Still More On Judge Not

Q. RE: Judge Not That Ye Be Not Judged. There is a difference between “judging” others ourselves and believing what God has already said. When I tell my teenager that it is a sin that one of her friends is having sex before marriage, I am not “judging” that girl. I am agreeing with what God has already said. I’m tired of the worn out reprimand that I am judging when I recognize sin as God calls it. It is important to discern this especially in raising children, is it not?

A. It is true that the Bible forbids having sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage. Therefore your daughter’s friend is sinning by having pre-marital sex. Identifying someone’s behavior as sin according to Biblical standards is not the same as judging the person. Judgment occurs when we form a negative opinion about a person on the basis of his or her behavior.

If your daughter perceived that in the course of identifying her friend’s behavior as sinful, you cast aspersions on her character or expressed a negative opinion about her value as a person then you were judging her. This is what the Lord warned us against in Matt. 7:1-2. Being sinners ourselves we are in no position to condemn (same Greek word) someone else who sins. Jesus made this clear in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).

The proper Biblical response, in addition to identifying the behavior as sin, is to join with your daughter in asking the Lord to forgive her friend’s sin (1 John 5:16). If the friend is not a believer you should pray that the Holy Spirit would open her heart to receive the Lord. In that way you’re expressing your love for your daughter’s friend as a person even though she’s engaging in sinful behavior.

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