Monday, February 17, 2014

Judge Not?

When we hear someone say, "Judge not, lest ye be judged," it is often in the context of a Christian pointing out sin or the sinful acts of others and someone coming to the defense of the "others" and/or the other person him/herself.  To "discern" good from evil is not the type of "judgment" which Jesus condemns in Matt. 7:1.  We are not called (yet) to judge persons (see 1 Cor. 6:2-3) but we are most definitely called to "discern" good from evil - and to warn our brethren when they are in sin, a near occasion of sin or living in such a way which may lead others to sin.  In fact, for us to turn our backs or say nothing when we witness the sin in others is not a form of love for them - for if they were to remain unrepentant in that sin and/or lifestyle then what we would really be implying is that we're OK with their condemnation; that we're OK with never seeing them again in all eternity because they chose a lifestyle here in this temporal condition which will have eternal consequences.  

I don't know about you, but I would rather be somewhat blunt with such a friend and/or family member than just try to "get along" in "comfort" in this life.  If somehow the Holy Spirit moves in their heart and brings them around, well James 5:19-20 speaks loud and clearly on this matter!   "My brethren, if any of you err from the truth, and one convert him: he must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins."  Not all sins are "Deadly Sins" but when we are aware of someone who is either in such a sin or is living in a near occasion of sin, we cannot remain silent.  Ask yourself, HOW can you "convert" one if you're not discerning and HONEST with your friend/family member and point out their sin to them?  Who would "convert" if everyone around them are "making happy" and never talking about the 600 pound gorilla in the room? We HAVE to be discerning between that which is moral and immoral. 

Does this mean we condemn our friend or family member who is living in sin?  NO!  We still love them in all Christian charity.  They are still our friend/family member - but they have to know that we're not approving of such a lifestyle - and can never be approving of such.  They should know you're concerned and praying for them and their conversion - but you don't have to beat them over the head with it.  As our motto in the ACTS Family of Forums goes, "But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.  But with modesty and fear, having a good conscience: that whereas they speak evil of you, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ." 1 Peter 3:15-16.  In other words, always be prepared to give an answer, but do so in charity so that you do so in good conscience.  

I have been asked by a friend of mine to look into several articles regarding homosexual marriage.  Anyone who knows me must know that I will take the Catholic position on this matter - but I will look at these articles and will respond here in future postings.  As I said above, I do not judge homosexual persons - but I cannot possibly give my blessing to homosexual acts, but again - more on that in upcoming postings. 

Here are some excellent Scripture verses on judging compiled at Catholic Bible 101:
Leviticus 19:15:  "You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.
Proverbs 31:9: Open your mouth, judge righteously; maintain the rights of the poor and needy.
Matthew 7:2: For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.
Luke 6:37: "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
(**NOTE—Here we see the link between judging and condemning)
Matthew 18:15: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
(**NOTE – Here is a prime case of Jesus telling us all to admonish the sinner).
Luke 7:40-43:  And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "What is it, Teacher?"  "A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?"  Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly."
(**NOTE – Here we see the use of the term “judged” in the context of judging someone’s actions, rather than personal condemnation).
Luke 12:57: "And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
(**NOTE – Once again, we see the use of the term “judge” in the context of judging actions, not condemning people and passing judgment).
John 7:24: Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."

(**NOTE – Here Jesus commands us to judge people’s actions and deeds with “right judgment”.)
Acts 4:19: But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge;
(**NOTE – Another case of judging people’s actions, rather than the person).
1 Corinthians 2:15: The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.
1 Corinthians 6:2-3: Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?   Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life!
(**Note – No wonder satan hates Christians so much – we will be judging him one day!)
Hebrews 10:30: For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people."
(**NOTE – Here we see that the Lord judges people. That in no way precludes us from judging whether or not people’s actions are sinful or not.)
James 4:12: There is one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you that you judge your neighbor?
(**NOTE – James says that we should not judge our neighbor.  Once again, this does not stop us from judging whether or not our neighbor’s actions (killing his wife, stealing money, etc.) is sinful. Note how this differs from James 5:20 above, where James talks about bringing a sinner back from the error of his ways (sinfulness)).

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