Friday, December 30, 2005



Forgiveness and Judging are two fundamental doctrines of the Christian Church. They are two major areas where the Christian’s conduct is apparent before all, Christian and non Christian alike. They are simple yet complex teachings. For anyone can understand them.

The Bible’s instructions on each are very clear. Yet they become stumbling stones for the believer. They are easily comprehended but not easily practiced. They exemplify the difference between the understanding of a doctrine and being able to follow it.

A great lesson results from one of the easiest yet most complex personal issues bearing on how we relate to others. This is the simple practice of righteousness as we deal with other people in the every day experience. It is a simple example of the presence or absence of the Christian fruit as exercised in the Christians daily life.

This, then, is a simple teaching of God. It is a teaching that reaches into the complex human nature and defines what that nature must do when conformed by faith to a righteous Christian perspective through a transformed Christian nature guided by the Holy Spirit on a walk to glorify Jesus Christ.

Judging and forgiving represent two fundamental areas of activity involving personal interrelationships, whether between husband and wife, parent and child, relatives, friends, people in social groups of all types, individuals in business, churches, schools, wherever people converse and associate with each other.

The two pillars of Christian conduct - Judging and Forgiveness - turn the world upside down in terms of how a Christian looks at things as compared to a nonbeliever. You will not judge! You will forgive! How can this possibly make sense to judgmental, unforgiving, nonbelieving mankind, whose ignorance and prejudice is shaped by being blind to the evident reality of God’s existence? (Rom 1:18-22)

What follows places a major consideration in coming to understand what Scripture teaches about the separate yet intertwined concepts of two minor conduct issues regarding human relations in secular society dominated by nonbelievers, but, two dominant and major doctrines of the Christian Church that proclaims the love, peace and righteousness of Jesus Christ.


There are three primary domains of forgiveness:

One is the act of God forgiving the sins of new and existing believers. This includes the forgiveness needed for salvation and the receiving of the gifts of Faith, Righteousness and Eternal Life.

The second involves the pardon of personal offenses occurring between Christians, so that we may be free from personal hurts, anger and bitterness.

The third are those occasions where one Christian reproves another for a general, non personal sin.

Of all these applications of forgiveness, the tying of the doctrine of Judging to the doctrine of Forgiveness comes home by the linking of God’s love.

The new covenant relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. The new commandment given by Jesus is simply stated and is awesome considering its simplicity:

John 13:34,35 “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Forgiveness is always based on love. This is exemplified by God’s love to the believer, the basic reason for His forgiveness of those - -

· Who turn away from the world.

· Who turn from their old sinful state.

· Who knowingly turn away from their old nature as nonbelievers.

· Who turn to Jesus Christ.

Love is the motive that encourages discernment when personal offenses occur between individuals. It removes the “rough edges” of our awkwardness in relating to each other. It presents the reality of the Holy Spirit’s involvement.

Love is the basis for correction by reproof of others who are experiencing misconduct problems, the sins of a believer. It is the catalyst that reminds us that His Scripture is there to guide us. It is the continuing inspiration for good feelings that dampen and eliminate emotions cultivated and magnified by anger and bitterness.

The attitude of love is pervasive and provides the “locking in step” with the Holy Spirit on these vital issues of believer relations. For God is love. (1John 4:8)

Luke 7:47 “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”


God’s forgiveness of the believer is established by belief in Jesus Christ.
Acts 10:43 “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

And anyone who believes in Him will certainly confess and repent of their sin. For God has commanded us to repent. The first command came from John the Baptist:

Matthew 3:1,2 “Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

What is repentance? It is the turning from the life of the world to God, turning from unrighteous sin to God’s righteousness, turning from disbelief to belief, from mistrust to Faith in God, as manifested in the persons of the Father, the Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

The command to repent was taken up by Jesus Christ:

Mark 1:14,15 “And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’”

Matthew 4:17 “From the time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

And His disciples took up the command in their preaching:

Mark 6:12 “And they went out and preached that mankind should repent.”

Acts 2:38 “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and let each one
of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of your sins;’”

For repentance provides three great blessings: 1) being baptized in the name of Jesus; 2) the forgiveness of sin; 3) the salvific gifts of Faith and Righteousness.

Acts 2:38 “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”

Acts 3:19
“Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;”

Repentance, therefore, is a basic decision by the new believer to accept God, and to show the fruit of that acceptance by a change in one’s life.

And that decision is the basis of His forgiveness, a forgiveness patiently sought by God by His leading of the new believer to the truth:

Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”

Once repentance is established, God’s forgiveness is a profound, redeeming act, for it is by Jesus’ blood that we are forgiven and saved by His grace:

Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the richness of His grace.”

