I’m struggling between what the Bible says about not judging others, since everyone has sin, and admonishing friends who are clearly doing something wrong. Can you help me understand this better?
The answer to this question is drawn from the two passages being referenced. Matthew 7 (as well as Luke 6) contain the teachings from Jesus to not judge others.
1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
The point of this teaching is often missed. Yes, we are not to judge others. But the deeper problem is that we often don’t look inward at our own problems. It is all to easy to point out the sin, faults, and annoyances of a friend or family member, all the while not considering how our issues need a bit more of our attention.
Jesus is clearly telling us to take care of the state of our hearts and lives. How do we do that? Through reflection, confession, and repentance. It is our responsibility to get right with God, not in an attempt to earn His love, but simply to keep a pure relationship with Him. The by-product from being right with God is being able to purely admonish another, as God calls us to.
Admonish is an old-fashion word rich in meaning:
1. to caution, advise, or counsel against something2. to reprove or scold, esp. in a mild and good-willed manner3. to urge to a duty; remind
Seriously, this is a great word! It is a great call! It is the practical way of putting love into action with words that challenge our friends and family member to do what is God’s best for their life. There is not a shred of negative application in God’s call for us to admonish one another:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Just imagine the potential of our relationships, if we are serious about applying these two verses! When we get right with God by dealing with our own stuff, we are perfectly positioned to admonish our friends and loved ones to do God’s right thing. Instead of judging, we approach humbly — in tune with our own issues — and in love, wanting to share the wisdom of experience and hope of Christ’s grace, love, and forgiveness.
It really is a good thing to do things God’s way!