One of the greatest tensions I feel as a Christian is attempting to walk the fine line between rebuking and judging.
You see, many Christians will say we are not to judge and they will quote Matthew 7:3-5. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
They are right of course; judging is for God to do, not us. We are all imperfect and how can one imperfect person cast judgement on another?
But then you get the other extreme; that we must NEVER speak up against another person’s sinful words or actions because that is judging. The problem with this view is that since we are all imperfect, we can never correct each other because it will make us hypocrites. Therefore, we get no guidance or correction from one another and everyone is too afraid to speak up against wrongdoing for fear of being labeled ‘judgemental’.
Rebuking is not judging. We are called to rebuke one another out of love and concern for one another’s godliness. That’s one of the reasons we are part of the church and not just individuals. We need each other to encourage and also to rebuke. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 says we are on occasion to put unrepentant offenders out of fellowship but with the hope that they will stop doing what they are doing and will be welcomed back again.
The trouble is I often don’t know whether I am rebuking or judging. I guess the key test is whether I’m doing it out of love for that person, that I want the best for them, but quite often I’m doing it out of anger and hurt. So I guess that’s judging. It is very, very hard that’s for sure.
Am I the only one who’s felt this tension?