I can remember a time not too long ago in my Christian life in which I judged other Christians or people that claimed to be Christian. Somehow I fell into the lie that I was a little holier, and cleaner than the person. It could be anything from their choice of entertainment to how they dressed or even how they acted at church. It took some serious humbling to embrace fully what Jesus talked about in regards to judging others. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus addresses the issue.
1“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, 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. – Matthew 7:1-5
It is always easier to look at others, and place them against our set of rules and regulations for what a good Christian or even person should be. Jesus called them hypocrites because in reality we are all guilty of sin. Jesus wants us to look at ourselves first, because we need to be right with God before we can go around telling people there flaws. You can’t tell someone to take the speck out of their eye when there is a 2×4 sticking out of yours. I could easily admit I was not perfect and had issues, but it was not until I seriously looked inward and had God deal with me about those issues that I realized I was no better than the people I judged.
Paul talked further about this in Romans 2.
2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
Did you hear that? When we judge we condemn ourselves because only God is the Righteous Judge of man. In Christ I not the person I used to be, but I can see what I have done and failed to do. It is by the grace of God alone that I am saved. Jesus died for sinful man, not clean and polished got it all together man. His amazing love for us was at our worst! For this reason alone love should flow to others at their worst or when they are the complete opposite of what we consider good or right.
One thing I have realized is that people are all at different levels of spiritual maturity, whether they have known Jesus for 1 week or 10 years. While there are times to use the bible to teaching, for reproof, for correction (2 Timothy 3:16), it should always be motivated by love for the person to build them up, and not tear them down.