In today’s society, we often hear the admonition to not “judge” others. The Scriptures say “judge not lest you be judged.”
Yet, in 1Corinthians, Chapter 5, the apostle Paul gives explicit instructions to the church at Corinth that they should judge the actions of their members and actually put out one of their members because of his sinful lifestyle.
The issue of judging or not judging has long been misinterpreted and misunderstood by those who are both inside and outside of the church. Those who are part of the church have become reluctant and fearful in many cases to exercise the authority and responsibility that God has given us for carrying out the assignment of the church. Those on the outside think that as church members, we should not dare to speak against what God clearly defines as sin.
Let’s make it clear, there is no prohibition against judging the actions of others. On the contrary, if a person is clearly engaged in ongoing sin, living a lifestyle that is contrary to the Word of God, we must try to first convince them of their wrong lifestyle, and if it persists, put them out of the church for their own good.
Allowing them to continue as a member, holding leadership roles, etc, will only give them a false sense of security in their lifestyle and cause others to see it as license to do the same, putting their own soul in danger of judgment from God.
Judging actions is not a bad thing. When done with love, compassion, and concern for the well-being of others, it is a tool of mercy, bringing us into line with God’s standards, qualified to receive His blessings.
But, also keep this in mind today. Paul’s admonition is about judging the actions of those inside the church, where we must uphold God’s standards. In verse 13, he makes it clear that God judges those outside of the church. Our responsibility to those outside of the church is to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will convict them of sin and draw them into relationship with Jesus Christ.
At that point, we must begin to teach the principles of Godly living and hold each other accountable to living a life of holiness that is pleasing to God.
I’ll close this with a question. Would you rather be judged by God, other people, or yourself?
This is a point we don’t often consider, but wouldn’t it be better if we took some time to take a long hard look at our own lives, inspecting our own motives and actions, repenting of sin and seeking to please God with our life? Why wait to be judged by others?
You be the judge.