What is with Christians being so judgmental and telling others to repent of their sins? Who are they to judge? Only God can judge me. Besides, Jesus said, “Judge not,” right?
Many people today like to throw around the line “Thou shalt not judge” as if it is one of the Ten Commandments, but the truth is that the Bible does not teach that we are never to judge.* On the contrary, the Bible says that a “spiritual” person--that is, a Christian--judges “all things” (1 Cor. 2:15) and that Christians will “judge the world” (1 Cor. 6:2). We are commanded by Jesus himself to judge righteously in John 7:24.
Leviticus 19:15 gives a good definition of righteous judgment: “You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.” Judging rightly means judging fairly, always based upon the standard of God’s word. It means rightly discerning between good and evil using the standard of God’s word and not our own biases. When you are committed to the word of God as your standard, you will “Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy” (Proverbs 31:9). Those who love Jesus are called to “hate evil” (Psalm 97:10) and to even “expose evil” (Ephesians 5:11). Jesus commanded his followers to love their neighbors and one of the ways they do this is to be like Jesus in warning their neighbors to flee from sin and to call them to repent.
From the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus preached “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). All throughout his ministry, he spoke about sin and called sinners to turn from their evil ways. He did this in love and yet often accompanied by the sting of a rebuke. Jesus rebuked the sin of his community including its leaders. He even rebuked his own followers. After Jesus arose from the grave and appeared to his disciples, one of the first things he did was to rebuke them of their unbelief (Mark 16:14). He pointed out their sin and called them to repent. Contrary to the picture that many make in their own mind, where Jesus goes along with whatever evil they want to do, the Jesus of the Bible spends a lot of time talking about sin and hell. Why does he do this? It is precisely because he is loving. Revelation 3:19 says “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” Because Jesus loves, he makes righteous judgments and calls out sin.
Sin destroys the body, mind, and soul of those who practice it. Our sins, no matter how small we think they are, will do great damage to us. Ultimately, they place us under the judgment of the almighty Holy God who will judge impartially those who continue in sin and refuse to repent and place their trust in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. In his earthly ministry, Jesus called sinners to repent and trust him so that they could be forgiven and not face the wrath of God that they deserve.
God will be the one who does the judging on Judgment Day and His judgment will be final. There will be no slick lawyer to defend you and no corrupt jury to let you go free. God will judge you in truth, according to your thoughts, words and deeds. That’s why saying, “Only God Can Judge Me,” is SO FOOLISH. Don’t you understand that God knows about all of your lustful and hateful thoughts? He knows about every time you’ve lied, been covetous, taken His name in vain, stolen, had sex outside of marriage, hated your neighbor and tried to cover it all up by twisting scripture. The fact that only God can and will issue FINAL JUDGMENT, is NOT a “comforting” thing. When people say, “Thou Shalt Not Judge,” they really mean, “Leave me alone and let me sin in peace!” But friend, your sin will only lead you to Hell. It would be hateful for those who love Christ not to warn you of your sin and to point you to the Savior.
Penn Jillette, a famous magician and atheist once remarked that he does not have respect for Christians who do not share the gospel. He said “how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” His comments fall right in line with scripture which says “Let your love be genuine. Hate Evil and Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9) and “You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him” (Leviticus 19:17).
Genuine Christian love will make right judgments about what is good and evil. Genuine Christian love will hate evil and therefore tell others to flee from sin and trust in Christ. Friend, you cannot cover up your sin with platitudes and excuses. You won’t be able to use the excuse that “Christians were judgmental” to cover up your sin before the just and holy God. But praise God, there is hope. Your sin is wicked, but God’s grace is greater than all your sin. Jesus, the one who rebuked sin and hated evil, in love sacrificed himself on the cross to take upon himself the penalty of the sins of those who love him. He was crucified and died, taking the full wrath of God that those sins deserved. He was judged in the place of those who trust him. After he died and was buried, he arose again from the dead in power. After being seen by up to 500 people, he ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God as Lord and King. If you will turn from your excuses and pitiful attempts to cover your own sin and trust him as your King, you can be forgiven and granted eternal life. You will be able stand at the judgment day, having passed from judgment into life.
*Now you may still be thinking, “but I know Jesus said ‘Judge not, that you be not judged.’” You’re right, he said this in Matthew 7. However, you must read the whole passage to know what he is talking about. Jesus was talking about hypocritical judgment. He was talking about a self-righteous attitude that results in judging someone without mercy for the very same things you do. A perfect example of this type of self-righteous hypocritical judgment is when those who refuse to repent of their sins come across a Christian preaching the truth and run up to them and judgmentally say “Judge Not.” If that is you, repent before it is too late.
(You can download a pdf of this as a tract by clicking on the reconstructing menu above and going to resources.)