10 Questions to Ask Before Judging
“Who are you to judge me?!”
This question makes the rounds frequently. On the blogosphere, in the twitter feed, pinned and posted, the message is blaring: “You have no right to judge me!”
And in one sense, I totally agree. I have no right to judge you.
If I am the authority of the universe I would have that right.
If I own the corner on truth, I would have that right.
If you came into existence because of my will and creative effort, I would have that right.
If my word was the final say, I would have that right.
If I were God, I would have that right.
But the fact is, I am not God, but God has spoken. He has given His judgment on matters of ethics and morality. He is the authority of the universe. He does own the corner on truth. We did come into existence because of His will and effort. His Word is the final say. And God has the right to judge.
In fact, God is the judge.
And He is a gracious judge.
God has provided us with His judgment through His Word. When Christians address moral issues, and make a “judgment” based on Scripture, we are not “judging” that individual on the basis of our own authority. Our judgment is delivered from the authority of God’s holy Word—not our own fallible word. Admittedly, we can mishandle His Word, we can misinterpret it, and muddy the delivery or misunderstand the context at times, but when we deliver clear Scriptural truth—that is God’s Word bringing judgment.
Jesus gave some pointed instruction as He warned us about judging others. He didn’t tell us not to deliver judgment, but He told us how to deliver judgment:
He gave these specific instructions to warn us that we’d better not confront someone else’s sin until we first deal with our own heart. This same instruction is repeated in the gospel of Luke. Later Jesus gave a process we refer to as “church discipline” where the first step involves confronting someone in their sin:
Hmmm . . . that sounds an awful lot like “judging” someone.
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he provides us with a bit of guidance in how we approach someone when we need to confront them and “deliver a message of judgment” (a word of truth from Scripture):
Paul’s instruction is helpful, it places a guiding principle for us to follow as we approach someone who is “caught” or entangled in a sinful lifestyle. Paul (as inspired by the Holy Spirit) warns us that we are in danger of falling into the snare of sin and we must be careful, watchful of our own hearts. Our motive in having this conversation must be restoration.
Some questions that might help with heart preparation before “delivering judgment” would be:
- Is my motive pure? Is my greatest concern spiritual deliverance or restoration?
- Am I approaching this issue as a self-righteous bigot or am I offering truth as one who is equally in need of God’s transforming grace?
- Am I more concerned about winning an argument for “morality” than I am concerned about my opponent’s need for salvation or spiritual growth?
- Am I prepared to give a biblical and gracious defense of my position?
- Am I addressing a truth issue or is this a “preference” issue?
- Is this the best time to have this conversation?
- Have I thoroughly prayed over this conversation?
- Am I reacting in pride or humility?
- Are my emotions sinfully involved with this issue?
- Can I convey love to my opponent as I deliver this message of truth?
Have you been slammed for issuing “judgment?” I hope you’ll run through the questions above when you’re tempted to confront someone. Jesus provides ample instruction for delivering the truth in love and when we fail to do that, we aren’t being faithful to love Him or others well.
What are your thoughts on “judging others?”
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Welcome! I’m glad you’re spending a few moments with me here. It is astounding to think that in this small corner of the blogger world, women from across the globe can experience the adventure of growing together in Christ. I never planned to grow up and be a blogger but writing blogs allows me to disciple more women than I would ever have opportunity to actually meet.
My reason for writing is that I have to. This driving impulse to communicate God’s reality and goodness to others is like a burning fire. Because of who He is, the desire for others to know and love Him consumes me. He is my passion and I don’t want to waste a single day, but cram each moment full of living all out for His glory. I long for the day when all will know that He alone is God.
Kimberly Wagner is married to her favorite pastor, LeRoy Wagner. Their children include Caleb and his wife Lindsey; Rachel and her husband Adam, and their daughter Teagan.
Kim’s passion is Christ, and she desires to ignite women’s pursuit of God’s glory. She is a frequent guest on the Revive Our Hearts radio program, as well as a regular contributor to the True Woman blog and the Beyond BathTime blog. Kim has written several devotionals and resource materials for women and loves encouraging women to become students of the Word.
A dream was realized when I attended the first True Woman Conference in 2008. I’ll never forget looking around at thousands of women, freely worshipping God together, embracing their calling as women, and thinking, He’s doing it, He is birthing this movement!
In the late 1990s my friend, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, gave me two books that made a significant impact on my life. True Woman by Susan Hunt and The Feminist Gospel (later revised and entitled The Feminist Mistake) by Mary Kassian. My eyes were opened to how the feminist philosophy has permeated our culture and what a loss we’ve experienced as a result.Read more