Aren't Christians Commanded Not to Judge?


Aren't Christians commanded not to judge, and therefore we shouldn't judge homosexuals for their behavior?


0:05 So someone has asked me, "Are we as

0:07 Christians commanded not to judge and

0:10 therefore, we shouldn't make judgments

0:12 about homosexuals and their behavior?"

0:15 Well they're getting this particular

0:17 claim about judging from Matthew 7 which

0:21 of course is a very famous passage where

0:23 Jesus says, "Judge not lest you also be

0:27 judged."

0:28 Now of course, when you just hear that

0:30 particular verse, you think, "Oh yeah, Jesus

0:32 is saying 'don't judge,'" and so therefore, we

0:33 shouldn't judge. But as we say at Stand

0:35 to Reason, "never read a Bible verse." In

0:39 other words, never just read a verse on

0:40 its own.

0:41 Never try to figure out what it means on

0:43 its own. Always try to read the verses

0:44 before and after to figure out the

0:46 context because oftentimes, that will

0:48 clarify what is actually being said. And

0:52 so in this case, this is particularly

0:54 important. Because Jesus, in this passage,

0:56 says a lot more than just that. In fact, He

0:58 goes on to say this: He goes, "How can you

1:01 point out the speck of dust in your

1:03 brother's eye when you have a plank in

1:06 your own eye?" He goes on to say, "So

1:08 therefore, first take the plank out of

1:10 your own eye. Then you'll be able to see

1:12 the speck of dust in your brother's eye."

1:13 In other words, if you are guilty of

1:16 committing a moral crime yourself, how

1:19 can you then judge another person who's

1:21 guilty of that same crime, because this is a

1:23 hypocritical type of judgment. And this

1:25 is particularly what Jesus has in mind.

1:27 The command to "not judge lest you also

1:30 be judged" is a command to avoid

1:33 hypocritical types of judgment. In other

1:36 words, you should first stop doing that

1:38 thing is wrong before you can turn to

1:40 your brother and say, "Hey you too should

1:41 also stop it as well." So notice, this

1:45 statement, "judge not lest you also be

1:47 judged," is not a command by Jesus to not

1:51 judge, but rather, it's an explanation of

1:54 how to judge. And indeed, Jesus, and the

1:58 Apostle Paul, and other biblical authors

2:01 routinely make judgments about peoples'

2:04 behavior. So clearly, judging is permitted.

2:07 Just in that one particular case of

2:09 Matthew 7, Jesus is giving us some

2:11 explanation of how to

2:13 judge, not a command to not judge. Now, the

2:17 command to judge needs to be nuanced a

2:19 little bit more. And in first Corinthians

2:21 5, we see Paul give an example of this

2:24 type of nuance. So here Paul is writing to

2:27 the Corinthian church, and he's talking

2:28 about this person in the Church of

2:30 Corinth who's having sex with his

2:32 stepmother, which of course is not only a

2:35 sin, it's gross, okay? And so Paul tells

2:37 the Corinthians, "You need to judge this

2:39 person and expell them from the church."

2:42 And he writes this: He says, "I have

2:44 written to you not to associate with

2:46 sexually immoral people. Not at all meeting

2:49 the people of this world who are

2:50 sexually immoral. In that case, you'd have

2:52 to leave the world." So notice what Paul

2:55 is saying. He's saying, "Look, I'm not saying

2:57 to avoid and make judgments about

2:59 sexually immoral people who are of this

3:01 world, meaning non-Christians." He says, "If

3:04 you were to avoid those people and make

3:06 judgments about their behavior,

3:08 you'd have to leave the world. You'd

3:10 have to move to Mars because so many

3:12 people who are not Christians are

3:14 engaged in sexual immorality." And Paul

3:16 is saying, "Look, we can't expect

3:18 non-Christians to act like Christians. We

3:22 can't put family rules on those people

3:24 outside the family." And so for that

3:26 reason, Paul says, "Look, I'm not saying to

3:27 make judgments about these people or to

3:29 avoid relationships with them because of

3:32 your judgments regarding their behavior

3:33 because, again, they're just people of the

3:35 world.

