Often I hear churchgoers who have been confronted in their sin say “Don’t judge me.” The heart of what the are saying is, “You don’t have authority over me to tell me how to live my life.” It’s a quick reaction and leaves the initiator without much of a comeback. But my hope and prayer is that the believer doing the confrontation is doing so out of love and genuine concern for a brother or sister who is in error.
Here are some things to be aware of:
1. The Bible Does Not Say That We Should Never Judge Others.
According to Biblical Greek scholar William Mounce, the word for judge, krino, simply means “to consider, decide, judge.” It can refer to making a simple distinction, like between one day and another (as seen in Romans 14:5). It can also mean that someone is passing judgment on the actions of others in order to influence them. The key verse that believers and unbelievers alike are familiar with is from the mouth of Jesus:
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” Matthew 7:1
Jesus is not saying that we should not judge others. After all, later on in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says that “If a brother sins, show him…” (Matthew 18:15).
What Jesus is preaching here is against hypocritical or self-righteous judging. Here is the verse in context:
1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
It is very clear here that we are still to show others their sin (verse 5). But first, we must test our hearts to see if we are doing so hypocritically. We must repent from our own sin before pointing out the sin in others. We tend to see our own sins as specks and others’ sins as planks. But Jesus here is commanding us to see our own sins as planks, and to repent first before addressing the speck in someone else’s eye. Yes, we still point out their sin, but with the repentant heart that Jesus is calling for.