Judging vs. Discerning

Judging vs. Discerning

Jesus plainly stated that we are not to judge others. But

so often His words are used against Christians who are trying to

point out wrong in society. And it seems that so few Christians

know how to answer such objections.

So, what should you do if, upon seeing evil in the world, and

stating your convictions regarding it, you are told that you have no

business judging others? Are Christians to become mindless

people who can’t tell the difference between good and evil? Is

this mindless condition something we are to strive for?

First of all, there is a big difference between judging someone,

and discerning evil. The two are not the same at all. In

the Bible, the word “judge” is often a woeful translation of the

Greek word “katakrino.” This word literally means “to judge

against.” In other words, it really means “to condemn.” But there

is another Greek word, “krino,” which is often translated

“to discern.” “Krino” literally means “to separate.” Or, to put it

more clearly, it means “to separate the good from the bad.”

These two words aptly show the contrast between judging

someone, which God forbids, and discerning, which God desires.

“To judge” means to condemn. It means to render a sentence

against someone as if you are God. And “to judge,” the way

Jesus forbade it, is always a product of a bad attitude. It stems

from never having seen that you are as needy as the one whom

you are condemning. “To discern,” however, carries no

desire to see someone “get what is coming to them.” True

discernment doesn’t condemn at all. It simply sees things as they

really are, with the mind of Christ.

True discernment carries no blinders. It sees evil. And it

confesses what it sees if the love of God dictates it. Don’t think

that the love of God would avoid pointing out evil in society. Read

the gospels. Jesus continually upbraided the Pharisees, yet He

said He judged (condemned) no man. Jesus knew the difference

between judging and discerning. He always discerned. He never

judged.

Rather than be blind to evil, Christians will become more

sensitive to it — if they are getting closer to God. Getting closer

to God and developing His mind will not make us less sensitive to

sin. It will make us more sensitive to sin. And it will give us the

ability to discern things the way God discerns them — clearly, but

in love.

The book of Hebrews gives us a verse which tells us that

it is God’s will for us to discern the difference between good and

evil: But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age,

even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised

to discern both good and evil. (Heb. 5:14)

It is a mark of Christian maturity to discern the difference

between good and evil. It is also a greater mark of maturity, that

having discerned that difference, to be able to stand in the love of

God regarding it. God wants us to discern. But He tells us we

must not condemn.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mannyr
    Sep 24, 2018 @ 18:16:15

    This is a huge problem in the body of Christ.

    Reply

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