Saturday, February 21, 2015

Judging Others

Are church people too judgmental?  Do we have a responsibility to call out the sins of others?

Series: Love Your Neighbor

This is the first study in the series: Loving Your Neighbor
Series 1: Seeking God
Series 2: Loving Your Neighbor

How are the series related?

Mark 12: 28-31

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”

The two greatest commandments are: 1) Love God, and 2) love your neighbor.

  • series #1 was about seeking and loving God

  • this series is about loving your neighbor

Grace vs. Law

  • Law focuses on earning God’s love
  • How theology affects you
  • Number/letter grade vs. pass/fail
    • one test vs many
    • In school vs graduated
    • comparison and competition
  • Both are bad without teaching a relationship with God

Issues in the Church:
  • Grace without conviction
  • Law without love

Stages of Closeness to God:

Stage 1

  • Judgmental of what others are doing wrong

    • when you see these people you get negative feelings towards them

    • righteous indignation without love

    • often times this is a mask for our own guilt

  • Feeling unworthy of God’s Presence/Love

Stage 2

  • As you get closer to God you see how far you are from God and lose your focus on how far others are

  • Accepting God's love for yourself

Stage 3

  • Loving Others

    • Spreading God’s love to others

    • You no longer see people through their faults but you only see them with love

What Judging Others Says About You

Matthew 7: 1-5 (NIV)
7 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

  • What should you do before judging someone else?
  • What is the effect of having a plank in your eye?
    • You can't see well
  • In verse 37 when it says “you too will be judged” by whom will you be judged?
    • If we’re judged for something that means it’s not forgiven
    • Judging others will bring judgment upon ourselves  that would have otherwise been forgiven

Romans 2: 2-4
2 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
  • Which person will God judge?  ...the sinner or the judger?
    • both
  • What is supposed to lead sinners to repentance?


Jesus warns us that when we judge others with a hypocritical, judgmental attitude in order to tear others down, we too will be judged in the same way. We can have the tendency to point out the faults of others as a way of deflecting the faults that we see in ourselves. But when we have a plank in our eye, we are unable to see clearly. Since we have a distorted perspective, we need to walk in humility and leave the judging to God. Rather than speak ill about others or magnify their faults, we are called to examine our own motives and behavior and come to one another from a place of humility and love, never thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought.
The Pharisees and teachers of the law were concerned about following the rules above the actual people themselves. Jesus says that clean and unclean isn’t about whether or not you wash your hands before you eat or what kinds of food you eat. Our outward actions are not necessarily a true reflection of our inward heart. Our heart is what matters, who we are when no one is looking, is what matters to God. And it is God who changes us from the inside out. The words that come out of our mouth (and our actions) come from our heart. When our heart is unclean we have evil thoughts and actions, e.g. we speak against one another, and break relationship with one another and God. We are to watch our words and ask God and allow Him to change us from the inside out so that we can speak words of life and love to each other in word and in deed.
Our tendency to judge others reveals our own sinfulness, because we are often guilty of the same things that we are judging others for. Our judgment of others also reveals that we know something of God’s standards in our hearts. To judge someone for doing wrong can only happen if we know right and wrong ourselves. Thus when we judge others, we show that we know God’s standard. And when we fail to live up to it, we know that God is just in judging us. This is why it is only by God’s grace and mercy that we experience salvation and eternal life, there is nothing we can do on our own to save ourselves. When we acknowledge and recognize our sin and recognize God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience we are moved towards repentance (v. 4). When we withhold God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience from others we will experience His judgment (vv. 2-3, 5). Paul says that God gives to each person according to what they have done. So if we seek God’s kingdom we will receive it (v.7) but if we are self-seeking and reject God, we will experience His wrath (vv. 8-9). God does not show favoritism. He treats all of us equally including murderers, thieves, the hardworking, and influential. We are all in need of God’s grace and when we extend grace to others and walk in humility we model life in the kingdom.

What Effect Judging Others Has On The Body

Galatians 6:1-5
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load.
  • Who does Paul say should restore the person caught in sin?
  • Describe the effects of pride on our relationships with one another according to these verses?

Ephesians 4: 29 - 5:2
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
5 1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
  • List the things that should characterize our relationships with one another found in Galatians 6 and Ephesians 4?

James 4: 11-12
11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[d] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
  • When we judge others, what are we essentially saying about our relationship to God?
  • How are we able to go from quarreling with one another, to loving one another instead?


Being prideful is part of our human, fallen nature. It’s no surprise therefore to find Paul warning the Galatians against its appearance. When we sin (v.1), it’s a form of pride, i.e. the idea that I, not God, is who determines my attitudes and actions. But even we who would come alongside of our brother or sister needs to watch out that pride doesn’t take us down the same sinful path (v.1b). Pride has a way of over-inflating our opinions of ourselves (v.3). At the same time, we do need to be able to objectively recognize that God does use us for His purposes and we can then "take pride in [our]selves alone, without comparing [our]selves to someone else" (v.5).

This same passage in Galatians along with Ephesians 4:29-5:2 expresses various things that should characterize our relationships within the body of Christ: 1) restoring the sinful brother or sister gently, i.e. with consideration and not from a posture of superiority (Gal 6:1);  We should help bear the burdens of others, even carry them complete if possible for a while (Gal 6:2).  While we think about others, we also need to be mindful to carry our own load (Gal. 6:5); our words should encourage others and build them up (Eph. 4:29); we should practice compassion and forgiveness of others—Just as Christ does for us (Eph. 4:32).  We are to be “following God’s example…and walk in the way of love” (Eph. 5:1-2).  And here we see Paul’s reasoning behind his commands: to be like Christ, to follow His example, to fulfill “the law” to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.

"Don't judge me because I sin different than you do"

-Facebook Quote
  • If we all commit sin why would one person have the right to judge another?
  • Are some sins bigger than others?
  • When we people are judgmental they usually focus on 1 or 2 specific sins.  Why is that?

What Jesus Says About Judgment

Matt 25:35-46
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
  • What specific actions does Jesus point out as being important?
  • Are these the actions we usually judge people for not doing?

John 8: 2-11
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11 "No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
  • Who does Jesus say has the right to judge?
  • Do you think the woman will sin again?   Why or why not? 
  • What is more likely to deter someone from or judgment?
    • people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care
Mark 12: 28-31
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”
  • If these are the greatest commandments then what are the greatest sins?
  • Why do most judging people only judge on one or two sins?
    • why not loving God or loving one another?
  • Does judging others show love?

Why People Judge

  • out of concern that the sinner will stray from God
  • to correct the sinner
  • because they think they’re better than the sinner
  • to make themselves feel better
  • to justify themselves because they have conquered that area
  • because they don’t believe God loves them

A lot of people judge others by their actions and themselves by their intent

Judgmental people often feel that their actions are what causes God to love them, and possibly even that their actions are what saves them.  They don’t fully accept that God’s love and God’s salvation are unconditional and can’t be earned.
Righteous indignation is fine as long as it’s accompanied with love....if you hate the sin, but love the sinner.  Unfortunately, many times people use judgment as a way to appease their own guilt.

Final Thoughts

  • Intolerance: In many areas there is talk about tolerant people vs intolerant people.  I always find it interesting how intolerant the tolerant people are of the intolerant people.
    • Don’t judge the judgmental people for judging.
  • “Duke never beats Duke”
    • Satan may make people leave the church, but let’s not have them leave because of us.  
    • Our goal is safe and authentic fellowship
    • Let’s err on the side of love
  • Love = acceptance
    • You can't wait to love them after they change
    • Do you pray for the people you judge?

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