Thank God For Preachers, Elders (and other judgmental people)

The term “judgmental” is given two basic definitions by Webster and other dictionaries. The first is “having or pertaining to the use of judgment.” The second is “characterized by the tendency to judge harshly.” Included in this is the idea of making moral, ethical or spiritual judgments about the actions of others. Preachers and elders and some Christians are often accused of being judgmental, as though this is a bad thing. Since making judgments is about thinking a certain way, this subject fits nicely in our study of thoughtfulness.

Interestingly enough, God also includes teaching about these areas of judgment in scripture.

(1)    God condemns harsh and hypocritical judgment (Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 2:1). Brothers and sisters, hypocrisy and unloving accusations are always wrong even when the content of the accusation is right.

(2)    But God encourages us to use judgment (good judgment) in the everyday affairs of life. For example, in Hebrews 5:13-14, we are to become skilful in putting God’s word into use in our everyday life. God wants us to “have our senses exercised to discern between good and evil.” That is, he wants us to have discernment or good judgment about what is good and what is evil.

(3)    God also wants us to make judgments about the moral, ethical and spiritual condition of others. Paul said that he made the judgment that people in the world are lost (2 Cor 5:14). And, in 1 Corinthians 5:2, he rebukes the Corinthian brethren about not making the of the sinfulness of one of their members. He then says in verses 3-5 that he had made the judgment about the sinfulness of this person and their proper punishment. He then proceeds in verses 9-11 that we must make judgments about people in sin, even the sins of railing (judging when someone intends to hurt another with words) and covetous. Paul further exhorts us to make judgments about someone who has been caught by any sin and to restore them (Galatians 6:1).

Thus, I say, thank God for the preachers, elders and Christians with the courage to make judgments about others’ sins and the love to rebuke it. Rather than considering such men as “judgmental,” let’s glorify God for their thoughtfulness in following God and trying to save us.

Mike Glenn