Yesterday I was talking to a friend about how we are supposed to watch out for fellow Christians and help them through difficult times. We had been discussing the passage in 1 Tim 4:1-3 where it talks about those who have their consciences “seared with a hot iron,” and how that can sometimes force us to be more direct with them than we normally would.
I made the observation that our culture here in America can sometimes cause us to ignore problems with brethren much longer than we should. You know, “it’s a free country,” “you can’t tell me what to do,” etc. Those are all things that we are instilled with early on, and it’s hard to break free of them. While we should respect others’ privacy, we are also responsible for our brother (as Cain found out).
Too, you’ll often hear someone respond with “judge not, lest ye be judged” when they’ve been called out on the carpet about something. In reality, that’s a misuse of the passage.
God’s given us the task of watching out for one another. When we see a brother involved in sin, we must help that individual, painful though it may be. And doing that is not judging. If God has told me that fornication is a sin, and I see a fellow Christian involved in it, then I am not judging by making that observation.
However, if I see someone engaged in fornication, and I decide that their involvement in that sin must mean they’re beyond help, or somehow more “sinful” or deviant than anyone else, then I’ve become guilty of judging them. Or if I look down on them and think, “I’ll never do that…” then I’m judging them.
Most Christians don’t believe that anyone is beyond saving; but when we choose to ignore the problems that our brethren are dealing with because it makes us uncomfortable, or because we think they are beyond help, then we are acting as if they are a lost cause.
We don’t have that right. Christ died for the ungodly. And last I checked, that was every single one of us.