We are to be discerning of people’s moral compass.

We are to be discerning of people’s moral compass.

Read: Gal. 6:1-6; Ezekiel 3:16-21.

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.”

Often when quoting Christ’s statement prohibiting judging, people use the verse to justify that we should never confront or condemn sin. But this violates what Christ is teaching. While condemning self-righteousness that leads to judging others to elevate ourselves, we should not conclude that we should never evaluate their actions and beliefs. As we examine the Scriptures, we discover a balance. While we are not to view ourselves as spiritually superior to others, we are also to be discerning in evaluating others' actions. Furthermore, we are not to remain silent in the face of immoral behavior and sin. To truly love someone is not to be indifferent to the presence of sin; instead, it is to confront their sin with the message of the gospel's transforming hope.

This begins by being discerning regarding people’s moral compass that governs their actions. In Galatians 5:16-25, Paul contrasted the character qualities of one controlled by the Holy Spirt and those influenced by the lusts of the flesh. Those whose moral compass is governed by the Sprit demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. However, those whose moral compass is governed by the inward desires of our sinful nature practice immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outburst of anger, disputes, and so on. Having revealed the contrast between these two lifestyles, Paul then challenges the reader to be discerning and honest in our evaluations of fellow believers. When a fellow Christian is governed by a moral compass that is contrary to scripture, we are not to remain silent. Rather we are to confront the individual, not to condemn them, but to restore them in full fellowship with Christ.

We are not to do so from the posture of superiority, but humility, recognizing our propensity towards sin. We are to be driven by love for them with the hope that if we are caught in any sin, a fellow believer will love us enough to bring loving correction to us as well. To be indeed like Christ is to promote holiness in the world and in the lives of others, and this involves a willingness to challenge sin.

In Ezekiel 3:16-21, God calls Ezekiel to be a watchman over his people. His responsibility is to warn those in the sin of the threat of judgment so that they might repent and receive the grace and forgiveness of God. However, if he remains silent and fails to warn them, then not only will God hold the individual responsible for their sin, He will also hold Ezekiel accountable for his failure to give them a warning.

When we see a fellow believer whose moral compass is no longer centered on scripture, we are to bring that to their attention, not show our superiority, but out of concern for their spiritual welfare. The warning against judgmentalism should not be construed to be a prohibition of discernment and confrontation of sin. If we love people, we will love them enough to confront the evil that leads to their destruction in hopes of giving them new life in Christ.

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