The Bible says that we should not judge others, because the same standard will be applied to us.
There are many, many passages in the New Testament about judgement. This may be the most quoted, and most misunderstood. The sense of judgement used here indicates a “cutting off” – a finality – that would prevent someone from being eligible for God’s grace. In a clear sense, in modern english – it says “Don’t write someone off, totally – such that you are no longer willing to “hope” for their salvation or repentance.”
In the world that we live in, we have been infected with a morally relativistic thought process. We are taught that all philosophies are equally valid, that all religions are equally true, that your way is as good as my way. That knowledge of absolute moral truth, is not a valid pursuit.
We confuse discernment and discrimination with judgement. Possibly because the English language is not very precise, and the word judge has so many variant meanings, but more likely because we have been infected with our own culture – we tend to confuse our assessment of an individual with respect to his actions and attitudes, with our acceptance of that individual on the basis of his positional relationship with Christ, and our hope in the applicability of God’s grace to that same individual.
God’s plan for those without relational standing, is that we, the church would be His emmisary, to bring hope. We have no reason to “write them off”, as sinners – because they are, “as we all once were”. We have no reason to “accept” them as brothers, because they do not currently share the same hope.
God’s plan for those with relational standing, but with ongoing sin issues – is humble, loving confrontation, repentance, and cleansing. We have no reason to “write them off”, until there has been confrontation. We have no reason to “write them off”, if they are not repentant – because we continue to have hope in the applicability of God’s grace. We have no reason to “write them off” if they continue to struggle after repentance – because they are “as we all are in some way”. If any of us Christians, claim to be living in victory – completely without struggle with sin, I would be concerned with their objectivity and integrity. The greatest saints have struggled – indeed only the Son of God walked this earth sinlessly. So if there is hope for them, then there is hope for all of us.
Interestingly enough, God’s plan for those with or without relational standing requires assessment. That assessment is experiential – based on words and deeds. In order to conduct the assessment, we need a working knowledge of moral truth, and that can only come from God Himself – in the form of His word; His Logos. This flies in the face of the current “tolerance” concept. This flies in the face of the current moral relativism that says – all religions are true, no religions are true. When we claim to know the truth, we are labeled as “fundamentalists”. But Jesus, Himself claimed to be The Truth. If we believe him, then we must claim to know “The Truth”.
There is a difference between knowing that someone is immoral, and writing him off. We are to know the truth, to assess based on word and deed, and to accept because of God’s grace, and our hope in God’s plan. When we lose hope for others, we have lost hope for ourselves as well.