We live in a world today where prejudgment is ingrained within our sinful psyche. Instead of looking at the heart or intention of the person first, we often jump ahead to a faulty hypothesis as to why that person acted this or that way. Hastily judging others can lead to bearing false witness.
As Christians, it’s important that we are mindful of this when approaching or confronting sin. Let’s read this verse in Matthew 7 where Jesus teaches his disciples how to handle proper judgment.
(If you want to read the Bible’s view on church discipline, I wrote a more extensive article here).
“Stop judging, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the beam in your own eyes? Or how will you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, the beam is in your own eye? Hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” -Matthew 7:1-5
After reading this verse, what do you think the Lord is trying to convey? First, I believe God is telling us that judgment is not necessarily bad. We ought to confront our brothers and sisters in Christ if they are entrenched in sin. Conviction of sin from a faithful friend can lead to repentance and restoration.
However, if we are to confront others who are struggling in sin, we need to be mindful of our own shortcomings. That’s why the person who confronts should not be a hypocrite. While the one judging will not be perfect, there should be a trajectory toward holiness and obedience. That person should be mature in the Lord in order to help the new Christian struggling with his or her faith.
I also believe the person who truly loves the Lord will be humbled by this verse. They understand that God is the only perfect judge. They realize sin is also a part of their lives, and they are constantly working to overcome their own faults. However, the mature Christian should be willing to “take the speck out of their brother’s eye.”
What exactly does this mean? The Bible informs us in Matthew 18:15 that if your brother sins, go and point out their fault. If they listen to you, you have won them over. This is the whole goal of biblical judgment. We are to confront sin in order to restore them back into relationship with the church, and most importantly, God.
Proverbs 27:6 tells us, “The wounds of a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” In other words, when you confront your brother or sister, you are doing it out of love. You are genuinely concerned for their spiritual growth. Judging them is a good thing if it’s in line with what Scripture teaches.
For instance, if a person is addicted to drugs, you want to rescue them from this lifestyle. It’s proper to tell them that they need to stop this addiction or it might destroy them. You may even be able to empathize and say look, I know where you are coming from. The Lord rescued me from the same sin you are currently struggling with. Try to judge them with grace and mercy so they know you have their best interest in mind.
As this proverbs suggests, an enemy multiplies kisses. This means they are afraid to confront the person out of fear of rejection. However, this means the person is being selfish and is being a pleaser of man rather than God. A true friend will tell someone who is struggling that they need to get help, even if that person gets upset about it.
In the end, it’s important that everyone understands grace is the motivating factor when judging. For all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We all need forgiveness. Ephesians 2:7-8 states, “For by grace we have been saved through faith. This is not of ourselves. Rather, it is a gift from God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
We can’t boast in our holiness. Our only boast is in the Lord Jesus Christ because He is the one who truly rescued us from our depravity. Let’s pray and ask God to give us wisdom in how to judge with humility and grace.
Dear heavenly Father,
We are sinful creatures. Please, forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive those who have sinned against us. Help us to overcome our own struggles so that we can be a light to others. Humble us when we approach Christians struggling with sin. May it remind us to also repent of our own shortcomings so we can conform more into the image of your Son, Jesus. You are the ultimate Judge. May we give you all the glory, honor, and praise. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.