Colossians 1:13,14 “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians 2:13,14 “And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

We know from what has been said that he forgives us. That repentance is required. We know that we are to be forgiving of others. He also commands us to confess our sins so that we may be cleansed.

1John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


Having been commanded to repent, we are also commanded to forgive, as we have been forgiven. Each time a believer recites the Lord’s Prayer, we ask for forgiveness and we commit to God that we will forgive others!

Matthew 6:11 “And forgive us our debts (our trespasses/ transgressions ), as we also have forgiven our debtors” (those who transgress/trespass against us).

But even though we make this commitment to God, we may broach this promise by being unforgiving. This is a major sin, for which we should seek forgiveness from God.

Yet the sin turns on itself because we do not forgive others, in violation of our oath given in the Lord’s Prayer. So, where we seek forgiveness from God, we are sinful and violate His forgiveness by our not being forgiving of others:

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your heavenly father will not forgive your transgressions.”

Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions.”

Often times instead of being forgiving we become judgmental. We are then thrown into double jeopardy, falling back to the practices of nonbelievers who exercise unforgiving, judgmental traits through subdued anger, bitterness and viciousness.

So God commands us to be forgiving, to be discerning, to have an attitude founded in love of being forgiving.

Colossians 3:12,13 “And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just at the Lord forgave you, so also you should.”

Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.”

But knowing this, are there situations where our discernment leads us to manage our forgiveness so that the effect may be more meaningful?


Following God’s Biblical teaching of repentance and confession, does one who has offended another have an obligation to repent and confess their sin before forgiveness is granted by the offended party?

Put another way, should one who has been offended wait to hear the confession of error and apology before granting forgiveness? These are simple questions, yet there is no clear answer in Scripture except by considering how God forgives.

God expects confession and repentance. He expects this from a contrite, sincere expression of the heart. So, why shouldn’t we expect the same? The command to forgive must assume, in most instances, the request to be forgiven by the offending party. This request is typically a confession of guilt, of being wrong.

First of all, Scripture teaches that repentance and confession is required before God grants forgiveness. That Jesus Christ personally reproves the believer:

Revelations 3:19 “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Second, Scripture also commands believers to be unconditionally forgiving.

Matthew 18:21,22
“Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”

Yet personal repentance and confession are conditions before forgiveness is given by God.

John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”

Should a Christian ask another Christian, who is in a general sin state, to confess and repent?

This appears to be the right course, for that is the provision of reproving the brother and sister in Christ. These are questions the believer must answer in a discerning attitude walking with His Spirit. For spiritual discernment is required. To be meaningful, a contrite heart must appreciate the benevolent spirit of the one who is forgiving.

The act of forgiveness must be measured by the intent of the attempt to reconcile, by the healing that is required, by the remedy needed to salve the wound. For when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34), He sought a forgiveness of a specific offense. He did not request a general forgiveness of sins of all people without the obligation and necessity of individual confession and repentance.


In considering our obligation to forgive others, we often enter into a mode of thinking where we become judgmental, where we confuse the issue of judging with forgiveness. Judging is an important concept that all Christians must understand. It is a broad subject with many applications.

The six applications of judging in the Christian’s life deal with:

1) The primary role of God as judge (James 4:12; Psalms 96:10-13).

2) The specific ministry of Jesus Christ (John 5:22).

3) That role relegated to secular governing institutions (Romans 13:1).

4) The everyday exercise of judgment in working with others in the secular domain and in performing normal daily domestic and work tasks.

5) The corporate Biblical responsibility of the Church (Matthew 18:15-17).

6) The personal judging of others by Christians, the principle subject of this paper.

It is important that we understand the general concepts that deal with judging, and the specific focus concerning what Scripture teaches us and how it relates to forgiveness.

In a general context, judging embroils the deep seated deliberations of knowledge, understanding and wisdom. It concerns the intellectual appetite guided by God in exercising discernment, that acuteness of perception that leads to sound determinations. It scrutinizes the necessity to investigate, to examine, to evaluate, to distinguish between alternatives, to prefer, to approve, to select, to decide.

Judging demands integrity of both the thought and the process by which the thought is derived, no matter how trivial or complex the issue. And personal judging of others is a complex issue, despite how simple it seems. Its apparent simplicity betrays us and leads us into sin and away from the teachings on forgiving.

Personal judgment of another person is a loaded gun with a hair trigger. The mechanism of judgment is totally reliant on the tenuous, feeble moral-instinct of the one with the finger on the trigger. There is no going back once the trigger is pulled.

