Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Lovingly Confronting… or Judging and Condemning?

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 7:1-2

In today’s world Christians are accused of being judgmental and condemning all the time.  Why is the world saying that about Christians?  What are we doing that makes them feel this way?  Is it because we stand up for what we believe is right in God’s eyes?  It is easy to believe you are doing a good thing, standing for what you believe in – for what God’s word says.  Even the Pharisees believed they were right and religiously superior to everyone else.  But doing the right thing in the wrong way is the wrong thing.  
If the people we know and influence in our lives feel judged and condemned rather than loved and accepted, we need to rearrange a few things in our hearts.  Our job as Christians is to bring the light of the Gospel to those who have yet to see or may have strayed.  There is a fine line between lovingly confronting someone in their sin and judging them.  We have to be careful how we do this, if this is even what God is telling us to do.  Although He doesn’t always use other Christians to confront and try to reclaim a sinner, He does sometimes lead us to confront someone.  The key to helping someone is to understand.  If they feel like we understand them, they will feel like we genuinely care about them and then God will be able to use us to influence them.  Condemning however, will build a wall fast and destroy any avenues of influence we might have.  
Judging or Discerning? 
Judgment means to mentally or judicially condemn; to conclude, to decide, to determine, to call to account; to sentence.  The Holy Spirit, God and Jesus are the only ones ever qualified to judge someone on their sins.  Jesus left example after example in the Bible for us and He never once condemned anyone.  He never threw a stone, even when He was the only one qualified to do so.  " Let the man among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her."  No one in that crowd that day was without sin but Jesus, yet He forgave and showered grace instead of condemnation and punishment.  He alone would have been worthy enough to throw a stone and He never even picked one up.  What Jesus did show us was how to show mercy, forgive, and have grace. 
Discernment means to test, to examine; to interpret, approve, discover; or make a distinction.  Discernment asks questions, evaluates, and investigates, without judging someone.  God wants us to be discerning about important things in life such as choosing friends.  It is checking the facts before making a conclusion.  
The difference between confronting a sin and condemning a sinner is about the standard we use.  When you judge others based on feelings, opinions, or what you personally prefer, it is wrong.  In approaching someone with the true love desire to help them, you have to love them where they are.  If you can’t love them where they are, you lose them.  It is about accepting and loving the sinner, but not the sin.  We need to try to understand why they did what they did, where they are coming from.  We need to not condemn but draw them in with love, without seeking to belittle or punish.  We need to be concerned about their spiritual well-being and how we can be used by God for His glory, and not our own.   
Love is the only truth that draws people in.  God’s love spans all shame and covers it in grace.  Grace cancels out our shame if we let it.  Then we can be reconciled to God and restored in our relationship with Him. This is what we need to pass on to others who need it.  

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