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Does the Bible give us permission to judge others? Pastor answers

Pastor Cyrus Rod together with his wife, Robi Rod. (Photo by courtesy of Subject)

OPINION| By Pastor Cyrus Rod
 
A brother just sent me a question wondering whether we in the church should be judging people and here is my answer, a long one but worth the read. YES!
 
The person telling you, you should not judge is equally judging you. Judging is part of God’s image. “Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!” (1Corinthians 6:2-3).
 
Every matter on earth here among us brethren is considered Trivial i.e to be judged by us as we prepare to judge angels. Believers today are doing things that even cause non-believers to freeze and assume they are better off outside than inside. Why? No judging inside. Even in the Corinthian church, believers thought no one had a responsibility to judge! No wonder the level of carnal living was at its peak despite the spiritual gifts in operation. In fact a man had slept with his father’s wife and no one judged it.
 
We think the world can judge us as we run to the courts but we cannot judge among ourselves? The Apostle of grace was shocked that believers could not judge among themselves! They lived hypocritical lives like it is today among many of us.
 
“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”(1 Cor 5:12-13). 
 
How many times have you heard someone say, “You shouldn’t judge others!” This seems to be the standard response to anyone who raises an eyebrow over the non-spiritual actions of other believers. Of course, the next proof text taken out of context is usually Jesus’ remark, “You will be judged according to the standard by which you judge others.”
 
This is supposed to make us feel so inadequate and guilty in our own failures that we withdraw our complaints about the actions of others hence becoming impotent. But Paul would never agree! He just wants us to distinguish where we fulfill the biblical injunctive to examine the behavior of others.
 
According to Paul, The Apostle of Grace, we are to judge the behavior of those inside. Paul is talking about those in the church family. They are subject to examination. Why? Because everyone who follows Jesus adopts a code of conduct clearly articulated in God’s word. We know what God wants of His people because, unlike pagan gods, He tells us. Since we all know what He wants, it’s pretty easy to determine who is living according to His directions. “You shall know them by their fruits…” That is judging! To say you can’t judge is to say, you are ignorant of what God wants. Therefore, we are required to pay attention to the behaviors of the church family because we are all on the inside. 
 
However, this does not apply to those on the outside (non-believers). Those who do not follow faith in Christ Jesus, who do not claim Him as their Messiah and Lord, are not subject to our assessment of their adherence to God’s ways. They don’t claim allegiance to Jesus Christ. They don’t accept His directions. Therefore, we are not in a position to hold them accountable to a standard they don’t accept. That does not mean they are off the hook. We don’t judge them but God does! We can be silent witnesses by our actions, but God is the one who will bring His truth to bear on their lives.
 
What are we required to do? Clean the house from the inside! Judgment is appropriate, even necessary, if we on the inside are going to reflect the ways of our God. We carefully examine our own lives and the lives of those inside the church family in order that we might be pure before Him. He will do the rest.

Pr Cyrus Rod is the CEO and Founder of Cyrus Rod Ministries. He is also author of  Unlocking Marital Bliss’, a resourceful book on marriage.

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