Once the judgment is made and stated, the potential damage is realized. Ruined friendships, destroyed relationships between love-ones, neighborly disruptions, even good feelings in professional standings result from misjudging others. Why is this true? Because our judging others is born of an imperfect motive, a motive impelled and based on our own imperfection.

Even though judging should be deliberate, in the great majority of instances of personal judgment, it is not. That is the reason the act of personally judging others is so precarious. In most circumstances, judging should be embraced in a system of authority. It does require a maturity of knowledge, understanding, wisdom and introspection, the examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings.

Judging implies finality, and if the judgment is wrong, the results can be devastating. Instead of being forgiving, we often become trapped in a judgmental attitude.

The analogy expands when we understand that each of us have the gun in our hand. That, we often pull the trigger accidentally, inadvertently, inappropriately, sometimes premeditatedly, as a reaction to a hurt, as a compulsion to control, as a defense against another’s actions, as a pronouncement of our own self-righteousness, for many wrong reasons.

Judging should be the result of well-thought-out convictions, the mental process of becoming assured, of becoming certain about basic ideas of life, living and relating to others. In a general way, the process of arriving at a conviction asks how we justify claims to know, whether we can be wrong about what we know, whether we really have the facts when we believe that we know something. And, importantly, by what standards and authority do we base our knowing.

It is important to understand the strength of the conviction upon which the judgment relies. Is it an opinion, a finding of belief, a specific knowledge? Certainly, opinion is the weakest conviction, followed by belief, followed by knowing.

To illustrate, the Christian concept of judging evolves around when to apply and withhold personal judgment of others. One may have an opinion that a brother or sister is in sin, and that opinion is the basis for a conviction that the person is sinning. But, that opinion may be strengthened by the corroborating testimony of another that the person is in sin.

The opinion may now be strengthened to the point of being a conviction of belief because of the testimony supported by two witnesses. History has proven that such belief may be seriously erroneous, however. Evidence supporting the belief is certainly required. The opinion or belief may become a reliable conviction based on knowledge when one actually sees the person sin. For seeing the sin is knowledge based on evidence.

But, as will be seen by that which follows, even this provision will lead to error if the judgment of another is not based on Spiritual discernment with a loving attitude based on a motivation of forgiveness.


One of the quests of our Christian duty relates to understanding the Scripture’s teaching on judging. Judging becomes a mirror of our character, a sharpening stone by which we learn about ourselves from our own conduct.

We can tweak a bit of understanding from the old saying, “The fault we see in others oft times exist in ourselves.” For we know that both the Old and New Testaments affirm God as the only qualified judge. James confirms this while instructing us that the judgment of others can be considered slander and a misuse of the Law:

James 4:11-12 “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?”

One lesson here is that the Law is a teacher of the individual; it is not the standard by which we judge others. It is the measurer of our own personal conduct. It doesn’t prohibit one’s conduct; it provides an understanding of conduct, as Paul has taught us in Romans 3:20, .... “for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin”, and Galatians 3:24 “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ....” But James is very specific that we are not to judge our neighbor. He is very specific in telling us “there is only one Lawgiver and Judge.”

We know that Scripture teaches us that we must not lightly assume the right to judge and condemn others. For we must consider seriously his directions in Matthew 7:1-5:

“Do not judge lest you be judged. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

After warning us about judging our neighbor James also warns us, as Matthew has, that judging another will sponsor God’s judgment:

James 5:9 “Do not complain brethren, against one another, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold the judge is standing right at the door.”

Luke instructs us that other’s faults are a call for forgiveness:

Luke 6:36,37 “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.”

But, what is this? What has been said here? “And do not judge and you will not be judged;” and “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

The Bible clearly warns us to avoid judging. But if we are to judge, we will be judged in turn. Further, that in the way we judge, we will be judged. For if we judge with an unforgiving heart, that judgment is self-seeking, quenching the Holy Spirit. (1Thes 5:19)

The warning continues. Paul reminds us in Romans 2:1-3, to pass judgment on matters that certainly require discernment, such as the blatant, hostile acts of nonbelievers (Romans 1:18-32) may lead to error, especially when we commit the same sins we see and judge in others.

“Therefore you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge one another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same thing. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. And do you suppose this, O’ Man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same things yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?”

What are those “same things?” A careful reading and thoughtful understanding is required of these “things.” They are explained in profound detail in Romans 1:24-32. Drink deep of this revelation of His Word:

“Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them...... For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also men abandoned the natural function of the women and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their errors.

