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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Do Not Judge (1 Corinthians 5)

Did you know that the Bible tells us not to judge? I will confess that I have messed up on this and had to both repent of it and apologize for it. But the question we want to ask is, "Is 'Do Not Judge' a blanket command?" Does the Bible say do not EVER judge?

The short answer is: no the Bible does NOT say, do not EVER judge.

It's ironic that even the concept of "judging" has been taken out of context and twisted to the extreme in our world today.

In fact, the first 3 words of a single sentence Jesus spoke have been plucked out and then taken to mean we are not to EVER judge:

Matthew 7:1 Do not judge ..

But common sense says we need to ask a few more questions:

  • What was the rest of the sentence?

  • Who was Jesus talking to?

  • Why did Jesus say this and what else was said?

When we ask those questions and look at the rest of the sentence and the context of the passage, we see what Jesus was really saying was don't judge hypocritically. In other words, don't judge with a critical, fault-finding mindset. That's why in verse 5, Jesus goes on to say:

Matthew 7:5 "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."

Note Jesus is talking to His followers about not judging hypocritically and then helping each other, "your brother," to not sin.

"Your brother" is the context of 1 Corinthians 5 and I think where we as followers of Jesus can easily just get it wrong:

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 [12] It is NOT my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. [13] God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

As followers of Jesus it is not our responsibility to judge those who are not also followers of Jesus, even those who are in our own family, and even those who may attend our church. Our purpose in this world is to share the message of love and salvation with those who do not know Jesus, not judge them.

But within the body of Christ, we are to hold each other accountable and help each other keep leaning into Jesus. That's done with a loving embrace, not with a wagging finger. A wagging finger will never help anyone want to repent and turn to Jesus.

What I get from this is, if I love God I am going to obey His commandments. Obeying means loving others, sharing His message of salvation, and helping others see how to draw close to Jesus through His Word. When I see other "brothers" (those who have committed their life to following Jesus) stumbling, I need to lovingly go after them, offer them a hand to get back up, and lean into Jesus again.

But to those who have not committed their lives to following Jesus, inside or outside my family, and even if they "attend" my church, I just need to keep showing them love and sharing Jesus and His Word with them, when they give me opportunity.

Dear Lord, It's hard to get "judging" right. We just seem to naturally fixate on the sins that others struggle with which are different than our own. But You have not called us to be the judge. You have called us to be the messenger of your Light and your Love. Lord please do a work in my heart so that both inside and outside the church, and both inside and outside of my family, everyone you put in my path sees your Light and your Love so that they will be drawn to You. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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