More About Judging
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR: PART XMORE ABOUT JUDGING
A. Introduction: In the last lesson, we began to talk about the subject of judging and how it reconciles with loving people.
1. Nowhere does the Bible tell us not to judge. It tells us how to judge. Matt 7:1
a. Gr.= KRINO = to distinguish, ie., to decide (mentally or judicially).
b. The word is translated many ways in the NT (esteem, condemn, decree, damn) and has several different meanings depending on the context.
c. A basic definition: to judge means to form an opinion because you see something as different from you or the standard by which you live.
d. The Bible recognizes the fact that we do form differing opinions.
2. Matt 7:1-5--Warns us against critical judgment where you find fault with or in
a person and then deal with them from a position of superiority.
a. One man is pointing out the fault of another while oblivious to his own.
b. Jesus doesn't focus on the guy with the problem, but rather the guy who is pointing out the problem.
c. The man appears to be pointing out the fault for the good of the one with the problem. But, that can't be his total motive because Jesus calls him a hypocrite. Jesus is dealing with the man's heart attitudes.
1. Why are you focusing on his problem and not your own?
2. Why are you speaking to him about it?
3. Remember the context: Jesus is exposing attitudes, motives of the Pharisees.
a. In Luke 18:9-14 Jesus gives us an example of critical judging.
b. In Matt 7:1-5 Jesus is warning us against harsh judgment of others (opinion forming) from a position of superiority and disdain.
c. Matt 7:1--Don't condemn others and God will not condemn you. God will be as hard on you as you are on others. He will treat you exactly as you treat others. (Cont Eng)
4. When faced with such a "tall order" from Jesus, we must remember the point.
a. We are on earth is to accurately represent the Lord to people.
b. One of the reasons we are not to judge others harshly is because we are to show mercy -- even as our heavenly Father. Luke 6:36,37; Matt 7:7-11
5. Matt 7:12--Bottom line on judging (seeing differences and faults in others) is love, love that treats others the way we want to be treated and as God has treated us.
6. The type of judging we are dealing with is identifying things in other people we believe are wrong. There are two kinds of faults we see in others:
a. Things that are wrong according to our opinions = non-moral issues.
b. Things that are wrong according to God = moral issues.
7. In this lesson, we want to look at these two areas and how we deal with them as we study to understand how to judge without judging harshly.
B. Let's look first at judging in non-moral areas. Romans 14 deals with such a case.
1. A problem had arisen at Rome. Could believers eat meat taken from an animal that had been sacrificed to a pagan idol?
2. This is a non-moral issue -- something neither forbidden in scripture nor morally impure in itself -- yet people had very different and definite opinions.
a. v1,2--These verses make it clear there is liberty in non-moral areas.
b. v1--lit: don't criticize his scruples; don't judge his doubtful thoughts.
c. v3--Don't despise; despise = to make utterly nothing of (also used in v10.) d. v4--Each believer is first and foremost responsible to God.
e. v5,6--In the things we do, we must be fully assured that God allows it, and we must be able to thank and glorify God in it.
f. v7-9--We are the Lord's (dead or alive). We are here for Him, not for us.
g. v10-12--God is our judge and we must all appear before Him to give account of ourselves -- not others.
h. v13-23--Don't let your freedom become a source of harm to your brother.
3. The emphasis is not on what the other guy is doing but on your attitude.
a. You may think what he's doing is foolish, but don't look down on him. b. The issue is love; believe the best; assume he thinks he has a good reason. c. v3--Christ died for that man and he's acceptable to God in Christ like you. d. Instead of focusing on how his actions are affecting you, focus on how your actions are affecting him. v15;19;20-22
e. v21--Can you put self second for the sake of another?
4. In I Cor 8:4-13 the Holy Spirit, through Paul, deals with the same issue.
a. We can presume that every point made in Rom 14 applies here as well.
b. But the Holy Spirit adds an interesting element-- knowledge vs charity.
c. Sometimes, the more you know, the harder it is to walk in love toward others because knowledge can feed your pride.
d. I Cor 8:1-3--Next is your question. About eating food that has been sacrificed to idols. On this question everyone feels that only his answer is the right one! But although being a "know-it-all" makes us feel important, what is really needed to build the church is love. If anyone thinks he ows all the answers, he is just showing his ignorance. But the person who truly loves God is the one who is open to God's knowledge. (Living)
5. My actions, which are lawful, could in fact be sinful because of their impact on my brother. v9-12
a. What is the sin here? None of the 10 commandments have been broken.
1. It's not the letter, but the spirit of the Law that is involved here.
2. You didn't consider the affect of your actions which weren't necessarily wrong in themselves (eat meat offered to idols) on others.
b. This sin is called a sin against Christ. Why? We are His body. Acts 9:4
6. I realize all of this has the potential to get very complicated because we all hurt people from time to time because we are all flawed.
