share. We have no right to impose these convictions on others. On these types of issues we cannot condemn others if they have a different point of view. They should exam the facts and come to their own conclusions. This principal is found in Rom. Chapter 14.
In 1 Cor. 5:11 apostle Paul points out that we should not associate with anyone who bears the name brother and engages in these behaviors- sexual immorality, greed, idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler. Then he goes on to say “is not those inside the church whom you are to judge?”
The word Judge is the same word that is used in Matt. Chapter 7. Here we see that indeed we are to judge and condemn certain behaviors and not to associate with those people who call themselves Christians and engage in these behaviors.
How then do we reconcile the teaching of Jesus with Paul? In my Judgment we need to judge actions, otherwise how do we distinguish between right or wrong? What Jesus is pointing in Matt: chapter 7 is we should not be the kind of people who are always looking to criticize and condemn others. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t judge actions.
God himself is the one that distinguishes between right and wrong. He is the one that judges and commands us to engage in certain behaviors and abstain from others.
But does that gives us the right to talk to Christian friends when their actions are contrary to the word of God?
In Galatians chapter 6 apostle Paul points out “if anyone is caught in any transgression you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness”. Yes we need to talk to a Christian friend who is in error. The key is with a Spirit of gentleness.
Our approach should not be harsh and condemning. I know for myself I would never want to be corrected harshly. But I do respond to a gentle and loving discussion where a friend could point out to me another way of looking at what I am doing.
Our goal should be to help the person see their situation from God’s point of view and leave the choosing to them. Many times when we talk to friends, we talk in such a way that we have already decided for them what they ought to do. This is a big mistake, we should talk in such a way so they consider what we tell them and they should feel like they have the right to choose or reject what we say.
If you talked to a friend regarding a subject that they are not ready to listen it may be best to pray for them rather than force them to comply. Sometimes we need time to see things correctly. But if we are pushed we may tone out what our friends are trying to tell us.
In conclusion we should love people enough to engage them but always with love gentleness and patience.
May the Lord be with you all.