I have been taught we are not to judge anyone for any reason. That is it Jesus’ job to judge on Judgement Day.
So when I read that Paul was judging in 1 Corinthians 5:3, I immediately thought, What’s going on here? So, of course, I researched it and I’m glad I did.
The commandment not to judge comes from Jesus in Matthew 7:1-5. He says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Well, we all know we will be judged, right? So in one sense this doesn’t make sense either.
But Jesus is talking about hypocritical judgment, as demonstrated in verses 3-5 with the sawdust analogy. Jesus is saying we are not to judge others by a standard we ourselves are not willing to be judged by. So I should not condemn someone for lying if I myself lie. But I can if I don’t lie.
However, there’s a caveat to this which Paul brings up in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13. We are not to judge unbelievers. This is solely God’s job (which I think is where I was getting this from).
As Christians we are held to a higher standard by God (and rightly so). We must walk the walk. God expects more from us just like I expect more from my kids than other people’s kids. He is our Father, after all! We are expected to obey God and follow His commandments. Behave as much as possible like Jesus. Love one another. Show compassion to those sufferings, orphans, and widows. Everything the Bible talks about we are expected to do.
Now, as Paul says next in 1 Corinthians 1:12, “Are you not to judge those inside?”, meaning judging Christians.
Hence, we are to judge Christians who are disobeying God’s commandments but only if we are upholding them (which hopefully as God’s chosen people, we are). We are to be accountable to one another for our actions.
So how does this apply for me? Well, I have been operating under the attitude of “It’s none of my business what Suzy-Q does over there”, whether or not she’s a Christian or not. Now, I realize if Suzy Q is a Christian I need to care about what she’s doing, if she’s following “the Way” as Paul calls the new Christian movement, and call her out if she’s not. This is my job as a believer–to keep her on the right path so she is ready for Judgment Day.
And if she refuses to correct her behavior? As Paul says, “you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy…” (1 Corinthians 5:11) etc. We do this out of love not out of punishment. To hopefully get the person to correct their path and fully accept them once corrected. You must be accountable for your actions or face the consequences, which society today had told everyone there are no consequences or personal responsibility.
This is something I’m going to have to chew on for a bit in order to wrap my mind around. It makes sense especially when I think of my immediate family. I get riled when I see something happening around me that goes against my beliefs, but I have always fought the temptation not to say something. I think I was being prodded to say something but society and culture today has been so ingrained in me that I usually don’t.
In one way it’s a relief. I don’t have to feel guilty if I tell someone out of love that I think what they are doing is wrong and not in line with God. It’s refreshing and emboldening to be honest. And not just my family. For anyone really.
And it’s something I’m supposed to do. Something probably just as important as spreading the Good News.
Because we all Fall and sometimes we need someone to confront us on our failures in order to get back on God’s path. Lovingly and compassionately. Biblically.
The right thing to do. Of which we must never tire. (2 Thessalonians 3:13)