The word Christian means “one who is like Christ.” In reality, we are all called to be duplicates of Jesus—to live our lives exactly as Jesus lived His life, completely dedicated to the Father as His servants, making Jesus known to the world. Our words are to be Holy and set apart, full of grace but also seasoned with salt. Being a Christian does not mean that we cannot confront sin or bad behavior when we see people selfishly thinking only of themselves. Salt acts as a preservative, but it also stings when it gets in an open wound. Sometimes, by confronting a person with his sin, it may be a little painful. To say nothing when someone is on a course that will destroy his life is not only unloving, it is strictly forbidden by those who know God.
The principle of a “Watchman” from the Old Testament:
Ezekiel 33:1-7 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ 7 So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman.”
The watchman is someone who looks for approaching danger so that he can warn those who may suffer if they are not warned. The principle here is simple: If we warn people that they are in danger and they do not heed our warning, then the Lord will hold that person responsible who refused to listen. He will then release us of our obligation, as we have done what He requires. However, if we fail to warn someone whom we know is in danger and he perishes, then the Lord will hold us accountable for his death.
This point is further defined in the New Testament:
James 5:19-20 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
It has been incorrectly taught in the Christian church that we cannot judge sin or confront someone whom we observe in sin. If this was the case, then how would any of us have the opportunity to help each other in our spiritual journey? What we are not permitted to do is to condemn someone in their sin. There is a vast difference between judgment of a wrongful action that will harm a person and condemning a person who is in sin. One brings needed help, the other—unneeded distress and suffering. The purpose of exercising judgement in approaching a person to tell him that his current behavior is harmful to himself or others, is out of love. If we truly love people, we must not allow them to continue in anything that will harm them or others who are around them.
1 Corinthians 6:2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
John 7:24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.
John 7:24 instructs us to judge, but with righteous judgment, not by what we first perceive. In order to rightly judge any person’s actions, we must first go to the Lord in prayer and then to the person to try and gain understanding for what is truly in their heart. A person who is wise, and truly after the Lord’s heart, will humbly receive instruction from the word of God and thank the one who came to instruct them. A fool and and a scoffer will reject any instruction, while deflecting the blame back onto the one who came to bring wise instruction.
Proverbs 15:12 A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, Nor will he go to the wise.
Proverbs 19:25 …Rebuke one who has understanding, and he will discern knowledge.
By the response of the one who is being judged, the genuine person can be discerned.
It is not true that Christians cannot judge other Christians words, actions, or behavior. In fact, just the opposite is true. We are to convince by the word of God, rebuke when behavior is not fitting a follower of Jesus, and exhort by teaching from God’s word what the right way is.
1 Timothy 4:2 …Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
In both 1 Corinthians 6:2 and John 7:24, Christians are instructed to judge in all matters of this world concerning behavior. We are also instructed to use Righteous Judgement,” which is to properly understand the heart of the person and the matter at hand, and not by outward appearance only. The kind of judgement that was condemned by Jesus is judgment based on what we observe by external circumstances, without knowing the person or his particular situation.
When we observe Jesus in all of His interactions with people, He never accepted their sins, and He always confronted them and demanded that they change their behavior.
To the woman caught in adultery, He forgave her, then told her to never sin again (John 8:3).
To the woman at the well, Jesus confronted her immoral lifestyle—“You have had five husbands”—then He led her into a saving knowledge of Himself as the Messiah (John 4:7).
To Peter who, one moment was commended by Jesus for discerning that Jesus was the “Son of God,” shortly thereafter, Jesus scolded Peter for acting in the capacity of satan as a stumbling block (Matthew 16:16).
When the money changers in the temple were robbing the people of a vital opportunity to worship God by their commerce, which they were conducting in the Court of the Gentiles, Jesus came into the court with such overwhelming force against their sins, that not a single person stood physically in opposition to Him (Matthew 21:12).
Telling a person that his behavior is not correct is an absolute necessity in the Christian church. The absence of this practice has allowed the Body of Christ to become weak and fearful to do anything of great consequence in the world. If we cannot even judge sin amongst us, how would we ever be able to approach a sinner in the world?
Those who are conducting themselves improperly are usually the first to object to anyone “judging them.” They often use the verse in which Jesus told us not to judge, as their proof text.
Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
Notice that Jesus did not say that we cannot judge a person’s behavior. He simply stated that if we choose to judge another person, we must make sure that our judgment is righteous, because we will also be judged based on the kind of judgement we have given, in matters concerning other people. If we judge to condemn, then we will receive the same. If we judge out of love and concern for the soul of the person, then we will receive the same consideration regarding our own sins and failures.
We are also to judge when we feel that a person who claims to follow Jesus has not properly considered Him as Holy. When we make commerce of other Christians and take advantage of those within the church, we have forgotten that all those things we do to other Christians, we are also doing to the Lord who purchased us all with His precious blood
We are His people, called by His name to live a life set apart and fully dedicated to Him. It is reasonable that we would devote ourselves totally to Jesus, considering how great the sacrifice was that He has made for us. The Lord did not hold anything back when He gave His life for us. We should be willing to give all that we are and all that we have, in order to make Jesus known to other people. We have not joined a club or institution; we have become servants of the living God. Our lives were purchased by the precious life of the Son of God. They no longer belong to us; they are His, to do with, as He desires. If anyone does not consent to this disclaimer, they should not follow Jesus. Christianity is not fun and games; it is life, both now and for eternity.
1 Peter 1:18-19 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
Since our lives are no longer our own and it is reasonable for us to give Jesus all that we are, there is no room for compromise and the pursuit of this world. The life of continual compromise and moral relativism that is so prevalent in this world today is not the correct life for the follower of Jesus. God has not changed His mind about sin and compromise since He first stated that these things are not for His people. Those things that were wrong and offensive to God at the beginning are still wrong and offensive today.
We should not excuse our own sins, nor those whom we know and love.
Our lives belong to Jesus. They are no longer our own. We have been purchased with a great price, and we do not have to right to do whatever we want to do any longer. Everything that the Lord has asked of us is for our own peace. All of God’s law is good; and when we choose to follow it, the results bring great blessing to us. We, in turn, bring great glory to the Lord—as we publicly display to all those around us that we have chosen, of our own free will, to love and obey the Lord of heaven.
1 Timothy 4:2John 7:24Judging Others