Saturday, June 18, 2005

Judging Vs. Giving Advice

I'm sure you've been there; you're trying to help someone out and they take offense and they accuse you of judging them. For example, let's say a Christian friend of yours cusses and you mention to them that cussing is not something that a Christian would do and they come back at you and say, "stop judging me!" How do you respond to that? Were you really judging them?

A lot of people confuse advising with judging. Judging and advising are two different things. When we judge someone else, we are putting our authority over them. We are telling them that we have final say in their outcome and that what they think does not matter. An example of judging would be me telling you that you are going to Hell because of your actions. While this could be true, I don't have the authority to sentence you to eternity away from God. Jesus Christ is the only One who can judge and condemn. We are not worthy to have such authority!

The Bible does say though that we are to keep each other accountable and advise each other. This is different than judging because we are doing this on the same level as them. We should never put ourselves above them or make them feel sentenced for something they have done. In Ezekiel 3:16-21, the author writes what God had shown him about advising others in the ways that they should go:
At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.

Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself."
I believe this passage shows us that we are to let others know when they have done something wrong and that we need to advise them in what they need to do. The way we do this though, is not by condemning them (judging), we are to advise them in a loving and caring way.

In Proverbs 9:9 the Bible states, "Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning." Not one of us is above advisement; we all can learn to be better. Throughout your day, remind yourself that you do not have the authority to judge others but that we are instructed to advise others in order to help them live a better life for God. Be open to other Christian’s suggestions and dive deep into God’s word; God will provide.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome comparison, along with two great scriptures.