Be forewarned- ranting is involved here. I rant because I am tired of non-believers rebuking Christians. Or, more to the point, I am tired of Christians allowing non-believers to rebuke them. Indulge me, and let me start out with a personal story. A while back I found that someone was publicly complaining about coming to an activity I had invited them to. They had apparently not had a good time; in fact it was bad enough they felt the need to openly complain. When I came across their complaint, I told them next time I would not invite them. Who am I to make them feel obligated when they don’t want to be there, right? Here’s where the rebuke came in. This person, who is not a Christian, came back with the reply that I was not behaving like a Christian to say that. Let’s put aside the fact that I don’t believe my response was un-Christian, and instead focus on the fact that a person who doesn’t even like God is telling me how I should act to please God; Seriously?
This is a very small example of something that can be seen on a regular basis and on a wider scale. How many Christians out there have ever heard a non-believer quote “Judge not lest you be judged”? I’m betting if not all of you, then most of you have had this thrown in your face at some point. This is a scripture that is wildly taken out of context and misused. After all, if you behave like a duck and speak like a duck, how am I judging you by calling you a duck?
But you will be accused of judging everywhere you turn. If you speak out against abortion, your ears will ring with “Judge not lest you be judged.” If you dis-fellowship someone who is adamant about turning away from God, you will hear a chorus of non-believers calling you judgmental. Sometimes you don’t have to do any more than say you are a Christian, or God forbid a conservative, and the judge not band will begin playing their one hit wonder with gusto.
And Christians everywhere let them hold that song at the top of the charts daily. We don’t stop to think that we are allowing people who either don’t believe in God or who hold hatred for God in their hearts set our standards for how we obey God. We let it go that we are being held to a different standard than they hold for themselves. Instead, many times, we shut down and go out of our way to meet their standards. In doing this, we have stopped proclaiming Jesus to the world. We won’t go out and teach people the error of their ways. We don’t try to urge others to Christ because we don’t want to be judgmental.
Rather than letting God set our standard for a Christian life, we let the world set our standard. We have let the lies of Satan tell us that to recognize unrighteous behavior is to judge someone else. We have begun to believe Satan when he tells us that we have no right to point out what the Bible has to say when speaking to someone in sin. How will we ever be able to bring others to Christ if we can’t tell them certain behaviors are against God’s will? Remember that the words “Judge not lest you be judged” were spoken to Jesus’ disciples. He goes on to tell them to take care of their own sins before rebuking their brother. The point here was not that you should not speak to each other about sin, but that you should not rebuke another person when you are deep in your own follies. Also remember that these words do not mean we should let behaviors slide. When we see a fellow Christian floundering we have the responsibility to help them.
The scriptures give us instance after instance of Christians rebuking other Christians with the scripture. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work- 2 Timothy 3:16-17. We also have examples of Christians using scripture to point out the behavior that damns the world to bring un-believers to Christ. Look at the Day of Pentecost for an example. Let’s quit letting the world set our standard, which amounts to letting Satan set our standards. Let us instead go to God to set our standards.