Judgementalism and Spiritual Discernment Pt. 1
Read Romans 2:1-11
“Therefore, you have no excuse every one of you who passes judgment, for, in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
Scripture often presents the importance of extremes by giving what at first glance seems to be conflict. Still, upon closer examination of the context, we find that these are not it is contradictory statements but complementary truths that provide balance. We see this in terms of God’s sovereignty and human choice. Another example is the whole issue of being discerning without being judgmental. On the one hand, we are to discern and avoid those who distort the truth, while on the other hand, we are to avoid being judgmental. To find the balance, we need to look carefully at the examples of both and determine when scripture warns against being judgmental and when it points to the importance of discernment.
In Romans 2, we find the warning against passing judgment upon others. However, here the issue is not in the condemnation of wrong, but in the fact that while they are condemning the wrong of others, they are practicing those very things. This issue was that these were individuals who were self-righteous in their own eyes. In their self-righteousness, they continued to rebel against God the whole time while pointing the finger at others (see verses 21-21). However, this self-righteousness leads to false security in their relationship with God. Paul does approve of the sin that people were doing. In chapter 1, Paul set forth an indictment against all those who practiced sin (see verses 28-32). What he does condemn are those who, in their self-righteousness, fail to see their own sin and thus fail to see their own need for God’s grace. A self-righteous person minimizes their own sin but exaggerates the sins of others. Because of their self-righteousness, they then see no reason to repent. They continue to justify their actions.
This is the deception of our own sin nature. We see the faults of others, but we fail to see our own sin. In doing so, we then show contempt for God’s mercy and grace and his patience towards us to give us the opportunity for change. Scripture admonishes us to call people to repentance, which involves confronting them with their sin (Acts 2:36-38). However, before we can lead others to repentance, we must first realize our own sin and our own need to repent, otherwise, we are only further adding to our guilt and the certainty of our own judgment (Romans 2:5).
God does not accept or tolerate sin, either in others or our own life. Recognizing sin always begins with our own self-reflection and honesty. When we do confront the sin of others, it should be from a spirit of humility, acknowledging that we are not superior but equally in need of grace as well. Discernment, as the adage goes, we are one beggar telling another where to find food. Judgmentalism is when we point out the faults in others to conceal and minimize our own sin.