“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

– Matthew 7:1

The above verse is one of the verses many people have quoted out of context. This is because many people do not even know what judgment is. Judgment doesn’t mean pronouncing that something is bad or wrong. At least, not in the context of the above verse. When Jesus said do not judge, He was saying “do not make conclusions about someone as regards to what they did wrong.” To avoid judging people doesn’t mean turning blind eyes to evil and not expressing disapproval of it. We do not have the right to make pronouncements like “he is obviously going to hell” or “he will obviously not end well for stealing.” But we can identify wrongs and show disapproval of it so that people can learn that we are not a party to that wrong.

You don’t keep quiet over evil in the name of not judging, it makes you a part of the mess. The Bible says in Ephesians 5:11 “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” What are the works of darkness? It includes abuse, wickedness and other immoralities! We have sufficient ground to rebuke works of darkness and even expose it. Certain times, Christians don’t open up against evil done in the covering of Church because they don’t want to judge. However, it doesn’t make things better. The sexual abuse that was uncovered in the Vatican was heartbreaking, it had been there several years but was covered up. Covering it up meant more problem in the Church, it put more people at risk of being abused the same way others were abused. Your silence about sin will never make it right and people who perpetrate it will continue. Sometimes, we do not speak up against sin because we are better than the other person but we speak up against it as a Church, to boldly say “this is wrong and it is not what we represent.”

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

Ephesians 5:11

I am convinced that there is no reward in judging people including those we feel are doing the wrong things. The Bible says we shouldn’t be in a hurry to judge, only God reserves the right to bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts, and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. (1 Corinthians 4:5). If you know the truth, teach the truth. If someone else teaches or do something different, don’t judge them, don’t feel you are better than them. Keep your cool and keep doing your own part. God knows those who are His.

Correct in love and just move on if they ignore you. But when people are being hurt especially with the covering of “church” it calls for rebuke. Rebuke with love and yet with all sense of disapproval! When we publicly rebuke the evil that “elders” perpetrate with the covering of “church”, we are showcasing our disapproval of such and we are sending a warning signal to those who are following the same path.

To rebuke is not to judge. I need to make that very clear! The Bible says “do not judge” but the Bible says we should rebuke. We may not say that God didn’t call a man but we can confidently say if that man is walking in the light of God’s calling or not. You do not sexually molest people and hide under the covering of “do not judge!” You do not defraud poor people, enlarge your fleet of cars while they suffer in penury and you think you will not be rebuked. This is specifically for the leaders because people look up to them.

Those who rebuke evil “elders” don’t do it out of hate but out of compassion for the church. It hurts when the name of the Church is pushed to the mud, it hurts when people who are supposed to be our model consistently and comfortably keep tarnishing the image of the Church and we say “do not talk.” “Do not talk” has done more harm than good. There is no point gossiping about people because it changes nothing but we can publicly stand up against evil and make it clear that this is not what we stand for. We must stand for the truth always and any man who tells you that you are cursed for speaking against evil is simply looking for ways to hold you hostage in his lies.

“Those who rebuke evil “elders” don’t do it out of hate but out of compassion for the church.”

We are always part of the mess if we prefer to keep quiet because we are scared that rebuking an evil will bring a curse upon us. I rebuke evil that people perpetrate in the name of God because I represent God on earth. If I don’t rebuke it, then I am also presenting God falsely. Rebuking evil leaders don’t mean we do not respect them.

“But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.”

1 Timothy 5:20

When we are told not to judge, it means we shouldn’t make a conclusion about someone and when we are asked to rebuke, it means to express disapproval for something. It is right and godly to rebuke sin publicly especially when that elder is unrepentant. It could be okay to handle certain people’s sins discreetly because they are still growing in faith but for those people who are leading others, they can mislead their followers if we decide to ignore them. When you don’t rebuke a Pastor who abuses women, those who follow him might also follow his character. The Bible says “…elders who are sinning…” and not “…elders who sin…” When leaders become habitual with evil don’t cover it up. It does more harm than good to entertain elders who lead others astray. To rebuke is not to judge.

~ George O.N

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