This is a very important topic because a lot of people have a misunderstanding of scripture. Some believe that scripture gives us the authority to pass judgment on everyone and everything, while others believe that no one should judge anything or anyone. We should just live and let live. Is one or the other right, or is there a middle ground?
We are going to see what scripture has to say.
People will often use this historical event of the woman who was brought to Jesus for stoning because she was found in adultery, and will repeat what Christ had said, “You without sin, cast the first stone.” This is a favorite go to when Christians are speaking out NOT against the evil doers, but the evil that people do. (John 8:3-11)
The religious leaders had brought a woman to Yeshua who had been caught in the act of adultery and reminded him that Moses had commanded that such should be stoned, then they asked Christ what he says. Christ Yeshua knelt down and started writing in the sand and acted as if he did not hear them, so they persisted with him on the matter as to what he thought should be done to her. He finally stood up and said, “You without sin, cast the first stone”. Then he knelt back down and continued writing in the sand.
These words convicted the religious leaders in their hearts and they slowly dispersed without casting a stone. When Christ looked up, it was just him and the woman and he asked, “Where are your accusers, has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No man, Lord.” He then said to her, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”.
There was no one there who fit into that category because scripture also tells us that, “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.
Now the whole irony of this ordeal is that the very one who was worthy to cast the first stone did not see fit to put her to death, but instead gave her mercy and forgiveness. Christ did acknowledge that what she did was wrong when he gave her a firm commandment to go her way and not do it again.
No where in scripture did Christ speak against these religious rulers calling sin out. What he took issue with is that they sought to condemn the woman for her sin. Condemn in this passage is from the word “katakrino” and it is means to punish. Again, if Christ took no issue with her deed then he would not have told the adulterous woman to not do it anymore.
DO NOT JUDGE
In Matt 7:1-5 we read, “Judge not lest you be not judged; for with what judgment you judge, you will be judged: and with what measure you mete, it will be measured back unto you”. This is often used to tell people that we should never judge anything. Even the things that scripture specifically tells us to judge in order to protect our own walk and to be able to identify the wolves among the sheep; such as a person's fruit. Some even take this so far out of context as to say that agreeing with what scripture says is judging. This is a far cry from what is being said.
If we continue reading, we see that Jesus also says, “How can you behold the mote that is in your brothers eye and don't consider the beam in your eye? How can you say to your brother, let me pull the mote out of your eye, when you have a beam in your own eye?”
He continues in verse 5, “YOU HYPOCRITE, first cast the beam out of your own eye, so that you can see clearly to cast the mote out of your brother's eye.” This teaching is saying that we will be judged by the same standards in which we judge others by, so be mindful that you do not judge with hypocrisy.
There are many scriptures that tell us to judge but to judge righteously. Proverbs 31:19, speak up and judge fairly. Galatians 6:1-6 speaks about someone being caught in sin and them being gently restored. How can they be caught in sin, if the sin is not judged as unrighteous?
We see under the new covenant in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 that there was a man who was sleeping with his father's wife. The church was to judge this man's actions and put him from them, because if they did not then sin would spread. Paul stated that man judges the sins of people within the church, but God judges those without. Thereby pushing this guy out, his judgment would be with God that his soul might be saved.
We can see many scriptures that speaks about keeping one another accountable that we continue on the straight path. (Proverbs 27:17; James 5:16-20; Matthew 18:15-17; Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12; Luke 17:3, just to list some)
Let's look at some of the teachings Yeshua gave on hypocrisy. In Matthew 6:1-4, Yeshua is telling the people to not do good deeds to be seen of men. In today's world we could say, don't go feed a homeless person and videotape yourself doing it; and then place it on social media to be seen of men. He calls these people who do this hypocrites, because they are not doing it to be kind, but to be seen and praised by others.
In verse 2, “Therefore when you do your alms, do not sound a trumpet before yourselves, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.”
Then for verses 5-18, Yeshua is talking about praying and in verse 5, he says that the hypocrites will pray where everyone can see them. Now this does not mean that you cannot pray in the open. This is referring to a heart issue, because the main reason these people are praying in the open is to be seen and heard of men. So that people will say what great and mighty men of God they are, because they seen and heard them praying.
He also tells us how to pray and that IF we do not forgive others then God will not forgive us.
We can also look at Matt 23, Jesus is scolding the religious leaders for being hypocrites. Jesus starts this chapter off by telling people to do as the religious leaders say, but not as they do because their words are more righteous than their deeds.
NOT CHRIST LIKE.. 1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Often times in churches, chats, forums, the news, social media, or anywhere else you go as a Christian, you hear people saying that you can't hurt people's feelings or offend them with the truth or historical facts, because it is not Christ-like.
I have often wondered what Jesus they have been taught. We see several times that the Jesus of the scriptures did not care who got offended by the truth, he still told it.
Keep in mind that all scripture is God breathed and God inspired, and that Christ had the authority to pass certain judgments that we do not. I am only listing these things to show you that the cozy snuggly god of the world is not the God of the Bible.
1. Malachi 2 where God is scolding the people for the lame and sick sacrifices they are putting on the altar. In verse 3, he literally tells them that he is gonna smear poop all over their faces.
