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Friday, August 16, 2013

The "J" Word (Insights)

Before reading these insights, please do the 
 The "J" Word Bible Study.

I'd love to have you answer my question at the end of this study too, but please answer after you've read my insights and the personal story I'm asking about. 

My question:
"I could have maintained my friendship by being disobedient to the Lord, but I think I did the right thing. What do you think?"
Bible Study Insights:

1. "Judge not" is found in Matthew 7, but that is only part of the message it contains. What is the full meaning of the passage? What type of judging is prohibited? What qualifies a person to judge others?

  • The "Do not judge" passage is about hypocritical judging, not judging in general. It prohibits a person from judging hypocritically.
  •  It gives the qualification for judging others in verse 5 "first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." 
  •  When we don't deal with our own sins, we see others sins from the wrong perspective like a bratty child who sees his mom as the problem.
  • But when we are appropriately judging ourselves, we will give others the same grace we give ourselves and hold them accountable to the same Biblical principles.
  •  Not only is the "Do not judge" phrase taken out of context of the passage, it's taken out of context of the entire chapter of Scripture because Matthew 7 has lots to say about judging:
  • Verse 6: warns us not to share sacred truths with people who will treat truth like a pig would treat pearls. This requires judging people. 
  •  Verse 13-14: says that most people will be unbelievers, therefore, it would follow that we need to judge the thinking of the majority (See Minority Rule), 
  •  1 Corinthians 5:11-12 is a good supplemental passage for this subject. (It's always good to use other passages of Scripture as your "commentary.") It says the church has a responsibility to judge immoral church members and we shouldn't associate with them. That requires judgement. See also: Titus 3:10 and 2 Corinthians 6:14.
  • Verse 15-20: warns of false prophets and tells us how to judge them--by their fruits (i.e. behavior, teaching, lifestyle, and the results their teaching has on others). 
  •  Verse 21-23: warns that there are ungodly people who deceitfully confess that Christ is their Lord. We aren't able to judge people's hearts, but we should certainly judge the advice of people in the church by Scripture. Some who advise us may not be Believers at all. 

2. How can we judge sin accurately? 

2 Timothy 2:16-17: We can't know right from wrong apart from God's Word and Spirit. God's Word is given so we can teach, rebuke, correct, and train ourselves and others. 

3. What added cautions does Galatians 6:1-10 give us?

Galatians 6:1-10: 
  • The word "gently" is a key (verse 1). Our methods are as important as our goal.
  • We should watch ourselves so we don't fall into the same sin or become self-righteous about our position of judging (verses 1-4). 
  • We should take sin seriously because God will punish it (verses 7-8). 
  •  After we judge, we should be willing to help the person overcome their sins (verse 9-10).

Summary: If we are genuinely judging ourselves and turning from our own sin, we are qualified to judge others, but only in appropriate ways. 

A Personal Story: Many years ago I had a friend who exhibited a pattern of self-pity and irresponsibility in her life. I felt we were close and genuine friends. We did things together and shared our hearts with each other. I had watched her children, cleaned her house, and prayed with her. I had also shared honestly about my own sins and asked for her prayers. 

Then I felt God prompting me to share with her that she was being disobedient in some areas of her life. I didn't want to do it, but I prayed for God's grace. One evening, I asked her to take a walk with me, and I told her I felt she needed to face some of her excuses and do the right things in some areas of her life. 

I encouraged her that she was able to do these things and would be more at peace if she did. 

She took it badly and I lost a friend; but years later, she wrote to tell me I had done the right thing. 

I know this isn't a "happy" story, but I think our biggest reason for refusing to judge and correct each other is fear of rejection or failure. And we need to leave those things up to the Lord. 

I could have maintained my friendship but I think I would have ignored the Lord to do so. What do you think?

Do we have a responsibility to others in the Body of Christ to judge and help them correct their sins?
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
Image source: Free Digital photos sippakorn 

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