I love how life can often seem to swing things from one end of the spectrum to the other. Quickly! My last set of posts were addressing the issue of convictions - not only praying over our own, but trusting the Holy Spirit to speak to other Christians in certain areas. And understanding that my convictions are not always going to be everyone else's. It's not supposed to be that way. (Why am I going off on this again?) Back to the reason for writing today. I'm seeing more and more evidence that there's a clear lack of understanding with some Christian's that there's a difference between a brother or sister in Christ confronting sin in your life (&) someone simply being judgmental. I have a few thoughts about this and would love to hear your input.
First off, scripture makes it clear that if we call ourselves Christ-followers - if we claim the Spirit of God is living within us - we have opened ourselves up to the confrontation of sin in our life. Obviously our first desire should be that our life be rid of sin (Romans 6, 1 John 3). Along with that, scripture not only exhorts us (Hebrews 10) to "admonish one another", it even gives us clear instruction on HOW to approach and confront each other when sin has taken root (see Matthew 18:15-18). What kills me is when I hear someone, after being confronted over sin in their life, say, "Who are you to judge me?" or "Didn't Jesus say we aren't supposed to judge each other?" What this shows is not someone who's been immersed in scripture and being led by the Spirit, desperate to know the heart of God on in their life, but someone who's living in sin, possibly apathetic in their faith, and defensive from being called on it. There's a HUGE difference!
Jesus speaks clearly when He tells us in Matthew 7 that "with the judgment you pronounce, you will be judged". Understood. But admonishing and confronting a "Christ-follower" to stop walking in sin is not judgment: it's (supposed to be) a welcomed warning! And we're called to usher this warning to our brothers and sisters in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 5:12, Paul says, "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?" In other words, when a person within the body of Christ is living in sin, the body of Christ is called to confront the sin. (Paul actually even goes further with it and tells the Corinthians that if there isn't repentance, "Purge the evil person from among you!") How's that for judgment?
Here's the thing: As a follower of Jesus Christ, if there is ever anything in my life that even resembles sin, I want to know about it. Because I want to purge it from my life and get as far away from it as I possibly can. I want to constantly have a heart like David in Psalm 139 as he cries, "Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test my thoughts. See if there is ANYTHING offensive in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. And if my response to a brother (or brothers) in Christ coming to me in love (which takes a TON of courage, by the way!) to confront sin in my life is to defensively cry, "Who are you to judge me?", all this does is affirm it loud and clear. That's not humility and holiness talking. That's pride and apathy. That's sin.
Do you want biblical instruction, correction, and exhortation in your life? Do you welcome the warning? This is a question - as Christians - we have to answer.