Yes, Christians Should Judge

đŸŒș Published by Brittany Ann

 Yes, Christians Should JudgePin

Of all of the negative things people say about Christians, there are two that seem to stick out above the rest. One: that Christians are hypocrites. And two: that Christians are judgmental.

 

And honestly, the people who say these things are right–at least part of the time. Christians can be hypocritical and judgmental. Not all of us all of the time, and of course no one wants to be hypocritical or judgmental, but we’re all human and we all mess up sometimes. It happens, as unfortunate as it is.

 

So, when facing people who call us hypocritical or judgmental, we *should* be able to fess up and say “Yep. I can be sometimes, as much as I wish it weren’t true! Thank goodness for a loving and forgiving God that takes me back every time I mess up, because I do frequently!”

 

But we don’t. Instead, many Christians have gone in the opposite direction. Many Christians, scared of being labeled hypocritical or judgmental, are refusing to take a stand, and have stopped identifying sin as sin at all.

 

Should Christians Judge?

 

How often have you heard a Christian say “It’s not my job to judge?” This sentiment, which actually comes right out of the Bible, is based, in part, off of Matthew 7:1, which states: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” Pretty clear, right? Except, to quote just that passage is to take the verse completely out of context. Consider the rest of the passage:

 

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  –Matthew 7:1-5

 

In this oft-quoted passage, Jesus wasn’t saying “Don’t judge ever.” Instead, he was telling the hypocritical Pharisees, who LOVED to catch others breaking the law: “tend to your own sins first, and then you’ll be in a better condition to address others’ sins.”

 

In fact, just consider these other verses which make it pretty clear that Christians SHOULD judge:

 

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” –John 7:24

 

The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments” –1 Corinthians 2:15

 

“Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” –Proverbs 31:9

 

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” –1 John 4:1

 

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” –Matthew 18:15 (How could we possibly address someone else’s sin if we weren’t allowed to judge that it was a sin to begin with?)

 

When you don’t just pick one verse out of the Bible, but you look at the issue in terms of the Bible as a whole, things shift dramatically, don’t they?

 

Friends Don’t Let Friends Run Off Cliffs

 

I heard a fantastic analogy a few years ago. The preacher of the church we were attending at the time made a very strong (and animated, lol) case that we NEED to tell our friends and family when they are messing up.

 

It’s like watching someone run straight for a cliff. If you really care about the person, do you just sit back and bite your tongue? Do you say, “Well, I wouldn’t do it, but it’s not my job to judge?” Do you say, “Well, I know it’s wrong for me, but they should be allowed to decide what’s right for them?”

 

NO! You stop them! You shout: “STOP!! YOU’RE HEADED FOR A CLIFF!!! WATCH OUT!!!” 

 

Can you even imagine watching your friend heading into obvious danger and just sitting by, not saying something to warn them? What kind of friend would you be?

 

When Judging is the Loving Thing to Do

 

So, if you would stop your friend from running off of a cliff, why wouldn’t you stop your friend from ruining his/her life in other ways? For example, what if your friend was:

  • Having an affair?
  • Bad-mouthing her husband?
  • Drinking a little too much on the weekends?
  • Thinking about having an abortion?
  • Neglecting her children?
  • Lying to her boss?
  • Hanging out with the wrong crowd?
  • Dressing provocatively to get attention?
  • Skipping church more and more regularly?
  • Dabbling in other religions?

 

Would you just sit by and watch your friend make a mess of things, saying “It’s not my job to judge” or “I don’t want to interfere?” Or would you stop your friend from making a horrible mistake he/she would regret later? What would be the loving thing to do?

 

(Or do you not believe the Bible when it says these things are wrong–which is a different matter altogether?)

 

And this doesn’t just apply to your close friends and family either. Like the Parable of the Good Samaritan shows us–every one is our neighbor. Pointing out sin to those you aren’t close to is certainly more difficult, but if you’re the only person for the job, then you’re the person for the job.

 

A Life Without Judgment

 

Many Christians love to say “It’s not my job to judge,” but what would happen if we all followed that sentiment and agreed to stop judging each other once and for all?

 

  • Pastors and deacons would have to be elected at random, since we couldn’t examine their characters to judge whether or not they would be good, Godly leaders.
  • We’d have to marry at random too, since we couldn’t judge our husband’s character.
  • Our children might get sucked in to the wrong crowd. After all, who are they to judge which friends are good or bad influences?
  • Child molesters and murderers would go free, because no one could judge whether their actions were right or wrong.

 

Clearly, that wouldn’t work. Christians should judge. For the good of ourselves and others. It’s how we make good decisions, avoid falling into sin and help others avoid sin as well.

 

As Christians, we need to be discerning. We need to be able to take a stand and say “This is right” or “This is wrong.” We need to be able to make wise decisions and help our friends and family do the same. As Christians, we should judge, and we should judge wisely. Our Christianity, even our lives, depend on it.

 

**Note: I’m not saying we should think we are better than others or go around screaming others’ sins in their faces (obviously). Just that we need to be brave enough to judge the difference between right and wrong and act accordingly (AND lovingly). 

 

Do you struggle to call sin a sin? Why do you think that is?

Brittany Ann

Brittany Ann is an author, speaker, and founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping women be “all in” in faith and family.

  1. This is just so so so so so so good. I could never have written it so eloquently, but my husband and I talk about this all the time. The Bible clearly states numerous times (those you listed included) that we are to discern, judge, be wise, and avoid bad behaviors. You simply can’t do that without using your noggin. I wrote a post that still gets hits called “what’s the difference between judging and correcting?” and it still stands!

    People claim to be “condemned” and “judged” when really – sometimes – they are just hearing something they don’t want to hear.

    WHEW. Great post.