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but give hearty approval to those who practice them.”

What are these sins? They are based on the primordial sin of disbelief. Because of this disbelief, and the resulting distrust of God, specific manifestations of His Wrath take the form of sin in the nonbeliever’s life!

These are the sins that Paul warns about judging, when they appear as unrighteous conduct in the life of the believer. And for good reason! If a believer practices such things, that person is probably judged already, since that individual is acting like a nonbeliever!

Besides this, Paul points to an attitude of judging in these passages that tends to breed other sins, such as the assumption of moral superiority, that which is called the Pharisaic attitude (Matthew 23), where we look down our noses at others with disdain, with an unloving attitude, with a silent yet pervasive sense of offensive disgust, all of this being veiled in a cloak of “righteous” hypocrisy.


In terms of judging, we are not to be concerned about nonbelievers, for they are judged already and subject to His Wrath (1Corinthians 5:12,13; Romans 1:18). The believer’s task is a different one in aiding the Holy Spirit’s convicting work in leading nonbelievers to Christ.

Teaching the lessons of Romans 14:1-18 regarding judging differences of doctrinal conviction, the often divisive point that separates Christians of one religion from another, Lawrence O. Richards helps us understand. He teaches, “Paul says we must see Jesus as sole Lord and each other as His servants. So each believer is responsible to the Lord, not to the conscience of other Christians.” That, “Christian unity is based on (1) the freedom of each individual to be responsible to Jesus; (2) a nonjudgmental approach to differences of conviction; (3) a willingness to consider others when deciding whether or not to use one’s freedom to follow one’s own convictions.”

What wonders would accrue between different Christian sects and religions if we truly understood and practiced Richard’s teaching.


All of the verses quoted before impose a dilemma for the believer, for it is easy to be confused about the Bible’s teachings concerning the judging of others. For we are guided to seek Christian discernment as contrasted to a judgmental attitude, which suggests thinking and proceeding in a careful, deliberate way:

1Kings 3:9 “So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil.”

We are commanded to restore others in sin, which means we must exercise our powers to be first of all discerning, yet assertive when there is error:

James 5:19,20 “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.”

We are commanded to be spiritual and gentle in restoring others in sin:

Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness, lest you too be tempted.”

We are to proceed sensitively, deliberately:

Matthew 18:15-16 “And if your brother or sister sins, go and reprove in private; if he or she listens to you, you have won your brother or sister. But if he or she does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.”

Understanding these directions and the warnings stated before, what then are we to do?

In a large sense, the Bible’s revelation is provided to help us make judgments. It provides the guideline of coming to and implementing sound conclusions about others. Discernment, which may be applied in all things, demands the knowledge and understanding of God’s standards as we relate to other human beings, especially to sisters and brothers in Christ.

For the Christian, the greatest errors in judging appear to be:

- Making the judgment to ignore or deny God, and by that judgment, to ignore and deny His teachings.

- The personal judgment of others in contradistinction to what He teaches in Scripture.

- Not accepting and understanding the balance between discernment and judging in relating to Christian brothers and sisters.

- Proceeding without a loving attitude and spirit of forgiveness.

- Proceeding with a technical understanding of what the Bible teaches in absence of the very personal, very real revelation and counsel of the Holy Spirit secured by prayer!

To know, understand and be wise about such matters is the result of a deep commitment to God and the seeking of His guidance. For the prevalent attitude of mankind is to be critical in judging others as a measure of one’s personal standard, a standard that is typically warped by an individual’s predilections, personal problems and spiritual immaturity.

The Spiritual believer seeks His counsel in the continuing walk with His Holy Spirit. The following prayer is relevant:

Psalm 119: 66 “Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Thy commandments.”


To complete the gun analogy, the inclination to be judgmental should be compromised by a discerning, forgiving and loving heart.

There is no gun here!

Instead, we have Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit in us, the capacity to discern, and by discernment, to take the initiative to act in love and forgiveness, where the energy of judgment is transferred to the miracle that discernment, forgiveness and love derives, as a sanctifying step with the Holy Spirit in glorifying Jesus Christ (John 16:14).

But we are commanded to hate and avoid evil that compromises and occasionally obliterates God's love!

Rom 12:9 "Let love be without hypocricy. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good."

What may we conclude from all of this? When we come to the point where we wish to judge others, we must understand a few things about ourselves and our relationship with God.

· We must understand that we cannot make another person righteous. That is a gift of God (Romans 5:17).

· We cannot convict another of their sins. That determination is a lonely decision by each called individual as guided by His Holy Spirit (John 16:8).

