Judging or Loving One Another?

Jesus in Synagogue

There is a propensity in carnal man to usurp things that belong only to God. It is a form of self-worship that is detestable to Him. Men rise up and try to take the place of Christ in the lives of His sheep when there is only one Good Shepherd they answer to. He has bought us with a terrible price and we belong to Him! One of the worst things we can fall victim to is the need to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we do this, we fall right in line with the devil himself, who is the accuser of the brethren. He tried to take God’s place in heaven and as a result he was cast down on this earth. He is the serpent that still eats the dust of fallen man and uses him for his purposes (see Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28). Paul opposed this very same religious spirit in one of the churches that he established, the church in Corinth. To them he wrote:

 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God. (1 Corinthians 4:3-5 RSVA)

Paul knew where he stood in Christ! Being judged by other believers did not deter him in the slightest. He was confident of his place in the Son of God and no man was about to change that with their carnal judgments. As a result he felt no need to vindicate himself.

We are not to judge anyone (“before the time, before the Lord comes”). To do so is to know them after the flesh and not after the completed work of Christ that is still in progress. We who are Christ’s do not have a ministry of condemnation or judgment, but rather of reconciliation. To talk or write about people behind their backs as their judge is not an effort to be reconciled with them or to see that they are reconciled to God, but is counter productive. Paul wrote in his follow-up letter:

 Therefore from now on know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from now on know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Corinthians 5:16-18 KJ2000)

Here he appeals to us to not only not judge the servants of the Lord, but know them after the Spirit and not after the flesh. If we are having a problem with loving our brother we should pray, “Father, show me how You see them not as I see them,” and He will. Our Father sees us in Christ, not in the flesh or the world. We were crucified with Jesus and we rose again in Him. It is in Christ that we live and move and have our being, not in our flesh. God is all about restoration and has been from the beginning. He knew man would choose against Him and His ways, but this did not deter His plan that man would be brought back into perfect alignment with Him as our Father and we as His sons. Our Father placed us in His Son to die on the cross, and He also placed us in Him so that we might be raised in the newness of resurrected life. God is all about restoration and reconciliation, and as His sons and daughters, this is what we should be about as well. Paul wrote, “Who are you that judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4 KJ2000)

 Behold, the LORD has proclaimed unto the ends of the earth, Say you to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and you shall be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken. (Isaiah 62:11-12 KJ2000)

God’s work in our hearts is still going on. No one is where they will be at the end.

 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 RSVA)

It is very easy for the un-crucified fleshly man to judge and condemn others, but very hard for him to love and extend to others the grace of God. But the one who has been forgiven much and knows it, loves much.

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17 comments on “Judging or Loving One Another?

  1. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you for the encouraging word. We are not to judge according to the flesh, but we are to discern by the Spirit. That leaves a narrow place of operation, so it seems to me. Yet, I believe that is the instruction. Only by the grace of God, can I do that.

    Years ago I was telling God that I did not like a certain person. I don’t remember telling God why I did not like the man, ( I’m sure that He knew why I did not). The Lord spoke to my heart, ” I died for him”. I repented and said “Lord, if you died for him, I can love him”. My attitude toward the man totally changed. Some years went by and I was told that he had lost his pastorate because his congregation said that he did too many good works for those not in his congregation. I cried, and prayed for him. Without the correction that the Lord had brought to me previously, I might have self-righteously been glad. I truly pray that I can continually be set free from self-righteous attitudes and opinions(judgments).

    Love in Him,

    Pat Orr

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Hi Pat. Good to hear from you again. Yes, walking by and discerning by the Spirit is what we are called to do. All too often Christians fail to yield to the Spirit in their relationships in everything from choosing a spouse to following His leading in there moment by moment lives with one another. What it comes down to is that we are NOT our own. We have been bought with a price and Jesus desires for us to walk in HIS light, not the light of our own understanding. Yes, and HE give us the grace to do just that, moment by moment, day by day.
      Thanks for sharing your story about that pastor. THIS is exactly what I wrote about! Yielding to God’s point of view of one another and dying to our own hurts and prejudices. What a crime that the brother was rejected for reaching out beyond the four walls of his own church! Yet Jesus made it clear that He was reaching out to other sheep that were not of the Jewish fold. He is the one who leaves the 99 and goes out to find the one that is lost! I guess in their selfishness they just didn’t know who Jesus is and how He operates.
      Pat, you have a heart after Jesus and I KNOW that He has YOU!!! Be encouraged, my sister. I wish we lived closer so we could visit you folks more easily! God bless you with more of His Son each day!
      Love you too,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kenneth dawson says:

    ew-that last paragraph was the clincher–its easy to judge someone when your in the flesh and hard to extend grace to them unless of course your under the control of Gods spirit being.good post my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Michael, I forwarded it on to Aussie Christians on Facebook.  It will be interesting to see if it gets past administrations!

