I wonder if there is not a misunderstanding about the act of JUDGING the actions of ourselves, and other persons.
Very often we hear that we can not judge what someone has done as right or wrong because we are not to judge a matter. "Judge not that you be not judged," is the popular verse quoted. Matthew 7:1.
It is strange that the judging of good behaviors is a fine thing to do, while the judging of the wrong is not the thing to do.
We judge a persons activities for the honor of rewards, or advances in the work place. We grade and judge students for the accuracy of their work, and consequently, pass a judgment of the grade earned.
Do we not have a knee-jerk reaction to the word JUDGE when it comes to the unacceptable activities of people with whom we live in our homes and in our societies?
It then becomes the question of what are we intending in the evaluations that we make, which are called judging? Is it to contemn or to condemn?
The fact is that God has already judged sin as sin. In the Scriptures He has told us that stealing is a sin, lying is a sin, adultery is a sin, all kinds of promiscuous sexual activity is sin, mistreating the helpless is sin, and a host of other things that are common to the activities of mankind. God has already judged these things as sin and we are to agree with Him.
So then again, it does become the question of what our intentions are in the recognizing of sin in ourselves and in other persons.
I think it is noteworthy that when we find a sin in ourselves, the action we are to take is to separate ourselves from it. We are to disdain it, to despise it, to cast it off, and to call it what it is, a wrong thing, a sin. We contemn the act. Likewise, when we see another person doing the things that God has already called wrong, or a sin, we are to conTemn it, not to conDemn the person.
It is correct that God has warned us about condemning people. We are not qualified to judge the person, or to pass a judgment on them regarding the punishment they deserve, for only God knows the heart and the reasons behind the actions of people. Only God is qualified to judge and to pass a sentence upon anyone.
In Psalms 15, the question is asked by David, speaking to the Lord,.. "Who shall abide in Thy tabernacle, who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?" There is a list of things mentioned in that Psalm about the holy and righteous way to live. Verse 4 offers this as one of the qualifications: a person in whose eyes a vile person is contemned, but he honors them that fear the Lord.
In many other texts of Scripture, we are told to separate ourselves from those who are engaging in sinful practices, especially if they are of the ‘household of faith.’ Naturally, we do not separate ourselves, as in pull our robes tightly around us so as not to be touched by sinners, but we do not engage in their sinful activities with them, neither do we give condoning license to their acts, which God calls sin. Those of the household of faith are to be corrected, in love by the leadership of the assembly, according to Paul’s instructions.
We are to say what God says, and if God has already judged a thing as sin, it is o.k. if we say that thing is a sin.
So it is correct that we do not conDemn. It is correct that we conTemn.
In Strong’s Concordance, the word condemn carries the meaning of passing a judgment and a sentence upon. While the word contemn carries the meaning of avoidance of, to despise, to disdain.