2. John 8:42-44, Jesus tells the unbelieving Jews that the devil is their father. But he don't stop there, he continues to list off the devil's characteristics and lets them know that its those characteristics in them that makes the devil their father.
3. Jesus offended the religious leaders when in Matt 15:1-20, Jesus' disciples did not wash their hands. It was custom to do so, but Jesus told them they did not get that from God and that it is not what enters a man that defiles him but what comes out of him.
4. John 2:13-25, Jesus goes into the temple and throws a fit, flipping over tables, because they were making his Father's house a den of thieves. In Matt 21:12-17, Jesus does nearly the same thing but the whips come out.
5. John 8:52-58, did Jesus really have to anger the unbelieving Jews with his reply of “Before Abraham was, I am”. Probably not, but their questions lead to the truth, so he spoke it without guilt, remorse, or shame.
Today when people tell the truth of what God's word says, they are labeled as having a phobia or as being a hater because someone got all mixed up in their emotions and was offended by the truth. The fear of God is dwindling in the hearts of those who are falling away, as we march forward to the soon return of Christ.
6. There were many times after healing someone or casting out a spirit that Christ would tell people to go their way and sin no more. One in particular we find mentioned in John 5, he not only told him to go his way and sin no more but added, “lest something worse come upon you.”
THINGS WE SHOULD NOT JUDGE
1. People Outside the Body: God alone will deal with them. They are not part of the family household, they belong to another. Yet, we should minister to them in hopes that they too will join the body of Christ. We can judge whether or not a person's fruits would be a stumbling block for us. We can see sin and agree with scripture that sin is wrong, and there is nothing malicious with fighting for our legal systems to be moral and righteous, as well.
God is the only one who has the authority to destroy both body and soul in hell. (see Matthew 10:28) Where we may see the actions of men, God sees the heart of man. What we think another's intentions are and what God sees in the heart, could be as different as night and day..
2. Decide a person's destination: We are to never ever tell someone that they are going to hell or that God doesn't love them. Instead, if they are a brother, we should try to minister to them in a way to restore them. If they are not, then we should minister Christ crucified. If they believe and repent, then we have gained a body member, if they do not, then we should walk away. God will judge them.
3. A person's salvation: Again, we cannot see the heart of a person. We do not know what their relationship is with God. We do not see how many times they enter their prayer closet to plead for mercy. We do not know what they do or say in secret.
4. A person's appearance or social status: In James chapter 2, we read how we ought not to be a respecter of persons but to love all equally. Scripture says this kind of bias towards another is sin.
5. Someone of another Religion: We can judge the doctrines that they believe/teach, but we cannot judge them, and yes, there is a difference. Instead, we are encouraged to pray for them, that they see the error in their ways and repent. Whether it be witchcraft, idol worship, or some other form of paganism.
With those within the body of Christ, we should act as a protective sibling who is trying to keep our other sibling out of trouble by directing them to do better and escape punishment. We should be very careful and always examine ourselves for pride because pride can be very sneaky and subtle.
While the road in through the straight and narrow may have been described many times as a race, it's not a race where you destroy others who are also seeking to enter in through the straight and narrow. This is a race where you try to take as many across the finish line with you as possible.
SUMMING IT UP
Though Christ did not offend with thought, malice, or pride; he did offend deeply with truth. What Christ taught, he taught among the crowds of unbelievers, believers, self-righteous leaders, hypocrites, and the like. He did not change his wording and have separate meetings for each group, so he would not offend them.
Some will claim that you are judging them when they hear scripture, but if one feels judged by the hearing of scripture, it is not you that judges them but it is the word of God. There are two types of people that are offended by the word of God: those who are being planted with a seed, and those who are comfortable with the god they have created to fit their life. We see in 2 Corinthians 11:4 warns of those preaching another Christ.
God's word means what it says and should not be changed or corrupted to coddle those in the world who may become offended. The offense of the world through God's spoken word is the reason why many believers over the past two thousand years have been martyred. Christ did say that the world will hate us because we are not of it, but that it hated him first. (see John 15:18-19)
Matthew 10:16, we are told that we are being sent as sheep among wolves and we should be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We know that wolves are an enemy of sheep because wolves will kill and devour sheep.
Matthew 10:11-15, we are told that if someone will not hear the gospel to shake the dust from our feet.
In Matthew 5:13-16, we are told to be the salt of the earth and not to hide our light. That light is Christ. And when we think about salt, it preserves, it is used for flavor, and it creates a thirst. So we should let our light shine through preserving the gospel, letting people get a taste of Christ through the life we live in him. We each need to learn how to minister to the lost and be ready to give an account for our faith.
God will judge those outside of the body of Christ. We judge those that are in the body of Christ, so that no one becomes a snare and leads us astray, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14. (the original word in 1 Corinthians means to separate, decree, resolve, or govern)
1 Corinthians 11:28, we are told to examine ourselves. In 1 John 3:19-21, we are told that it is a good thing when our hearts condemn us. We must always examine our motives, because yes, God knows our hearts and nothing is hidden from Him.
The fact that someone gets offended does not mean that you are doing something wrong. Hundreds of thousands have been martyred before us because people were offended by the written word of God.
The gospel is strictly for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. God will not force anyone to love Him or to accept Christ. That is 100% up to every individual. Its called free will. So choose who you will serve and I pray that you choose wisely.