    I did a study on this subject once after meeting a guy who told me he was god and quoted Jesus words ‘you are gods’ which Jesus quoted from psalms.  It was fascinating to learn that the original meaning of judging was that when we judge, which is the prerogative on God, we are usurping His position and therefore acting as if we are God Himself. Wish more people would get this  message deep inside themselves!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, my Aussie sister! I am glad you got the point of what I wrote and that your own study of this subject came up with the same results. God has soooo many helpers, doesn’t He? So many who are more than ready to condemn those for whom Jesus died? I used to have to tip-toe through the religious mine fields of judgement every Sunday when I went to church. What would cause one of them to stumble? Was it the color of shirt I wore, the hole in the knee of my Levis, the length of my hair, something one of my kids did in Sunday school, etc.??? Yup, I heard them all. Nope! I don’t miss those days one little bit! Give me the outcasts that the “good church people” would not be seen with any day of the week for THAT is where Jesus is STILL found!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We are to be careful about “judging another mans servant”, indeed but we are also to reprove, rebuke, and exhort.
    Reprove:to reprimand obscenity.
    Paul taught proper conduct all day long. He wasn’t judging, he was correcting.
    We r not to judge those without but those within. I’ve worked with street people for years. I get the gig. But if I invite them to my home I may have to lay some rules of conduct down. I may have to ask them to forgo the ‘f’ bomb while we talk, for example. And I dip my request in honey and molasses for sure. In fact, I’m a real chump, a push over. I let things slide until the flood of sewage reaches my lower lip, then I speak, real nice like, no judging.
    David Wilkerson had rules at teen challenge. He wasn’t judging/condemning. He had to maintain a standard, some order.
    So I agree we should not judge in the condemning sort of way. Different circumstances would require different approaches.
    If I start a fellowship in my home and some holy brother starts with a bodily function joke, I’ll stop him. That sort of humor is a staple with the church. I hate it and I would rebuke it. Am I guilty of judging? I suppose.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Before I was finally able to write this comment, I just had another experience that illustrated the very issue you so insightfully wrote on here, my brother. 🙂

    Indeed, I just finished an unpleasant phone call. Looking from the outside on it, you could say there was an angry man trying to condemn me for something which has not been my failure. At first I thought I should defend myself, yet I felt God nudging me to remain quiet, let that person swear his head off and instead flee into God’s loving presence that is only available in His Spirit.
    The flesh always wants to judge, either others or ourselves. You nailed it, Michael, if we do that we embrace the accuser of the brethren and we are in cahoots with Satan. The devil cannot LOVE. Thus as long as we listen to his voice, we will always judge. Even though we might be able to remain silent, our hearts will continue to condemn others who, perhaps, really misbehaved and wanted to hurt us.

    @ Pat

    I am glad you mentioned the necessity of discerning the spirits “by the grace of God”. 🙂 The testimony you shared on here so beautifully displays that we, in fact, need to share the heart of God if we want to see others as God sees them. Jesus did not die for well-behaved perfected people, but for those who got exasperated with life and a lack of love that they experienced in their past.

    Actually, you said it so well, Michael, “the one who has been forgiven much and knows it, loves much.” So, all people who still misbehave – maybe, even almost always ( 😉 ) – are suffering from a lack of LOVE in their lives. And we are the ones who could make them see that God loves them through our attempts to understand instead of condemning them.

    May God help us to first look at Him and then with a changed view return to the circumstances we cannot change. By the grace of God a miracle could happen, that is, we might gain a powerfully transformed perspective of life, of others, and of ourselves – by looking through the eyes of love… ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, you said it right, “Jesus did not die for well-behaved perfected people, but for those who got exasperated with life and a lack of love that they experienced in their past.” This is exactly the kind of people that followed Him everywhere He walked. He was criticized for this by the Pharisees and Sadducees as a result. He ate and drank wine with them. OH, the shame of it all! He even let a prostitute kiss His feet and weep over them in a public display of her affection! To this a Pharisee judged Him saying, “This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches him: for she is a sinner.” These same people had ceased to reach out to sinners long ago with their attitudes of, “Touch me not for I am holier than thou,” and their ever ready piles of stones just looking for someone to kill, “In the name of the Lord,” of coarse!

      What is amazing is that I was once one of them… always looking for a flaw, or some perceived sin to condemn others of. Then God started to show me just how I LOOKED in HIS eyes and my self-righteousness was nothing more than filthy rags and my pride stunk to the heights of His heavenly throne! I think that seeing just what a sinner I am in the midst of my heart has also shown me a great need of His mercy and as a result I have a hard time judging others who are caught in the grips of sin. If I must error I will come down on the side of mercy, not judgment.

