“AND [Jesus] said to His disciples, Temptations (snares, traps set to entice to sin) are sure to come, but woe to him by or through whom they come” (Luke 17:1–Amplified Bible).
“Pay attention and always be on your guard [looking out for one another]. If your brother sins (misses the mark), solemnly tell him so and reprove him, and if he repents (feels sorry for having sinned), forgive him. And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled)” (Luke 17:3-4).
BREAKING THE CHAINS IN LOVE
Paul said to Timothy, “Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are WRONG.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2–Amplified Bible).
Paul also said to the believers in Rome, “I have been persuaded about you my brethren, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to warn one another (about sins).”
We now come to a subject matter both completely misunderstood; despised by very many people and in the churches. It’s the Scriptural directive to judge one another.
Biblical judgement includes the full range of correction, warning or gentle reproof, admonishing and confuting strong vehement rebuking. All of these ways of ‘judging one another’ are commanded in the Word of God for all who are Christians. It is part and parcel of the way of God and the holiness of God.
“JUDGE NOT, SO YOU WILL NOT BE JUDGED”
The above verse is the most quoted verse in the Bible. If this is so, it wouldn’t be surprising. Because rejecting Scriptural correction is one of the most constantly held positions of people–held by non-churched and church people alike. Nevertheless, this is one of the most misinterpreted declarations of Jesus in the Bible. People are accused of being “holier than thou” or “judgemental“. These statements reveal an attitude of discrimination on the part of the accusers, contrary to the workings of God. It is pure prejudice and error to presume a believer, who is obeying the Word of God by correcting someone who’s wrong. That’s because in order to establish error on the part of the reprover. there must be irrefutable proof he/she is correcting from human or fleshly motives.
ACCORDING TO THE WORD…
In the book of Proverbs, “For the commandment is a lamp, and the whole teaching [of the law] is light, and reproofs of discipline are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23).
Scriptures reveal that everyone is born into sin (Romans 5:12), shaped by iniquity. Apart from being born again, no one can do anything good! When God redeems someone, the rest of that person’s entire life is a journey of reconciliation to God. God is holy and restores all the redeemed people to His holiness. This is why reproofs for discipline is “the way of life.”
THEIR NEW WAYS OF REDEMPTION
These new lives are ruled by the ways of discipline of the Holy Spirit. Saved humanity must be taught how to live in holiness. That’s why reproofs for discipline are the way of life. From the time that anyone is born of God, they live the rest of their lives in the instruction of the Word of God. The Word that gives knowledge in how to believe and obey God.
Jesus summarizes it by saying, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” All commandments of God are instructive, corrective, always declaring what must be done, what not be done to please God. Because of these truths, everyone who will live with God must be instructed and corrected by Him. Because of this, anyone who says that he/she is a “believer”, resisting this process, the only process, is lacking understanding of the seminal truth. Reproofs for discipline are the way of life.
SEARCHING OTHER SCRIPTURES OF PROOF
“For the time [has arrived] for judgement to begin with the household of God” (1 Peter 4:17–Amplified Bible).
For what purpose does judgement begin? With believers in the household of God. It is for purification to prevent judgement. According to the apostle Paul, all will be judged concerning their good and bad deeds!
For those who are disciplined, under the present judgment of God by His Word and through His people, the judgement is refining; producing good works recompensed with good rewards. For those who resist the discipline of God in His word, through His people, it comes also with recompense of evil works with condemnation.
Submitting or subjecting yourselves to others believers in Christ seems hard to swallow; selfishness is the real problem, not submitting. Ephesians 5:21 gives us out motivation in subjecting ourselves to one another:
“Be subject to one another out of the reverence for Christ.”
In a parallel Letter to another assembly of believers, Paul said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing in grace in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16). This is transcendent to the very songs of Scripture that believers sing to one another among other uplifting things. There is admonishment. The very high place of joy in singing, characterizing the lives of believers is commanded so that, by being taught and corrected by its expression, we can be filled with the Spirit.
THE MINDSET OF THE “HAUGHTY” — TO BECOME LIKE CHILDREN
HAUGHTY, that’s a word you don’t hear mentioned very often. The New Roget’s Thesaurus gives us synonyms that are probably more familiar in todays vernacular: “prideful, arrogant, uppity” to name a few. The mindset of the haughty is far removed, will not be corrected by others but will find fault with Christians who seek this rich way of refining (loving) one another in obedience to Christ.
Jesus makes it very clear! “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Children’s attributes are receptive in humility. They’re examples of those receiving teaching and correction; they are not “haughty”. They humbly submit to admonition, it’s a constant characteristic. It’s a constant counterpart commandment to their fathers.
Our children were brought up in the same ways that Dianne and I were raised; respecting the correction from our parents in teaching and reproof. If you have a teenager living at home, you might be experiencing “rebellion”, which comes from selfishness, not from his/her parents.
This brings us directly back to the subject. Jesus said through Paul, “Fathers, nurture your children in discipline and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
The discipline of correction or reproving and being reproved is just as fundamental to Christians as prayer, love, faithfulness, repentance and holiness [the part of “the ways and woof” of Christianity]. Paul made this summing statement in how believers must live: “Brethren, if anyone is overtaken in some transgression you being spiritual, restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” The word “restore” when translated means, “to make complete, to repair, to put in order.” “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be made complete for every good work.”
EXAMINING “JUDGE NOT, SO YOU WILL NOT BE JUDGED“
Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 7 and look closely to what Jesus is saying: “DO NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you. Why do you stare from without at the very small particle that is in your brother’s eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me get the tiny particle out of your eye, when there is the beam of timber in your own eye? You hypocrite, first get the beam of timber out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the tiny particle out of your brother’s eye. Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matt. 7:1-6–Amplified Bible).
This teaching in Matthew and the one in Luke has nothing to do with admonishing, correcting, or reproving others! Rather, it has everything to do with fulfilling the love of God toward men. What Jesus is teaching is not to judge someone unworthy of your love; do not judge someone unworthy of your acts of loving kindness and, therefore, hold back deeds of mercy from him. That and that alone is the meaning of these Scriptures!
WHAT THE CHURCHES HAVE DONE TO THIS TEACHING
What the churches have done is what they can do to everything else in Scriptures regarding their interpretation. Buried in the true meaning of the Word under layers and layers of thickly applied doctrine of men.
The clear meaning of these Scriptures–Christians are not to sit in judgement over people who are in need, regarding that need, but rather are to meet it! By reading for yourself Matthew Chapter 6 first, then reading the quoted verses in Matthew 7, keeps the meaning in context.
Jesus adds clarifying statements to the command, “do not judge…”:
“Judge not [neither pronouncing judgement nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released. Give, and [gifts] will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will they pour into [the pouched form by] the bosom [of your robe and used as a bag]. For the measure you deal out [with the measure you use when you confer benefits on others], it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:37-38–Amplified Bible).
“To judge”, emphasizes the inner attitude and “condemn” focuses on the outward expression in the Scripture. So, it is clear from everything in the churches doctrine, “judge not…” means, do not reprove your brother/sister and is a complete failure!
Listening to ‘churchiosity’, do not correct your erring brethren, you’re not listening to Jesus; ‘churchiosity’ is opposite to the teaching in Christianity. Jesus reveals that reproving your brethren is one of the ways you can love Him.
Jesus said, “He who has ears,
let him hear.”