Faith Questions

Christians Judging Christians

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The One Degree Podcast



Digital library of theological trainings with guided notes

Exegetical Bible reading plans and studies with daily videos going deeper

Monthly Theology Couch Chat discussing a theological hot topic


In this episode of the One Degree Podcast, we are discussing judgment. Should we judge Christians who don’t show fruit?

In Matthew 7:1, part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says “Judge not, that you be not judged.’

In 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 Paul states: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 

So which is it? One sounds like it’s saying that we should not judge others. The other one sounds like it is saying we should judge others. 

Does the Bible contradict itself? Do we sometimes judge and sometimes not depending on the situation? Do we throw out Paul’s teaching since Jesus must be greater than Paul? What do we do? 

First Things First

The first thing to make clear: We are talking about CHRISTIANS.  

I think the Bible makes it clear that we shouldn’t judge non-Christians (aka: we should not expect non-Christians to live up to a Christian moral standard).

This doesn’t mean we don’t advocate for the gospel and morality, what it means is that we do not cut off, condemn, or try to separate ourselves from non-believers because they live like non-believers. 

Context of the Judgment Passages

Let’s look at the larger context of both of these passages to help us understand them better.

Matthew 7:1-5

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

It’s important to note that it’s not saying “Don’t call out the sin of other Christians.” We start by evaluating ourselves, and then we can better call out the sins of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We still have a responsibility to call out sin and encourage and exhort our brothers and sisters. But, we start by evaluating sin in our own lives, not as a hypocrite.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

This is within the context of the church. There are those within the church claiming to be believers who are defiling the name of Christ because of their unrepentant sin. The church was allowing this sin to go on without doing anything about it.

Remember these contexts because they are important.

Two Different Types of Judgment

We believe that the type of judgment that Jesus is talking about and the type of judgment that Paul is talking about are two different types.

Jesus: Don’t Judge

The type of judgment we are not to partake in is the type where we focus more on others than ourselves, are hypocritical and condemn people to hell in our minds.

This is the judgment spoken about by Jesus in Matthew 7. The type where we go, “Oh that person is so idolatrous. They worship the way they look and spend so much time on outward appearances.” When we are idolatrous in the way we view money, sports, or anything else. 

Look at verse 2 of that Matthew 7 passage: “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”

It is saying not to focus more on others than on yourself. Start by evaluating yourself! 

That’s what verses 3-4 are talking about: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?”

When we do this we are hypocritical, which is why verse 5 starts with you hypocrite

Another type of judgment that falls under this category is when we think to ourselves “There is no way that person is an actual Christian.” We may say these things when we aren’t close with them or having conversations with them about it. We think there’s no way they’re an actual Christian because of the music they listen to, the clothes they wear, the stuff they do, etc…

Side Note:

It is okay to have those conversations and gently approach professing Christians. Jesus says we take out the log in our own eye and then we can point out the speck in our brother’s eye. 

We are not saying do not point out sin. What we are saying is don’t have a self-righteous attitude thinking that you are a better person or Christian than someone else without first having a conversation with them.

Paul: Do Judge

The second type of judgment (the one we are called to do) that Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 5 is the judgment of unrepentant, habitual sin taking place in the church.

The church has the responsibility of disciplining people who are in habitual, unrepentant sin. 

Matthew 18:15-20 lays this process of discipline out for us.

1 Corinthians 5:5 tells us that the hope is that their soul will be saved through discipline!

Notice that even in this case of egregious sin, they are not saying he is doomed to hell. They are handing him over to Satan so his flesh will be destroyed and hoping that his soul will be saved. 

The goal of our judgment helps us determine if it is good or not. If it is because you think you are better and want to put them down, that is bad judgment we should not engage in. If it is because we want someone’s soul to be saved and for them to walk with the Lord, then it is good judgment.

When someone sins against us or is caught in unrepentant sin, we have a responsibility to humbly and gently call out sin. 

The Motivation Behind Judgment

So, proper judgment starts with evaluating ourselves (and asking others to call out sin in our lives). It involves actually having conversations with (not about) the person in sin. The hope of these conversations is always restoration, and our judgment is not saying they are doomed to hell, it is urging them to repent of their sin. 

You also need to evaluate your own heart:

Are you looking for a reason to call someone out? Do you have bitterness, anger, or envy towards them? Are you eager and excited to call them out, or is your heart broken for their sin? What is the motivation for you calling out their sin?

Have an honest conversation with yourself about your heart’s motivations.

How do we walk this out faithfully?

You might be thinking to yourself- “Hey, this sounds really easy, but how do I actually practice this faithfully?”

  1. Start with yourself! Evaluate your own life. Have an accountability group. Ask people to call out sin in your life. Ask them directly to do this and keep asking them! How you respond is important too. Don’t be dismissive or defensive. Genuinely listen to hear and understand.
  2. Start with prayer.
  3. Make sure you are only judging what is clearly sinful. If it is a gray area, you can start by asking questions! (Actually, even when it’s clearly a sin issue, asking questions is always a good place to start). If they have dyed their hair, or just do things differently than you would do, that is certainly not a case of judgment. There are matters of conviction that are not black-and-white issues.
  4. Follow the process of Matthew 18. Seek an individual convo. Ask questions, listen to what they say, and explain why you felt the need to bring it up. If they don’t listen and continue in clear, unrepentant sin, then you take it to the next step. Bring a small group of people who know them and the situation (small group, friends, elders, etc.). If they still don’t repent and turn from sin, bring it to the elders and church leadership. It’s hard, but as Christians practice this, we will grow and begin to see the value of these types of judgment.

One Degree Shift

Start asking your close family and friends to point out your blind spots/weaknesses (sin).

I (Nathaniel) ask my accountability partners to do this every week. 

If you feel convicted and like you need to hold someone accountable for their sin, start by setting up a time to talk, get curious, ask questions, and then humbly explain your perspective. 

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