Not too long ago, John 3:16 was the most quoted scripture by those who weren’t Christians. That has been replaced by Matthew 7:1 which says don’t judge or you will be judged. We hear that used everywhere today to support all kinds of unbiblical ideas and lifestyles. It is used to say that we cannot condemn or point out fault in anyone else. It assumes there are no absolutes and anything anyone does is okay.
But what about the man who is guilty of child abuse? Should he be allowed to work in the children’s department in a church because we are not to judge him? I read about a pastor who had a man arrested for abusing his, the pastor’s child. A church member thought he was judging too harshly and paid the man’s bail. The molester promptly bought a gun and killed the pastor’s son and his wife then took his own life. Was the pastor really guilty of judging this man? Or was he applying Biblical criteria in his evaluation of the man’s actions?
The Bible says we are not to play God and think we know the inner motives of a person. But it does say we are to evaluate what a person does and act accordingly. Matthew 7:20 says that by their fruits we shall know about a person. He is warning against false teachers who appear in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). We are to pay attention to the product in a person’s life to know where their fruit comes from. We are not to pass judgment on someone as if we were God and knew all about them, but we are told to evaluate their actions so we know how to respond to them.
We are commanded to evaluate but not condemn. We must make sound judgments based on the facts as we see them. We cannot go beyond that and play God about things we do not know. But when we see something that does not line with scripture, we can evaluate that behavior or belief so we know how to correctly respond to it.
Paul and Jesus both did this. There were times when they would shake the dust off their feet and move on elsewhere (Matthew 10:14; Acts 13:51). Jesus called the religious leaders “whitewater sepulchers” (Matthew 23:27-28). John called them serpents (Matthew 3:7). Paul criticized Peter in Galatia for compromise (Galatians 2:11-113). Paul told the Christians in 1st Corinthians to remove a man from fellowship who was living in sin (1 Corinthians 5:1).
We cannot play God, but we can and must evaluate the fruit in a person’s life and from that we can know better the root that is inside.
Matthew 7:16 “By their fruit you will recognize them.”
Proverbs 20:11 Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.”
What fruit do others see in your life? When they evaluate your actions do they see Jesus behind all you do and speak?
Are you guilty of passing judgment on others? Do you look down or criticize others for their faults or shortcomings? Suppose God help you to the same standard you use on others?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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