I hear the phrase “Don’t judge” so often in our world and often out of the mouths of Christians. I am concerned that the enemy has confused this phrase and used it to silence many from speaking truth and has kept many from hearing truth, because the enemy knows truth will set us free.
I am so thankful for people in my life that saw sin in my life and loved me enough to point it out. In fact, I will go as far to say that the people who have said, “I love you but you are wrong” are the people who love me most and want the best for me. They want nothing to stand in the way of my relationship with God.
I guess they could have been worried that I would tell them to, “Stop judging me”, but I am so thankful that they knew the difference between judging to condemn (which a Christian is not to do) and a discerning judgment of fruit (which a Christian is to do). The father of all lies is skilled in taking the very words of God out of context. We have to recognize how often he does this today and has done so since the beginning of time as he questioned Eve in the garden, “Did God really say?” This is why it is so important for Christians to know God’s Word and to read it in context. Yes, God does say in Matthew 7 “Judge not that you be not judged”. Yet, He goes on to say in the very same chapter that we can “know them by their fruits” and that “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (v. 15-17). In this same chapter, God tells us we can judge a tree by its fruit. John McArthur (The Truth War) says “Scripture does clearly and consistently teach the primacy of right belief as the foundation of right behavior. In other words, righteous living is properly seen as a fruit of authentic faith and never the other way around”. McArthur emphatically pleads with Christians to know and speak truth and ignore the enemy who says you are “judging” when you do so.
God tells us to encourage one another to be followers of Christ and to mimic His behavior in every facet of our lives. God’s Word tells us how to live, and that we can know right and wrong in our lives and in the lives of others. McArthur says, “The idea that the Christian message should be kept pliable and ambiguous seems especially attractive to young people who are in tune with the culture and in love with the spirit of the age and can’t stand to have biblical truth applied with precision as a corrective to worldly lifestyles, unholy minds, and ungodly behavior. And the poison of this perspective is being increasingly injected into the evangelical church body.” Now more than ever we are to know truth and encourage others to know it as well (Titus 2).
But what if they call you a hypocrite? What if they point out sins they have seen you commit in the past? Get ready for it, but don’t let this fear stop you! When they call you a hypocrite, agree with them that you have indeed messed up. “Yes, I’ve sinned, but I always knew God was in my life because I felt guilty over my sin. But the times I have chosen to follow Jesus and not sin are the times I have felt such freedom. I just want that for you too. I want God’s best for you because I love you.”
We have to help others know what God says about how we are to live, “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to their debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting’ (Roman 1:28). McArthur says to, “Abandon a biblical definition of truth, and unrighteousness is the inescapable result. We see it happening before our eyes in every corner of society. In fact, the widespread acceptance of homosexuality, rebellion, and all forms of iniquity that we see in our society today is the verbatim fulfillment of what Romans 1 says always happens when a society denies and suppresses the essential connection between God and truth.”
This is hard stuff. This is “cling to Jesus with all you have stuff” but the consequences are huge. People we love are in bondage to misery-making sin. People we love do not know our Lord. The consequences are huge. Pray. Stay connected to God and trust Him to give you the words. Love them. Speak truth to them. Keep loving them when they call you a hypocrite. Keep speaking truth even in this hard world….because this world needs Jesus and eternity without Him is Hell.