1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7: 1-5)
Most people have construed this passage to mean that therefore we should not judge people at all.
John's Gospel clears up any confusion:
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." (John 7: 24)
"But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath
against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;" (Romans 2: 5)
Righteous judgment is what it's all about for the believer and the members of the Body of Christ.
First of all, the Holy Spirit living inside every believer convicts us. . . of righteousness:
"8And when he is come, he
will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9Of sin,
because they believe not on me; 10Of righteousness,
because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11Of judgment, because
the prince of this world is judged." (John 16: 8-11)
In the spirit of convicting the Corinthians of righteousness, Paul outlined to them why their behavior was reprehensible:
"15Know ye not
that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of
Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16What? know ye
not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall
be one flesh. 17But he that is
joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18Flee
fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that
committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19What? know ye
not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which
ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are
bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit,
which are God's." (1 Corinthians 6: 15-20)
"Know ye not, know ye not, know ye not". . .Paul did not lash at the Corinthians for what they did, but he reminded them of who they had become in Christ Jesus -- he convicted them of righteousness.
In the same spirit, Paul held Peter accountable:
"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was
to be blamed. 12For before that
certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come,
he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
13And the other Jews
dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with
their dissimulation. 14But when I saw
that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto
Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of
Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do
the Jews? " (Galatians 2: 11-14)
He was exhorting Peter to live according to the Life that was given to him, not giving in to the pressure of men. Paul later writes:
"Brethren, if a man
be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the
spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." (Galatians 6: 1)
The key word is "restore", which renders the original word meaning "adjust, or correct"-- in other words, bring him back to the righteous standing in which he stands, one of righteousness.
If men and women in the Body of Christ were skillful in righteousness (Hebrews 5: 13), then they would not be filled with fear or spite when confronting someone, but would be moved by truth in love to bring people to live out the life that is already within them.
When the motive is not "shame" but "reclaim", men and women in the Body of Christ will be more inclined to walk in the truth and to expect others to do the same.