3 things you should know before you judge your friends

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 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. “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.  (Matthew 7:1-6 ESV)

1. You will be Judged by the Same Standard you use with others (7:2)

It is easier to apply a stricter set of rules and regulations to others that it is to ourselves sometimes.  We see others faults much more clearly than our own.  We can be pretty harsh critics and most of us can be pretty good at fault-finding.  Think about this though, we should be expected to be judged for our faults to the same degree that we judge others.  I don’t know about you, but this makes me back off the need to be a harsh critic sometimes.

2. Sometimes the sin you see the most in others is the same sin you struggle with (7:4).

Ever notice how both the speck and the log were in the eye.  It’s easy to call out people who have sin in the same areas that we struggle.  This past week I have heard so many people condemn a girl about getting pregnant outside of marriage (don’t get me wrong… sex outside of marriage is a sin).  Though she is repentant she will feel shame for a while, her sin has become obvious to the world and is no longer private.  However, some of the people who seemed to take a perverse pleasure in her dilemma had requested help earlier for their struggle with pornography.  It’s easy to see in others the sin we struggle with.

3. It is difficult to do the right thing with the right motives (7:5).

It might be the right thing to lovingly confront a brother about his sin.  ( I would want to be confronted about mine.) However it can be difficult to do it in a way that glorifies God and does not promote your own ego.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .

People try to be righteous (right before God) in three different ways.

  1. Some try to do as much good as they can hoping God will overlook the bad things they have done.
  2. Some point out the flaws of others around them and say that since they are not as bad as others they must be okay.
  3. Some come to God knowing that there is nothing that they can do on their own and so they humbly trust in what Jesus Christ has done for them to save them.

The first group points to their deeds, the second points to their lack of bad deeds, the third points to Jesus Christ as a their source of Righteousness. Which group do you think is actually right before God?

When Church People do Bad Things

from-flikerSo here is the deal.  Most Wednesdays I teach and part of our strategy of discipleship is reteaching.  Which means that we challenge our students to take what they learn on a Wednesday and introduce it into conversation or get two or three of their friends together for a small groups Bible study using the Revelation Application Guide as teaching guide (its something we are working on and not a finished product).  So what better way to readdress the issues we discuss than to put up a blog post on Thursdays that highlights what we have learned on Wednesdays?

When Church People do Bad Things

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” – Matthew 18:15-17

It’s Not about You

One of the best things that can ever happen is for a believer to truly understand that it is not about being offended or hurt, but about individual relationships with God and each other.  Many times we are too easily offended because we love ourselves too much.  Self-love is not what should motivate us to seek out a right relationship with our brother in Christ, it is God-love.

For this reason it is important that that offended party (or the one who witnessed the brother in sin) go to him.  You should not wait for an apology before you attempt to reconcile with a Christian brother.  This models the way that Christ has come to us (Romans 5:8).

You Should Go Alone

It is not about you when someone has sinned against you.  It is about their relationship with God.  You should approach them about their offense in private in a way that makes much of God and minimizes your pride.  You should not use the world of social media (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc…) to defame the person who has offended you.  You should seek to reconcile things in the peaceful quiet of a one on one conversation.

The Goal is Restoration

The aim is to gently and persuasively pull your brother back into right relationship with Jesus Christ and others.    The gospel is preached and the drama of redemption is played out when we lovingly confront our brother’s sin for the purpose of restoration.  Real love does not allow sin to go unchecked but holds others accountable for the purpose of godliness.

I love my daughter and because I do I will prevent her from doing things that will cause her great harm and pain.  It is love to restrain and compel my three year old daughter that playing with knives is wrong.  It is hate to let her contently play with knives to the point that she causes serious harm to herself or others.  In the same way love compels us to reach out to our brother in sin and bring him back into the fold (Matthew 18:12-14).

. . . . . . .

Obviously there is a lot more to this passage that I have time for here.  We can pick up the debate about the later stages of this process later, but in the meantime check out some of the following passages that address this issue.

  • Matthew 7:1-7
  • Galatians 6:1-2
  • Romans 12:19