      And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matthew 9:11-13 KJ2000)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Without any purposeful attempt to stir the waters, I don’t see how we can reduce the many scriptures concerning judgment to either “a command that we never judge” or “to view judgment upon others as always adverse. I don’t see how the scriptures bear either of these out. For example, the word judgment has many definitions, one of which is discipline. Is it wrong or sinful to discipline our children or is that an actual command of God to be obeyed?

    If we were to condemn judging others altogether in this life that is going to create several serious problems among the saints, not the least of which is another command where Christians are called to rebuke sinful behavior and correct false doctrine. Both of these commands are absolute necessities among the saints when these particular sins are evident among them. Are these not forms of judgment? Can we actually forego this responsibility among us as believers?

    I’ve read the verses you quoted Michael and I’d like to add this one:

    “For what have I to do with outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the ekklesia? But those on the outside God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” (1 Corinthians 6:12, 13)

    Here is a specific example of an assembly of believers bringing an actual judgment against an unrepentant brother. Although we discover in 2 Corinthians that he does eventually repent, here the man’s sexual deviancy has been discovered and Paul is actually encouraging them to follow through on excommunicating him. Is this not bringing a judgment against a sinning brother which was preceded by a judgment concerning his inappropriate behavior? Yes it is, and yes it was.

    If we are honest, we likely make hundreds of judgments about people every day. Our mind constantly processes and discerns various situations and people from day to day, and of course many of those thoughts are inappropriate and stem from our old selves. Nonetheless, we learn from what we see, and experience and learning to make proper and timely judgments I believe is a vital part of the Christian life.

    Obviously the Bible does not condone nor sanction the type of judgments spoken of in Matthew 7 and Romans 14 which both address specific types of judgments as do other passages. The first condemns judgment from a place of superiority over others or self righteousness. This form of judgment lacks humility which aids in viewing other people’s sins clearly. There is no such thing as “being better than others” in the Christian life. The second forbids judging “disputable matters” (personal preferences or convictions not expressly forbidden in scripture). In other words, I don’t tell someone having a beer or playing a card game is sin and mandate they refrain from those things. Rather, I warn them about the potential danger of causing another to stumble, a very serious offense before God, something a failure to rebuke and correct error is likely to bring about through others.

    I’m going to stop here. This whole issue of judging others is very complex due to the nature and definitions it encompasses. I’m very open to continue to listen to what others have to say but I strongly believe that we need to delve deeper before we condemn in wholesale every form of judgment among the saints.

    In the last few years, I have chosen to forego, at least for a season at least five people who are professing Christians for reasons I believe are scripturally supported as Paul’s example above. I take no joy in that, and hope as he would for a restoration among the saints- that I could welcome their fellowship once again.

    God has standards and truth that He commands us to retain and uphold as Christians. Those who oppose or minimize these truths will always call and label those who do- “judgmental.” It happens every day. The goal as always is to allow Jesus full sway in our lives regardless of what He calls us to do from day to day. If He’s in control, any judgments I speak will be filled with mercy, with grace and in a spirit of gentleness. In this vein, those judgments are not really even my own, but rather God’s judgments that He deems are necessary and appropriate from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Michael F. I agree that their are many Greek words with different meanings that King Jimmy and the boys translated “Judge” or “Judgment.” Here is a what I believe to be a thorough teaching on this subject, “Are We to Judge” http://www.awildernessvoice.com/judge.html
      It is one thing to discern what is going on in the saints of God and another thing to judge. God allows the former by the power of the Spirit and always in a spirit of meekness with restoration in mind, but reserves the latter for Himself. Sad to say, both Greek words were translated “judge.”

      But the spiritual man discerns all things, and is himself discerned by no one. For who knows the mind of the Lord, who shall give him counsel? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:15-16 GDBY_NT)

      Like

  7. Thank you for linking to your enlightening article in which you asked, “Are We To Judge?”, Michael. It has been very helpful for me to read it. 🙂

    Indeed, it is not ours to judge others in the sense of condemnation – NEVER. This is God’s job, of course, and Jesus is the appointed judge regarding these things (cf. Acts 10:42). Nonetheless, as mentioned above, we are to judge in the sense of discerning what is right and what is wrong. We are to discern which spirits we hear or read. And we are, in fact, sometimes to rebuke and exhort others if God’s Holy Spirit wants us to do it. This is not “judgmental” actually, the reason for exhortation and rebuke is always love for the ones who are rebuked in order to turn around those who have been led astray by Satan’s deceitful tricks. If we are not sure of such judgments, we can always ask God to help us by giving us His wisdom in all things (James 1:5).

    We can read about two examples of seemingly harsh judgment in Acts 5:1-11 (Ananias’ and his wife’s Sapphira’s death because of a lie) and in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 (excommunication due to sexual immorality inside the church).
    The question here, certainly, is not whether lying and sexually immoral behavior is sinful – of course, it is – the question that arises for me is, rather, “When are we to judge in such cases just as Peter and Paul did back then?”

