Last week, I wrote a blog post about how we are free from self-condemnation, which you can read here. The whole blog post is about how God never disciplines us to torment us. Instead he pursues us in our sin and convicts us in order to bring about repentance and forgiveness so we can live in His peace and joy.
This got me thinking about how we are not only free from self-condemnation but we are also free from the responsibility of condemning others.
In Christian culture, we are quick to look to John 3:16 for evidence of God’s saving work in our lives. However, not nearly as many of us have memorized John 3:27 which states “For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
We miss so much of the picture thinking that this righteous, holy God came only to save us from our individual sin instead of understanding that the point was to reconcile the world to Him, not through shame and guilt, but through showing us the extent of His love by condemning His own Son instead of us and in so doing freeing us from condemning each other.
Why is this biblical truth something that is so hard grasp?
“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2.
God is a Just God.
I definitely fall short of believing and trusting this truth. A few weeks ago, I asked to receive text messages on Friday nights from an outreach team that goes out to minister to victims of human trafficking. Every time I receive a text, I stop what I am doing to pray with my husband.
When we first started, I was only praying for the outreach team and the victims of human trafficking. It didn’t even cross my mind to pray for the salvation of the traffickers or the individuals soliciting the victims. To be honest, I have a hard time even wanting to because I hold so much anger and resentment towards them (another blog post on that soon).
God, in His loving kindness, quickly reminded me that judging others and accusing them is what Satan does. As a Christian, it is not my job to condemn others but to pray for their souls that they might be convicted in their hearts to repent.
“We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent?” Romans 2:2-4.
God is a righteous judge who will bring the final judgment upon the world. We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. Yet He sent His only Son into the world that we might be saved. Jesus death and resurrection took the punishment that we deserve.
If you truly believe in your heart and declare that “Jesus is Lord,” you will be saved from this judgment and spend eternity with God. However, our role as a Christian is to point others towards God’s saving truth, not by condemning them for their sins (which we also commit), but by sharing the saving work of God in our own lives.
Who Are We to Judge?
Jesus does not prohibit all acts of judgment. As believers, we are called upon to use wisdom to use discernment in certain situations. However, the Bible calls us to a pretty lofty standard when it comes to judging the actions of others.
“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5.
Before we judge someone for their sin and guide them towards repentance, we must stop to look inwardly on our own hearts and pray that Jesus might bring light to areas that we might be sinning in. Jesus also warned that those who use a harsh standard of judgment when evaluating others can expect God to use same harsh standard when they face His judgment. (Matthew 7:2).
God Calls Us to Point Out the Truth in Love.
God is more concerned with our attitude and the position of our hearts in which we exercise judgment. With Christ-like compassion, we are called to help one another towards repentance and redemption.
“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:32.
Our goal must be to help each other grow in our relationship with God, not to hinder their progress by giving judgment where it is not warranted.
God is the one who the righteous and unrighteous will stand before when life on Earth is complete. Ultimately, we need to trust that it is God who will bring about the final judgment and He will do so righteously. He will judge with fairness to ensure that every deed is either rewarded or punished accordingly (Romans 2:6).
My prayer for unbelievers and believers alike is that we choose to serve the one and only righteous and fair Judge. Let us lead a life of repentance, sharing with others how God was able to change our own hearts, instead of “sharing” with them how much they should feel ashamed. In doing so, we will exemplify God’s grace and mercy towards others and may find we do more for God’s kingdom when we act out of love instead of out of judgement.