    1. Exactly. There’s a huge difference between judging what is right and wrong and condemning who someone is as a person. It IS possible to do one without the other–no matter which side of the issue you stand on.

  2. Very well put. If you think about it, judgement is almost as vital as discernment and having wisdom. How could we live without judgement? But, just like Jesus said to the Pharisee’s, if we aren’t living right, we have no right to point the finger at others.

    1. Yes, our judgement has to come out of a place of loving and helping our brothers and sisters, not out of condemnation and just trying to cast the blame off of ourselves. It’s trick, but it’s so important!

  3. I love your point about friends not letting others fall. I think especially when we have a relationship with people, and we know their heart and where they are in their faith, it’s important for us to challenge them and call them out in a loving way. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Exactly! If the person is a good friend and someone we know well, I’d say we have a responsibility! Even if they don’t appreciate it at the time…

  4. Yes, yes, yes!!

    I love the verse in Matthew that you shared- I’ve been working on that, myself. There were a couple of situations that came up where someone blamed me for something that I wasn’t responsible for, and I would normally have avoided the conflict and just let it stew. Instead, I approached them and called them out on it. It made a big difference- both because bitterness didn’t crop up in my heart, and also because dealing with conflicts in truth and love is what we’re called to do!

  5. I believe what you are saying is the truth , and we should speak out and tell the truth to all those we meet, family , friends, whomever.If we don’t , who will ? Just do it with God’s Love.

  6. I am truly going to share this article. And I’m so glad a came across it. I decided to check out your site based on your interview talking about writing for TextBroker. Are they a real legitimate site? If so, I’m very interested in connecting with them.

    But to continue on …….thanks so much for your viewpoint about this issue of judging. It clearly has opened up my understanding. I can’t tell you the many times I have heard people, family and friends, say that “Only God can judge them” or “it’s not my job to judge”. It’s just a stance that people take to not speak about the wrong that people are doing. But if we don’t speak up, then we’re doing the opposite. We are encouraging it. And that doesn’t need to be. Ezekiel speaks it plainly, that if we don’t tell or warn people, then their blood will be on our hands. I’d rather tell them.

    I’m going to share this article, because it needs to be shared. Thanks again.

    1. Regarding Textbroker–yes! They are a legitimate site. I don’t write for them much anymore (I’ve found other opportunities in the meantime), but I did write for them for over a year and made a good amount of money doing so. It was a very positive experience.

      And yes, I had heard those types of phrases so often it was driving me nuts as well! I had to say something, lol 🙂 And thanks for sharing–I truly appreciate it!

  7. This is a great article with really good insights. I struggle with this topic because 5-10 years ago, I probably would have written something similar. I tended to be a black and white thinker, but lately, after living the life I’ve lived with lots of tough experiences, I’ve come to realize life isn’t always the way I perceive it. What I mean by that is, sometimes it seems to me on the outside the answer to a situation is simple, a clear cut right/wrong, but not being inside the situation, I really don’t know what is going on. I DO think you are correct that Christians have a Biblical obligation to steer our friends in the right direction. (And so does the church.) It’s tough though because it’s impossible for our motives to be totally pure. There have been times I’ve said something, thinking I had good intentions, and been told in no uncertain terms to back off. And truthfully, the other person was right. Now I have to give it a LOT of prayer and time to reflect to be sure I’m doing it for the right reasons before I would confront someone. That’s not to say I would not do it, but I want to really check my heart and check with God first to be sure I’m hearing his voice and not my own.

    1. I agree. You always have to keep in mind that you don’t know the full extent of the situation. Maybe there are things going on that you don’t know about. This makes it realllly difficult to judge strangers and acquaintances, but I don’t think that lets us off the hook completely, especially with friends and family that we do know well. And I don’t mean that we have to jump to “You’re a horrible sinner!!” but we should be brave enough to bring up questionable things in conversation as appropriate. And more than once if we need to.

      My husband and I do this for each other at times. It is NOT easy. But when the other person is right… well… we all need to be told to “shape up” sometimes and I’m so lucky to have someone willing to do that for me!

  8. I’ve struggled with this many times & non-Christians have thrown ‘hypocrite’, ‘judger’ in my face & sometimes I got depressed over it. But I just pray & ask God for forgiveness if I was wrong, but let Him know I also felt I made the right decision in Christ. It’s hard to be a Christian but through Christ I can do it. Thanks for the info. God bless.

    1. That stinks that they would name-call like that. Hopefully if you only speak the truth in love and to people you have a relationship with, that should eliminate most of that. But if not, it could always be the guilt talking… People don’t usually like to be told what to do, especially when they know their wrong… Such is life, I suppose.

  9. Sad, those prostitutes, tax collectors, prisoners, poor, etc that are making it into heaven ahead of the religious elite.

  10. My husband was dying. He received a letter from a friend which said he needed to believe in Jesus Christ or he would go to hell. This was a terrible letter and sad because after that I cut these friends off and won’t speak to them. How dare they do this to a dying man. We’re catholic so they got it in their heads we didn’t believe in our Lord and Savoior Jesus Christ. So very untrue we have always believed. Many times when you judge you are so wrong and I don’t think you should do it.

    1. Well, that’s just inappropriate. I guess it’s good that they tried to reach out. It does show they care. But still.
      And I don’t mean judge like “sit in judgment” or “look down on people.” But use discernment and start discussions. It would have been different if your friends had sat down to have a real conversation with you to learn more, I think.

    2. But it’s true. I was raised Catholic and was saved more than 10 years ago. Catholics believe many things that go against the Word of God. I know because I was once the proud Catholic who looked down on the Protestants. Now I see the Truth and I have a true and real relationship with Jesus. You should heed your friends’ warning.

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