Do you know the difference between a ‘warning’ and a ‘judgment’? Well, as Christians, this is extremely important for us to know, so here ya go:
Judgment: To form an opinion or evaluation. To act or decide as a judge. To form an opinion or estimation of after careful consideration
Warning: An intimation, threat, or sign of impending danger or evil. Advice to beware. Counsel to desist from a specified undesirable course of action. A cautionary or deterrent example.
We all hear it all the time, how we shouldn’t be ‘judging’ people. And that’s true, we shouldn’t judge them. Judgment will come soon enough for everyone at the Almighty Seat of God. But there seems to be a great misuse of the word ‘judging’ today. When we are born again Christians and live for our God, we are to uphold His guidelines and His Word to its fullest. Walking on His straight and narrow path, living honestly in the repentance we have claimed, striving to be Christ-like in all we do; these are just a few of the requirements God asks of us. And when we have changed our lives for Him, we have accepted Christ as our Saviour and we have the Holy Spirit residing within us, we find ourselves wanting and longing to live righteously and the things of the world no longer have a hold on us.
Here is where the misuse of the word ‘judging’ comes in. When we see fellow Christians sliding off the track of God’s Holy Word we will usually tell them they need to get back on track and what they are doing is not according to the Bible. And then we are blasted with scolding for judging them. “Who are you to judge me!! You have no right to judge me, you are not God!” How many of you have heard something along these lines before?
The Lord has spoken clearly and plainly in the Bible that we are to show fellow Christians their error when walking God’s path. It is not in judgment as they think it is, this is a warning given to them of their crooked paths they have slipped onto. People scream out ‘you’re judging’ me so quickly because they have conviction within them and already know their wrong doings. They just don’t want someone else to tell them about it. It’s a pride thing with humans. No one likes to be told something they are doing is wrong, no matter what it is. Humans are just naturally prideful, some are just more than others. And this pride problem is where some Christians do become judgmental. They judge, convict and set punishment as if God is able to do the job Himself. This kind of self-righteous and prideful way is not what God has asked us to do. Besides, God doesn’t need our help in doing anything, He is quite capable of sitting in the Judgment Seat on His Own.
We are to warn and explain their wrong in a compassionate way, but at the same time we need to be strong in what we say. We cannot cross that line of being the almighty judge on our own. We must instead think of it this way, this fellow believer has taken their eyes of God for the moment and if they don’t stop now, it could cause them to fall further away from Him until they are completely in the dark. This can also cause their eternal life to turn to a forever death. Their soul is on the line and with us striving to be Christ-like, we should care about this person’s soul as much as Christ does.
The other part of this duty we have to warn is that ‘our’ soul is also on the line. If we see fellow Christians falling into iniquity and we know they are not following the Word of God it is our duty as spoken by God Himself, to warn them as such. If we just walk on by and ignore their error, our own soul will be held accountable for willingly not warning them. If you are unsure about how to tell someone of their sins, go to the Lord in prayer before you approach them. Ask Him to help you warn them rather than judge them and he will guide your words. It is then up to them to listen or not listen. You will have done your part and that is all you can do. There will be those who will take on the “you’re judging me” excuse, so don’t be discouraged. Just leave it alone, you have given them the loving warning as God has asked of you. The rest is between them and God.
Just be very sure you are not being a judge into their lives, and instead that you have absolute grounds to stand to give warning. By this I mean, make sure they are definitely NOT following God and are instead doing as they wish and following the world. And remember, God is not of the world and the world is not of God. We cannot have two masters. We must choose the world as our master, or God as our Master. And if we choose God, He has given us instructions and guidelines to follow, He didn’t just write them down in the Bible to take up space in the Holy Book, He meant for us to follow them completely. And never forget, He has told us He is a jealous God, so he will not tolerate us sneaking around with the other master.
If you think this I am wrong in what I say about giving warning to fellow believers, then you should take a close look at this scripture from the Word of God:
“Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.” -Ezekiel 3:20-21