I'm sure most Christians, at some point in their walk, have been exhorted with the words found in the the 7th chapter of Matthew. You know the one...about that log in your own eye and the speck in your neighbors? If not, it goes like this:
1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
...but does this truly say we are not to judge - in some degree - our brothers and sisters in Christ? What of Paul? Was he breaking a holy commandment when he said, "For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed."
How about Jesus? When he told the Pharisees to not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment?
It is time for the church of Christ to stand up and once again start using the Word for the purpose it was given to us. We need to stop listening to the vain philosophies of the world...including by not limited to Dr. Phil, Oprah, and the like...but listening to the very Word of God which was given not only to get to know God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ, but also for another very important reason - one that is oftentimes overlooked in today's society. The answer of course, is found, in the third chapter of 2 Timothy, which says:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Isn't that wonderful? I am incredibly blessed when a brother or sister comes to me with the living Word of the very God that I profess to love and live to correct and instruct me...why?...so that I will be thoroughly equipped for every good work!!! Love doesn't get more complete than that!
So, back to our judging. Are we called to judge each other. The answer the Scripture gives me says, 'You bet!'. However, I must remember that with the measure I judge others - this is the measure that the Lord will use on me. So, when I am 'testing myself - to see whether I am in the faith' - my prayer is I will use a harsher measure with myself, than when I approach a brother or sister in Christ in correction or instruction.
We need to be quick to listen and slow to speak. If someone comes to us - with an encouraging Word from Scripture, with a correction, or with instruction - let us take the time to search out the answer for ourself. Let us go to our wonderful Couselor in prayer and meditation. Let us not give the rash, 'Oh, judge not unless you want to be judged yourself. You're not God - only God can judge!' With prayer and supplication, let us take all our requests to God.
This brings another verse into a new light, as well. In the 15th chapter of John we are told that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for his friend. My comfort, what others think of me, what others will say about me - aren't those the things this world calls 'life'? But, when we step out and give holy instruction - we are risking this very life. In love, we are laying down what others will think, say, and do - to lead someone back to the Savior and His word. Which leads me to the conclusion of the whole matter...I can say with John that there truly is no greater joy than to hear that my children (my friends, my relatives, my neighbors) walk in truth.
What say you?