Judging Other Christians

In the last blog, we saw that Paul tells us we are to judge fellow Christians who do not follow Christ’s teachings.  This is an awesome responsibility.  It demands that we exercise judgment with sensitivity to human nature and our own flaws.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2 ESV)

It also demands that we understand exactly what God requires of us.  A problem with Christianity is that we have established a whole list of do’s and don’ts which are not necessarily taught by the Bible.  That the Bible has restrictions on our behavior is without question but many want to expand on that list because of their own weakness and flaws.  As Swindoll states “. . .many opt for legalism lest they be tempted to live irresponsibility”. [1]  Others are so self centered they think the rest of the world is like them and should live like them.  As a result, they attempt to force their life style on others and they have no compulsion about using the Bible to do so.

Once again Christians must learn to read and understand the entire Bible and not just parts of it.  While the Bible places restrictions on our behavior, it also teaches that we are free and we are to use that freedom.

. . .For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? (1 Corinthians 10:29 ESV)

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. .  (Galatians 5:13 ESV)

Christians have so many rules and as a result Christianity has become very restrictive.  The Bible has much to say about our freedom but we want to imprison ourselves.  Jesus stated that all the law and prophets were fulfilled in just two concepts:  love God and love our fellow humans (Luke 10:25-28).  In fact when Jesus made this statement, he was responding to someone who asked him how to obtain eternal life.  What would it be like if our doctrinal statements and list of do’s and don’ts were reduced to these two concepts?   God obviously knows of the human tendency to twist his word and that is why he gave us more than these two commandments, but God wants our soul to become so like his that these are the only two guidelines we would ever need.  The Tao Te Ching expresses this concept so well:

When the greatness of the Tao is present

action arises from one’s own heart

When the greatness of the Tao is absent

action comes from the rules

of “kindness” and “justice”

If you need you need rules to be kind and just,

if you act virtuous

this is a sure sign that virture is absent [2]

If we need rules and the threat of punishment to guide our actions, that is a sure sign our soul is not God-like.


[1]   Charles R. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening (Dallas:  Word Publishing, 1996), p. 50.

[2]   Jonathan Star, translator, Tao Te Ching (New York:  Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2001), p. 31.

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