3:36 So who is it that Paul then is saying

3:38 that we should make judgments about and

3:40 therefore avoid relationships with? It

3:42 continues to explain this in the very

3:43 next verse. He says, "But now I'm writing

3:45 to you not to associate with anyone who

3:48 bears the name of a brother (meaning

3:50 anyone who claims to be Christian)

3:52 who engages in sexual immorality." He says, "We

3:55 are not supposed to associate with that

3:56 person,

3:57 not even to eat with such a person." So

3:59 notice, Paul is saying don't make

4:02 judgments and avoid relationships with

4:04 non-Christians, but do that with

4:06 Christians. We're supposed to make

4:08 judgments about Christian behavior.

4:10 Why? Because if you have a Christian who

4:14 now falls under the jurisdiction of

4:15 Scripture, who's supposed to be following

4:17 the commands of what Jesus says, and

4:19 they're saying, "Look, I know what Jesus

4:21 says. I know the command of Scripture, but

4:23 I'm going to thumb my nose at them and

4:24 engage however I want to live."

4:27 Paul says, "This person is like a

4:29 cancer in the church." You just cannot

4:30 leave them to go in an unrepentant

4:32 manner within the church because

4:35 this will spread like a cancer. And paul

4:37 says, "You are supposed to judge that

4:38 person and then eventually, if they don't

4:41 listen to the judgment, if they don't

4:42 respond to your call to

4:44 repentance, then eventually we kick them

4:46 out of the church." Again, the intent is

4:48 not to get rid of them, the intent is to

4:50 call them back into repentance.

4:52 So notice, Paul's command to judge is

4:56 regarding we're supposed to judge

4:58 Christians, not non-Christians, especially

5:00 when it comes to sexual immorality. In fact,

5:03 to make himself clear, Paul restates this

5:05 principle in summary fashion in the

5:07 verse after that. He says, "What business

5:10 is that of mine to judge those outside

5:12 the church? You are supposed to judge

5:14 those within the church. God will judge

5:17 those outside the church." Now, am I saying

5:20 that we should never say anything about

5:22 homosexual behavior or say that it is

5:24 wrong?

5:24 No, not at all, okay? i'm not saying that.

5:26 Obviously, there're instances where I'm

5:28 having conversations with people, and the

5:30 subject of homosexuality comes up, and

5:32 they might ask me about my views, and

5:33 I'll tell them. I'll say, "Look, yeah, this is what

5:35 I think is what Scripture says, and since

5:38 I'm a follower of Jesus, and this is what

5:39 Jesus says about the nature of sexual

5:41 immorality, then I'm going to adopt Jesus'

5:43 view."

5:44 So I'm going to bring it up in those

5:45 situations. Or I might be talking about

5:47 the Gospel with someone, and the issue of

5:50 their particular sin might come up, and

5:53 perhaps one of their sins is homosexual

5:54 behavior amongst many other sins. And so,

5:57 we would bring that up and might talk about

5:59 the fact that yeah, this is a

6:01 particular behavior that violates

6:03 the commands of Scripture and the

6:05 commands of God. I'm not saying we would

6:07 never bring it up or never make

6:08 assessments about the behavior. Yeah, we

6:10 can say that that behavior is immoral.

6:12 But what Scripture seems to be saying is

6:14 that we're not supposed to be going

6:16 about our daily lives making it our

6:18 business to find out what non-Christians

6:20 are doing, their sinful behaviors, and

6:23 pointing out those sinful behaviors on a

6:24 regular basis. The Bible says no, if you

6:27 want to talk to non-Christians, talk

6:29 about the Gospel. Talk about the offer

6:31 that God is making them to be reconciled.

6:35 Yes, they have sinned, and of course we

6:36 can acknowledge that, but the main

6:39 message we should be communicating

6:40 is, even though they've sinned, even

6:42 though they've committed crimes against

6:43 God, they can be pardoned. That is the

6:45 message of reconciliation that God is

6:48 offering them, and that's the main

6:49 message we're supposed to be speaking about.

6:51 We're not trying to manage non-Christian

6:54 behavior.

6:54 Yes, we are supposed to

6:56 be managing Christian behavior because

6:58 within the body of Christ, that is Christ's

7:01 family. That is His church. And yes, we try

7:03 to manage that behavior. But when it

7:05 comes to non-Christians, we're not trying

7:07 to manage their behavior,

7:08 we're trying to proclaim the Gospel, the

7:11 message, that God has for them to be

7:13 reconciled to Him.

video |
Alan Shlemon