PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• As Christians who strive to follow God’s will and plan for our lives, we have a different standard of right and wrong than what is accepted by the world.
We have perceptions about what constitutes a godly life, and because of that, we walk on a delicate thread — a balancing act where it’s easy to trip and fall into a great big ‘ole vat of judging others.
We take our personal convictions we believe from Scripture and criticize others based on that.
Judging others, as opposed to Christian accountability, is, in my opinion, one of the greatest challenges Christians face.
Because there is a higher standard we hold.
But is it our place to judge?
We serve a loving, personal God who is the ultimate Judge and frankly, He doesn’t need our help.
Of course, the most infamous example in Scripture about judgment is found in John 8:1-11… the woman who was dragged out by a group of Pharisees who condemned her for adultery.
Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7).
One by one, the righteous-with-indignation crowd dropped their stones and walked away, knowing they had no right to punish her.
After everyone walked away, Jesus, the only one Who could have legitimately thrown a stone at this woman, said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?…Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:10b and 11b).
While God is never going to endorse sin, and it’s absolutely correct for us to agree with His point of view on it, there’s a marked difference between judging others to the point of criticism and holding one another accountable.
But that has to be handled delicately, and it has to be rooted in loving kindness.
And when we hold one another accountable, I’ve found that a deep and mutual trust is a key part of the process.
One of my favorite resources is GotQuestions.org.
In an article titled “What does the Bible mean that we are not to judge others?,” they listed five types of sinful judgment:
- Superficial judgment
- Hypocritical judgment
- Harsh, unforgiving judgment
- Self-Righteous judgment
- Untrue judgment.
I think these are pretty self-explanatory, but for more details, I encourage you to read the article.
So when is it appropriate to hold another Christian accountable?
Everyone is different but let’s think about this for a minute.
Of the billions of people who claim to be Christians in the world, we are all at different stages of maturity in our faith.
And we don’t know every situation or what goes on within someone’s mind, heart, or home.
That’s where approaching another in a loving way requires a bit of a relationship.
There’s no hard and fast answer.
It’s a matter of prayer and letting the Holy Spirit lead, rather than being led by our personal opinions and biases.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for the grace and mercy He shows to all of us.
All of us deserve the stone but by His love, He will not cast it on those who believe in Him.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will show you how and when to hold other Christians accountable without judgment.
And pray for the wisdom and humility needed when it’s your turn to be held accountable too.