7. But, the bottom line is -- what is your attitude, your goal in how you treat people with whom you have disagreements?
a. From a superior position based on your greater knowledge? I Cor 4:7
b. Rom 14:3--Let not him who eats look down on or despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains criticize and pass judgment on him who eats; for God has accepted and welcomed. (Amp)
c. This should be our goal: I Cor 14:1--Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love -- make it your aim, your greatest quest. (Amp)
d. Eph 4:1,2--I therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called -- with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God's service, living as becomes you -- with lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. (Amp)
e. Bear = forbear = lit: to hold self back.
C. What about moral issues? How do we treat a Christian who is doing something specifically forbidden in scripture?
1. Jesus is our example in everything -- including how to treat someone clearly guilty of an obvious wrong.
a. He came to seek and save, and restoration to God and the body is the primary goal in dealing with people. Matt 18:11-14; Luke 9:51-56
b. John 8:1-11--A specific example; Jesus and the woman taken in adultery.
1. He pointed out that none of her accusers were in a position to judge her (assume position of judge and condemn her), because their concern (motive) was neither upholding the righteousness of the law nor the woman's good.
2. He did not accuse or condemn her. He forgave, forgot, kept it private. 3. He did not overlook the sin -- He told her not to do it anymore.
2. Gal 6:1-5 gives us specific instructions for dealing with a brother in sin.
a. The man is caught in sin (guilt, innocence is not at issue; fault = trespass). b. The verses say more about our attitude than the one caught sinning.
1. v1--Show a spirit of gentleness in correcting him. (Knox)
2. v1--Without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness. (Amp)
3. Gal 6:1-5--Christian brothers, if a person is found doing some sin, you who are stronger should lead that one back into the right way. Do not be proud as you do it. Watch yourself, because you may be tempted also. Help each other in troubles and problems. This is the law Christ asks us to obey. If anyone thinks he is important when he is nothing, he is fooling himself. Everyone should look at himself and see how he does his work. Then he can be happy in what he has done. He should not compare himself with his neighbor. Everyone must do his own work. (New Life)
a. v4--Context=someone has done something wrong (has a speck in his eye), but I'm to keep my eyes on my business (behold the mote in my own eye).
b. I fulfill the law of love (Christ's law) by the way I treat people.
1. How would you want to be treated if you were struggling with sin?
2. Boy is he stupid!! I'd never do that! Listen everybody!! Look how good I am compared to him!!
D. Does this mean you can't confront people about their sin? What about people who continue in sin? Do you ignore it?
1. Reproving a brother who has sinned was a command in the Law. Lev 19:17
a. You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You may reprove your neighbor, but not bear ill will against him. (Fenton)
b. Notice, this verse deals with your attitude when you confront him.
2. No verse stands alone. This verse must "fit" with others we have studied.
3. When you go to correct (discipline) someone, consider these things:
a. What is your motive -- their good or your good?
1. Sometimes it takes a while to sort that out. The guy in Matt 7 probably felt his motive was to help the other guy.
2. It took the Lord to identify his true motives.
b. Do you have a platform to speak into that person's life?
c. Is it your place? Is it any of your business?
d. Is their problem sin (as in gross, as in rebellion) or is it something done in ignorance, or is it something that bugs you personally?
4. Matt 18:15-17--based on the principle in Lev 19:17; gives us additional insight.
a. v15--The goal in confrontation is restoration of that brother -- not humiliation, exposure, punishment, etc.
b. v17--The brother's action is evidently rather serious, because if he doesn't repent, he is to be put out of the church.
c. I Cor 5:1-13--We see an example of this kind of action.
1. Notice the reasons for putting a person out of the church. v5,6
2. Notice the types of actions serious enough to resort to such drastic measures. v11; II Thess 3:6-12
d. Notice also, we have moved into the area of church discipline. Church discipline is a part of christian life.
5. If it is necessary to confront someone in their sin, remember these things:
a. Consider your motive. Is it their good, your good? Is it because you want to help them or because you don't want to put up with them?
b. Don't deal with them from a position of superiority. Do you see him as a stupid idiot or as one for whom Christ died in need of grace just as you?
c. How would you want to be treated in that situation?
1. All of us can probably think of times when someone corrected us, and although it may have hurt, we knew they loved us, and we were ultimately grateful to them.
2. On the other hand, we've probably all experienced times of rebuke which were humiliating and beat us down rather than lifted us up.
d. The Holy Ghost is here to convince people of sin. John 16:8; Rom 2:4
e. Our words are always supposed to minister grace to people. Eph 4:29--Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word, nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] some out of your mouth; but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it. (Amp)
E. Conclusion: As we end this series on walking in love, remember these things:
1. We can love like this because we have the love nature of God in us. Rom 5:5
2. We must love like this. It is a command from God as well as our privilege and responsibility to demonstrate Him by the way we love each other. I John 3:23; Matt 5:44-48; John 13:34,35
3. When you blow it and fail in this area, remember, the same love God asks you to love others with is the way He loves you -- even in your failure.