When do Christians have the freedom to do something, and when should we judge someone? Because of God’s grace the Christian has freedom, but we must not abuse our freedom and cause another to stumble. Here are the guidelines to our freedom that Paul gave to the Corinthian Church:
1. Will my freedom lead to slavery (1Cor. 6:12)
2. Will my freedom make me a stumbling block or a stepping-stone (8:13)?
3. Will my freedom build me up or tear me down (10:23)?
4. Will my freedom only please me, or will they glorify Christ (10:31)?
5. Will my freedom help win the lost to Christ or turn them away (10:33)?
The way we use our freedom and relate to others indicates whether we are mature in Christ or not.
If there comes an instance when you must judge then here is a guideline for judging that is based on Matt. 7:1-6:
1. Do not judge if you struggle with the same sin.
2. Do not judge if you struggle with a secret sin.
3. Do not judge if God has not spoken clearly.
4. Do not judge a non-Christian by Christian standards.
When you do judge:
Judge when God has spoken on a subject.
Judge what God says to judge.
Judge in God’s way.
Remember this thought about judging, which I have found to be true. The chief judgment that we have against somebody is actually the chief compliment that we have about our self.
Freedom and Judging,
A missionary friend of mine went to Africa. It was his first trip to the continent, and he was not sure what a church service was going to be like. On the first Sunday he had the opportunity to preach he went to the pulpit and gave a typical twenty-five minute American sermon, and then sat down. His host approached him and asked, “Sir, have you prepared anything else?” My friend was surprised and said, “No.” The host replied to him, “Sir, you do not understand, some of these people have walked many hours through the night to be here to hear God’s Word, and they are expecting to hear more.” My friend return to the pulpit and preached everything he had. He did not leave the pulpit until many hours had passed, and still the people were hungry for more.
Imagine that, the people in the church were expecting more. What a juxtaposition the image of the African Church is with the American Church. The church in Africa is hungry for more, and expects more. In contrast the American Church has become filled with Santa Claus, and Easter Bunny Christians. The church has boiled their worship down to a bi-yearly nod to God. Somehow we have lost are desire to expect more, and to hunger for God’s Word. The modern American Christian feels that in worshipping God twice a year they have given their utmost for His highest. Many in the church today are better described as Cri-Easters then Christians.
Hunger for More,