Judging and Loving Others
There is a teaching in the Christian faith that judging is not love and that WE do not judge others, but that only God judges. I have witnessed several arguments such as "Judging is sin against God." Teachers are telling others that sin is between God and the person and that it is our duty to just LOVE. The excuse used is "We are all sinners and cannot judge another."
Love is edifying and encouraging, but is also warning and leading a person away from danger of sin, not just accepting it. The version I am hearing from Christians to not confront is actually apathetic to harmful behavior that may lead a person to sin and death and is more likened to the Law of Karma not to interfere. If you love your brother, you will also warn him of sin that you see him partaking.
What is going on, have we lost truth and righteousness for seeker sensitive feel-good doctrine? Have we accepted a different gospel? What has happened is many have not regarded the whole counsel of God in proper balance. They are dismissing portions in order to win over many. And in the meantime have watered down the truth of the Word. Love to them looks like an excusing of sin and a tolerance of behavior unpleasing to God.
One said, "Judgement is for God only" (Prov 25:21). REALLY? Some think that only God judges. But that is erroneous as believers have a place to judge as well. "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man" (1 Cor 2:15). And also, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). There is a balance in which we have to determine (judge) things. And we are told to do so when it is called for. Jesus said "You will know them by their fruit" (Matt 7). We are to discern when someone comes to us teaching with wrong intent. That implies JUDGING.
If one lets a brother sin, he is actually letting that person lead a life into sin. Are we not supposed to lead a brother FROM sin? That takes judging to determine that and we are to watch over our brother. Exhortation in correction is judging. So there is a proper place for judging. Many miss these simple principles in fear of wrongful judging, condemning, or hurting.
Many people have taken out the scriptures of judging to spare others of hurt and to show LOVE. But Prov 27:6 tells "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Love is not apathy letting a person off the hook in fear of being accused of JUDGING, love is caring enough to warn a person of danger. And it may hurt. We are salt of the earth that stings.
Some suggest that we only correct ONCE and then pray for them as we continue to love them with agape love and they will be corrected by God. That it is not for us to determine. The Bible states the conditions in that matter It tells that if a brother insists on a sin that needs correction and resists correction, do not keep company with that one (1 Cor 5). Separate from that brother to deliver such one to Satan (that he sees the depravity of his sin and be restored). A little leaven leavens the whole lump and the rest will be contaminated by letting sin go.
Matt 18 also gives conditions in which we must judge, and perhaps even bring it to the assembly if necessary. "[Mat 18:15] 15 "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother." BUT if he doesn't, he is excommunicated for a time. Not very loving according to the standards some interpret as love.
BUT WE MUST DO SO WITH PROPER INTENT
While we have certain duties of correction, many can judge with wrongful intent. We can point fingers when we should be looking at ourselves instead. The Bible states in certain conditions not to judge. When our heart is wrong, we shall not judge lest we also be judged (Matt 7). When you judge, you are condemning yourself because you are putting yourself also in the light (Rom 2). We shall not judge according to our own opinion or standard, but from God's. Which is why we say only God judges. It is through HIS standard, not ours.
Our judging shall not be for condemnation, but for restoration. Gal 6 tells that "If you see a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." We shall do so in gentleness and right intent lest we be tempted. We can fall into the same condemnation and must consider ourselves as well. And it could lead us to bitterness. Our intent should never lead us to bitterness, or we have something needing correction as well.
Perhaps many don't judge because they have something to hide that they don't want exposed in the process. Therefore they let another be excused that their lives are excused. But this is also wrong.
We shall always seek love. Love does not seek its own. Love is the only thing that does not fail. Never shall we "judge" for intent of condemnation. And we shall first judge ourselves of correct intent.
However, we do not go around pointing fingers looking at the worst in others deliberately either. But we DO love enough to spare them from danger. Some are appointed specifically to exhort, discern, and warn others according to the gifts. But maturity is necessary. When we do so in the Spirit of love and with self control, it is done in maturity (Gal 5:22).
Now when it comes to judging those outside the Kingdom, that is a different story. Our duty there is to make them aware of sinfulness against a holy God, but not expect them to have obedience to the law because we pointed it out. Even we cannot achieve that without the Spirit of God convicting us. The law is a tutor to bring them to awareness of violation against God so they have a chance to be redeemed. In that matter, judgement is of a different nature and for bringing those to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.