The 2001 Commentaries

Judging Your Brothers

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At Romans 2:1, Paul wrote:

‘So, you are defenseless, O man, if you’re someone that judges others;
Because, when you judge others you’re condemning yourselves, since you’re doing the very same things that you judge [to be wrong in them].’

Then he wrote at Romans 14:10-12:

‘So, why do you judge your brother, or why do you look down on him?
We will all stand before the judgment seat of God, for it’s written:
As I live, says Jehovah;
Every knee will bend before Me and every tongue will confess before God.
So, since each of us must answer for ourselves before God;
Let’s stop judging each other.’

As you can see;
Being too judgmental is a very serious flaw, which is common among those who think of themselves as righteous.
And notice what Jesus said would happen to those that are judgmental (Matthew 7:1):
‘Do not judge others, so you won’t be judged.
For the [rules] by which you judge others,
Are the rules they will use to judge you,
And the standards you’re setting for them,
Are the standards that they’ll set for you.

We find the same type of warning at James 2:13, which says:

‘The merciless will be judged without mercy, since mercy is an important part of justice.’

But on the other hand;
The Bible also shows that it is necessary for Christians to judge their brothers that are guilty of flagrant, open sins, as was the case of a brother in the First-Century Christian Congregation in Corinth, Greece.
For Paul wrote at 1 Corinthians 5:1:

‘I’ve actually heard that there is sexual immorality among you, and it’s a type of immorality that isn’t even [heard of] among the nations…
That someone has taken his father’s woman!’

Now, we don’t know exactly what this sin entailed (whether it was incest or a relationship with a woman that wasn’t his natural mother), but we do know that it was something scandalous. So Paul told the elders in the congregation there that they should pass judgment on the man’s actions.
Notice his reasoning, as found at 1 Corinthians 5:12:

‘Why should I judge those on the outside?
Don’t you judge those on the inside while God judges those on the outside?
Remove the wicked man from among yourselves!’

So the conclusion we reach from the Scriptures is that judging the openly-wrong actions of others is the responsibility of Christian elders, in order to protect the good name of the Congregation.
However, it is wrong to judge the motives of others, because we can’t look into their hearts.

Therefore, if we ever find ourselves looking down on our brothers and thinking ourselves to be better Christians than they are; Then the high standards that we set for them may become the standards that will be set for us in our own judgment before God. And if we aren’t merciful in our judgments of others, God won’t be merciful in His judgment of us.

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