judgment (part two): what it does not mean

If you follow what I posted last and refrain from looking at people with condemnation, it becomes rather simple to get to a place where you are not living as Christ would have you live.
“How is that possible?” some would ask, “If Jesus said do not judge lest you be judged, then is it not a great show of love to let people be themselves, and not tell them other wise?”

This is a conversation that I have found myself in time and again. Whoever I have talked to about this has always stopped at that Matthew 7 passage, and then immediately called me judgmental and a hypocrite. Real progress there…

But let’s look at that, first, with our dealings with unbelievers.

Unbelievers are outside of the law, they are either unaware of their sin, or, aware but unwilling to do anything about it. So what this means is that we cannot (and must not) hold them to our standards. We can look at them, see that what they are doing is sin, but then realize that they are still under sin (in contrast to those who are under Christ and occasionally still sin).
Romans deals a lot with the sin of people. For more on this, see chapters 2-6.

But that leaves our brothers and sisters in Christ.

As I mentioned, we, as Christians, are no longer under sin. Instead, if we claim Jesus as our savior, we are under Christ, but our sinful nature still battles with Christ on a daily basis.

All sin and fall short…
Romans (3:23 for the above passage) tells us that no one is good, even Christians. For us to say that we are is a denial of the blood of Christ. And the fact is, we fall short, not that we once fell and are able to get back up, but that we constantly flip God off and go completely against Him. This will creep into our lives on a daily basis, so when we sin against God, we are able to (and must) repent of that, as an out pouring of our joy in His forgiveness.

Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?
This comes from 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 would seem like a complete contradiction to Matthew 7 where we are told not to judge. But this is different.
Matthew 7 judgment is a condemning, “I’m better than you are! Go to Hell!” judgment– that is what we cannot be (see yesterday’s post).
1 Corinthians 5 is a loving, correcting judgment. One that says “I know that we are both sinners, and that Jesus paid the same price for you as He did for me, but I see you living a life contrary to what you are proclaiming. You say you believe in Christ but then you have sex outside of marriage, look at porn, masturbate, constantly complain about life, are always at odds with your parents and disobey them (you fill in the blanks here).” Matthew 18 further outlines how we should go about this type of correcting. But the point is, as believers in Christ Jesus, our desire should be to serve Him out of the joy of His salvation- this means to stop living in sin (Romans 6:1,2).

What this does not mean
It does not mean that we cannot show you your faults and help you along the way.

It does not mean that I am less sinful than you, it just helps me show the glory of Christ more through my helping you.

It does not mean that I hate you, or that I am being hypocritical or judgmental in a condemning way (unless I have corrected you with an attitude or out of wrong motives). Hate would have kicked you out the first time you sinned, and Jesus is about love.

Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—

–Paul, the Apostle

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