Category Archives: Judging
Well, if nothing else – that title should have gotten your attention…
This blog may be a bit personal for us all – if we are honest – as most of us, I suspect, deal with the difficulty of reconciling when brothers & sisters in Christ hold tightly to views that are different that our own. I am not talking about preferences in worship style or dress or the color of the carpet – but things that range from doctrinal matters to matters of conscience.
Part 1: Matters of Conscience vs. Preferential Loving
I suspect for some, the struggle with matters of conscience is not really an issue – but for me it is, and I suspect for many of my readers it is as well. Fenelon says this: “You must never look down at someone who is not called to walk the way you are. God does what He wants with each one.” Now I see a couple of truths herein: 1) watch my attitude! And 2) embrace the truth that, as Paul said: “accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:1-2, 4b)
Paul later, however, tells us:
Vs 13b: “…determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.”
Vs 15: “if because of food [smoke, drink, language, or any permitted indulgence] your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.” (My amplification in brackets)
Vs. 16: “Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Vs 20-22: “Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have [j]as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.”
And in 1 Thess 5:22, this same Paul writes: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
Lastly, on the matter of conscience – Paul writes, not once, but twice:
1 Cor 6:12: “All things are lawful unto me,” but all things are not expedient. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
1 Cor 10:23: “All things to me are lawful, but all things are not profitable; all things to me are lawful, but all things do not build up;”
So here, I see our Lord clearly teaching us that we MUST be sensitive, prudent, careful and loving, with regards to our “matters of conscience”, putting the well-being of the brethren, and the sake of the reputation of the Kingdom on God within us, ahead of our own personal pleasures.
So I guess I am not baffled by our indulging in our permitted pleasures, as much as I am by our seeming lack of concern for the “whomever” that might be hurt by our “practicing, indulging or even flaunting” those pleasures – for though it might be permissible to indulge pleasures according to our own faith – it is NEVER permissible to hurt, offend or cause a brother to stumble. (Remember, faith is not just “what you confidently choose to believe” – it is, in fact, “acting in obedience to the Rhema word that you have heard from the Lord. Romans 10:17)
Let’s chew on this together… please – if not only for your sake, but the sake of The Body of Christ.
Part 2 Coming Soon: Assurance vs Deception
Let me share a little about “judging” based on my limited study of the whole-counsel of scripture, and the original Greek text. First, this study written for Christians – And I am making the assumption that as a professing Christian, you are actually a Christ-follower. If that is not correct, disregard the rest of this post.
There are 3 important things to know about “judging”. 1) Jesus DID NOT teach that we were to not judge one another, He did say (in the original Greek) that if we don’t want to be judged, then don’t judge, but went on to say that we need to understand, that the way we judge (measuring stick we use, and attitude we have, whether merciful, graceful, harsh or critical) is the same way we will be judged by others – the passage in Matthew 7:1-5 – ends with Jesus saying: “cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
2) There are at least 3 Greek words used for “Judge/Judging/Judgement” in the new testament: Krisis, Krino & Krites. The words have different meanings:
- Krisis means to distinguish between wrong & right;
- Krites means to rule over “such as a court Judge”; and
- Krino which means, primarily, among other things to condemn or damn.
So, it is important to know that we read the word “judge” in scripture, it doesn’t always mean the same thing. Scripture is clear in it’s teaching that we are not to judge, in the sense of condemning or damning someone – that, you are correct, is the “Word’s” responsibility alone.
However, 3) In 1 Corinthian’s 5, especially verses 11-14, we are clearly taught that we, as Christians, are to judge (distinguish between right & wrong) with fellow Christians. Even to the point that, certain behavior, requires us to treat them as an unbeliever and not be in fellowship with them (that they might see the error of their way, and come to repentance).
With that said, the Word clearly teaches that we, as Christians, are to:
- guard our hearts from evil (Prov 4:23 & others);
- abstain from carnality & worldliness (1 Peter 2:11-17) (it even teaches that if we love the world and it’s ways, we hate God – James 4:4);
- all unwholesome talk and cursing should not be on our lips (Eph 4:29)
So, we suggest strongly to you, in judgement of right and wrong, that there are clearly behaviors, that, as a Christ-follower, it is improper to willingly participate in. We are not condemning or damning when we point this out; rather, we are stating Scripturally, that it is improper for God’s holy children to behave in certain ways. Lastly, consider Eph 5:3-4: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”
I hope & pray this brings life!