Does Speaking Truth Mean We're Judging Others?
I hear the phrase "don't judge" a lot in our world and often out of the mouths of Christians. I'm concerned the enemy has confused this phrase and used it to silence many from speaking truth and hearing truth, because he knows the truth will set us free.
I'm thankful for people in my life who saw my sin and loved me enough to point it out. In fact, I will go as far to say that the people who have said, "I love you, but there is sin you need to address" are the people who love me most and want the best for me. They want nothing to stand in the way of my relationship with God.
I guess they could have been worried that I would tell them, "Stop judging me," but I'm so thankful they knew the difference between judging to condemn (which a Christian is not to do) and a discerning judgment of fruit (which a Christian is to do).
Out of Context
The father of all lies, Satan, is skilled in taking the very words of God out of context. This is why it is so important for Christians to know God's Word and to read it in context. Yes, God does say in Matthew 7, "Judge not, that you be not judged." Yet He goes on to say in the very same chapter that we can "know them by their fruits" and that "every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit" (vv. 16–17).
In The Truth War, John MacArthur says "Scripture does clearly and consistently teach the primacy of right belief as the foundation of right behavior. In other words, righteous living is properly seen as a fruit of authentic faith and never the other way around." MacArthur emphatically pleads with Christians to know and speak truth and ignore the enemy who says you are "judging" when you do so.
But what if they call you a hypocrite? What if they point out sins they've seen you commit in the past? Get ready for it, but don't let this fear stop you! When they call you a hypocrite, agree with them that you have indeed messed up in the past. "Yes, I've sinned, but I always knew God was in my life because I felt convicted over my sin. But the times I've chosen to follow Jesus and not sin are the times I have felt such freedom. I just want that for you, too. I want God's best for you, because I love you."
Sharing Truth in Love
If we truly love others, we have to, in love, help them know what God says about how we are to live. Romans 1:28 says, "Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to their debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting." MacArthur says,
"Abandon a biblical definition of truth, and unrighteousness is the inescapable result. We see it happening before our eyes in every corner of society. In fact, the widespread acceptance of homosexuality, rebellion, and all forms of iniquity that we see in our society today is the verbatim fulfillment of what Romans 1 says always happens when a society denies and suppresses the essential connection between God and truth."
This is hard stuff. This is "cling-to-Jesus-with-all-you-have stuff," but the consequences are huge. People we love are in bondage to misery-making sin. Those of us who have been set free are called to speak truth in love and not remain silent. People we love do not know our Lord. Pray fervently for them before you ever open your mouth. Stay connected to God, and trust Him to give you the words. Love them. Speak truth to them. Keep loving them when they call you a hypocrite. Keep speaking truth even in this hard world . . . because this world needs Jesus, and eternity without Him is hell.
Written by Kim Jaggers
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