How many times have you questioned what someone was doing when they threw the old saying, “Judge not, lest ye be judged” right back at you. My unscientific poll tells me this could the most often used phrase from the Bible, both from Christians and non-Christians alike. Let’s look at this in context:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Matthew 7:1-3
Is Jesus telling us to not confront others about sin? Is he telling us to turn a blind eye towards a fellow Christians sin? I don’t think so. The Christian leaders during Jesus’ time were big about pointing the fault out in others while ignoring there own and that’s the point of these verses.
If you see a fellow Christian brother sinning and you are committing the same exact sin then you have no position to go to him and point that out – it’s hypocritical. This causes you to push the other individual down while attempting to build yourself up. So we have to be careful to find when it’s ok to be critical of other’s sin. When I say critical, I don’t mean be negative. You can help out one in sin out of love rather than hate. You can point sin out in a caring and compassionate way as opposed to a mocking and insulting way.
The other important factor in these verses is the fact that Jesus wants us to examine ourselves. Before you ask about another person’s sin look at your own life and see what sin is there. Many times the bad habits we have are the very same habits that drive us crazy in other people Be watchful and if you find yourself trying to magnify the sins of others while covering up your own you should sit down and ask for help. Before I even consider criticizing someone else I reflect on my own life and see if I deserve that same criticism. The first person I judge in any situation is myself…critically too. I want God to point out my faults and show me my sins.
We are told many times in the Bible that it is ok to point out mistakes in others…especially false teachers:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Matthew 7:15-19
Paul even points out in Corinthians about how to handle situations that arise in the church:
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles–that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
1 Corinthians 5:1-2
If there is flagrant sin going on in your church, it’s your duty to work out getting the problem solved. Don’t sit by and let it grow. This toleration of flagrant sin is dangerous:
Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 1 Corinthians 5:6
By allowing the sin to go on we are endangering the whole church. We can’t be sinless, but deliberate sin is a fault we must watch for, especially in our church.
So the next time you do feel that tinge to judge, first examine yourself then follow God and proceed how He would have you go.