    If we simply rely on Scripture, which was God-breathed, for sure, but are not simultaneously led by the Holy Spirit in a specific situation with particular people to act accordingly, we might run into danger of being completely wrong although we act according to what God ONCE spoke. Paul rightly said,

    “Not that we are sufficient to think anything as from ourselves, but our power is from God, He who made us worthy to be Ministers of The New Covenant, not in The Scripture, but in The Spirit, for The Scripture kills, but The Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor 3:5-6 Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

    Before passing any judgment on others, we might ask God whether we have been indeed empowered by God to do so. To illustrate such kind of wrong judgment, I decided to add my own experiences here.
    Some of you might know that I once joined a Christian cult/church. One day as I – not without severe reasons – fell sick with bipolar disorder, previously well-behaved Susanne began to run amok (mostly verbally). Looking from the outside on it, it seemed clear to those who were devoid of Christ’s Spirit that a former saint had to be rebuked and excommunicated. Why? FOR IT IS WRITTEN… 😉

    It was interesting that no one of the church leaders ever asked me or my family what had happened to me. Yes, there were reasons why I was such a mess. On the one hand I had experienced one of the most overwhelming revelations by Jesus (in His light), and on the other hand, that light stirred up the darkness inside me (sexual abuse, gang rape, spiritual abuse, family problems, professional crisis etc. pp.) and finally left me totally confused.
    Although my husband heard in that church that his wife was said to be demon possessed and therefore had to be shunned [“She belongs to the devil, let her go, God will judge her, but you should remain here inside the church”], my husband got very angry and said, “This is my wife, God has given her to me, and I will go wherever she is because I love her.”
    Thank God, it was not necessary to be excommunicated since I left on my own, listening to the voice of the one true Shepherd who had called me out of that system [“ecclesia” – called-out (ones)] so that I could follow Him who loved me through it all until He finally healed me.

    See the problem?
    If we do not love God and one another in the first place, our judgments might probably be always wrong because we do not know the hearts of others unless God reveals them to us…

    Much love to all,
    Susanne

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Michael says:

    Susanne, it is so saddening for me to read about the shoddy way that these false shepherds treat God’s chosen ones. I am so sorry that instead of being an instrument of Jesus’ healing, they were not only quick to cast you out of THEIR church, but wanted to separate you from your own husband in the process and keep HIM! This is the work of Satan to its core! I am so glad that your husband stood by you, my dear sister. The fact that you are still following Christ after all that church crap is a true miracle. Most end up rejecting Jesus along with the churches after an event like that happening in their lives and I am sure that was Satan’s design for you in the way he had them react to your time of weakness and stress. But thanks be to our Father, HE did not reject you and I know from reading your testimony on your blog that Jesus left the 99 and sought you out to heal you! Where is that church today… the same place that many of them are who have leaders that do not know His voice or heart… gone the way of all flesh.
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart and story with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I really hold to ‘being led of the Spirit’.
    We are called to preach/witness, but I don’t speak a single word unless the Spirit prompts me. Some may disagree. The same I follow in all things.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Brenda says:

    Reblogged this on White Raiment.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There is little I can add to this discussion, except to say that it has edified me. How distressing that so many of us have been hurt by the very church which should have expressed Christ’s love toward us.

    With love,

    A.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Dear Anna, Thank you for your comment. I am sorry that it has taken more that a week for me to moderate and acknowledge what you wrote. Somehow it slipped by me in my inbox. I have to admit that I have not been inspired to write on my blog as of late and therefor have not been checking my comments box on here. I am happy to hear that our discussion on here has been edifying for you. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another.” The problem today is that many have come in His name calling Him “Lord” and they have deceived many. Some of the worst deceivers of all are the ones who sit in authority over these congregations. Where is the love of Christ for His called-out ones? You see, the true ecclesia (“church”) is not a visible organization with all its earthly trappings, but…

      “Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to tens of thousands of angels joyfully gathered together, to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to a judge who is the God of all, to the spirits of righteous people who have been made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better message than Abel’s.” (Hebrews 12:22-24 ISV)

      So, as a result we who are called to this heavenly assembly look as if we have forsaken being gathered unto this false thing, because it is true for we have had to go outside the gate to find Christ and real fellowship in this most heavenly way. As the writer goes on to say in the next chapter,,,

      “We have an altar, and those who serve in the tabernacle have no right to eat at it. For the bodies of animals, whose blood is taken into the sanctuary by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. That is why Jesus, in order to sanctify the people by his own blood, also suffered outside the city gate. Therefore go to him outside the camp and endure the insults he endured. For here we have no permanent city but are looking for the one that is coming.” (Hebrews 13:10-14 ISV)

      In His love,

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

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