DO NOT TURN YOUR BACK ON YOUR BROTHER
Leviticus 19: 17-18 "Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord."
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about these two words JUDGMENT AND DISCERNMENT (RIGHT JUDGMENT)…what they mean…what is right to be and do. As I have been reading I’ve tried to find a simple way to define and talk about each. In our world we so often shy away from saying things because we fear we will be judgmental. The scriptures talk about a right judgment. What does that mean to us as Christians? We certainly do not want to be someone that God does not want us to be; but the flip side is we want to be wise and discerning in our Christian walk. This is in no way a comprehensive look at these terms, but it is a beginning. It is my hope, as always, that I learn just what God expects of me. If I have misrepresented any of this information and anyone has a better answer I hope you will share it!
Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge or you will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” He goes on to talk about judging someone who has a speck in their eye when we have a plank in our own eye. This kind of judging is hypocritical! In this type of judgment we do not have command or example to do so. If we condemn a man for doing something we may be doing (refer to the speck and the plank) we bring condemnation on ourselves. Romans 2:1-3 “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” This is NOT saying we may not cast out the mote from a brother’s eye, but we are told to take the plank out of our own eye…it is only then that we can even see to take the speck out of our brother’s eye.
We see that there is, however, a righteous judgment spoken about it scripture. John 7:24 “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” What is this? It seems to contradict the other scriptures, but we know that can’t be…so just what IS a righteous judgment? This is a spiritual discernment. If I understand it correctly it means we are to take and learn the information God has for us and decide about what is right or wrong. This decision is healthy and good…it keeps us safe from false prophets and those who are evil in our midst. An example of this is found in Paul’s words to the church at Corinth in I Corinthians 5: 9-13; specifically the phrase in verse 11: “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” This is a right judgment.
There is a big difference between spiteful judging and spiritual discernment. We are commanded to use discernment; we are to distinguish between false things and true things. WHAT DO WE ACTUALLY DO ABOUT IT? Well, from my study thus far I can pull some other scripture into this. For the right judgment it is to keep the church free of those who live in sin and false prophets. We can see this in the scriptures above. (and many others we can find)
WHAT ABOUT THOSE OUTSIDE OF CHURCH? I keep thinking about scripture that talks about light and darkness. Sin is darkness. Read 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” This is a very clear statement about associating with those who practice darkness. I am not saying that we may not associate with those outside of Christianity, but we are to be careful that we do not conform to the world in these associations. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” The strength we gain to live Christian lives lies in our close associations with other Christians; we can gain strength for the battles of this world!
This is why it is so important to cultivate and correct and help to grow our associations with our Christian brothers and sisters, and why it is so important to find answers when things aren't right within our church body. It is WHY I felt a need to start this blog in the first place. When things are not right we need to discern and study and help one another in love!