· We cannot give another or even ourselves Faith. That is also another gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

· We cannot forgive sin. Only God can do that (Mark2:5-10). Following this, we cannot confess Christ for another. That is another singular experience between an individual and God (Romans 10:9, 10).

· We cannot give another the determination called Belief;
God does not and will not give this as a gift, as far as we know. Belief is a conviction preveniently obtained by the individual on the walk coming to know God and in accepting Jesus Christ (Romans 1:19).

· And even our omniscient God cannot confess sin for an individual, although He knows what those sins are (1John 1:9).

· Yet, we can forgive, but only in a sense of love, for even this act is guided by the intervention of His Holy Spirit.

· So much as God cannot make an individual confess love for Him (1John 4:7-10). For that is a human responsibility, an individual determination, the magnificent acknowledgment of our God given free-will to choose, no matter how restricted or confined that capability is prior to coming to know Him.

With these truths what power, authority, justification do we have to judge and forgive separate from God? None!

We may lead, we may suggest, we may encourage, we may witness by example, but all of this is done through the power of His Holy Spirit.

Yes, we can even forgive, but this action is also compelled by our new nature in Christ, the new nature defined in relationship to His Holy Spirit (Romans 8). If it is the discipline of a brother or sister, we act through His Spirit in love (Hebrews 12). If it means reproving, it is done through the keen sense of walking with and being filled by His Holy Spirit (Galations 6:1).

Richards advises us, “Human beings are not competent to call another’s motives or practices into question. Even when actions are clearly wrong, forgiveness, not condemnation, is the appropriate response.”

So we are wrongheaded, offensive, and ineffectual when we judge apart from the Spirit. More particularly, we are deeply in sin when we attempt to judge without Spiritual discernment and a forgiving heart.

The following version of Galatians 6:1 comes from a new edition of the New testament, authored by Eugene H. Peterson, Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. The book is titled “The Message.” It is written in a contemporary idiom. You may wish to compare it with the quote stated before from the NAS Open Bible (Page 15).

“Live creatively friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.”

Apart from where we are guided by Scripture, we are free from the responsibility of judging others. Our obligation is to relate to others in love and a spirit of forgiveness.

The personal measurement of our discernment, the barrier to our impulsive judgment, the prevailing wisdom imparted to us from God to be forgiving, all of this suggests that our relationship with others evolves as a function of our growth in Christ, our walk with His Holy Spirit, our coming to understand and know His love.


Returning to the subject of theology, all theologians bow to the practical lessons contemplated in Scripture on how one Christian relates to another, no matter what religious order or doctrinal persuasion exists.

The study of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, including the branches of Systematic Theology embraced in Angelology (Angels), Anthropology (Mankind), Hamartiology (Sin), Soteriology (Salvation), Ecclesiology (the Church), Christology (Jesus Christ), Pneumatology (the Holy Spirit) and the various other fields including Natural, Exegetical, Biblical, Dogmatic, Historical and Practical Theology, all fall into the background when considering the very simple issue defined by the attitude beheld in the act of judging and forgiving others.

We can surrender all study and worship those Christian Saints who understand and practice God’s teaching on this easily-understood but difficult-to-follow subject. For even though theology’s main emphasis is based on how mankind relates to God, the essence of our relationship to God is defined in terms of how we relate to others.

The two pillars of Christian conduct - Judging and Forgiveness - frame an almost impossible obligation for the believer. Asking a believer to be forgiving and nonjudgmental of others rubs against the grain of the normal instinct of the human nature.

This teaching proposes the destruction of the nest of ruinous ways that promote gossip, bitterness, infractions, jealousy, envy, disputes, anger, hostility, mean-spiritedness - conduct issues more typically identified with the nonbeliever.

The following of these doctrines provide a personal test of one’s walk with His Holy Spirit, a measure of one’s progress in being sanctified, being set aside from the world and being made holy. It provides a verification of how much a believer has come to know and understand Christ’s commandment, as stated before to love others. (John 13:34,35) In a larger sense, it provides a standard by which one who professes love for God shows the miracle of God’s grace, love and righteousness in the believer’s transformed nature.

Besides the inherent natural inclination to ignore or deny these teachings, they are difficult doctrines. They impose a certain attitude as to the way we look at ourselves in terms of our personal relationships. They provide a continuing reflection as to the way believers succeed and fail in fulfilling the obligation of being a Christian.

Truly, the doctrines of Judging and Forgiveness has given the believer a severe test in understanding the relationship and walk with His Holy Spirit as measured by what Christ would have us do in our relationship with others.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home