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What Christians Get Wrong About Judgment

What Christians Get Wrong About Judgment

Days after posting about her recent baptism, makeup mogul Kat Von D had a message to share with her Instagram followers.

“It was really the Christians who were the worst,” said the Miami Ink star. “It was really just sad to see this critical display of judgment from Christians, and I don’t understand what would inspire that, aside from something that’s more egoic, because that isn’t Christlike, to judge people or judge people’s journey.”

While she clarified a majority of the comments were positive, Von D noticed enough judgment from Christians in response to her post to address the negativity.

And she’s not the only one getting judgment from online Christians. Recently, Lana Del Rey addressed a Christian influencer who claimed the “Summertime Sadness” singer relied on witchcraft to further her career.

“I know the Bible verse by verse better than you do,” responded Del Rey, who has frequently been spotted at Churchome and featured pastor Judah Smith on her latest album.

Unfortunately, celebrities aren’t the only ones facing judgment from other Christians. Whether we admit it or not, as a society, we love to judge others — and often not in healthy ways. But we all hate it when others judge us.

As Christians, we can already be a tad resistant to Scripture shaping us, but we really don’t like it when another person uses Scripture against us. 

However, when done well, feedback from others is an essential part of the process of being made like Christ. It is not only my responsibility to confront the sin of a brother or sister, it is also my responsibility to be approachable as other brothers and sisters confront me in the same way (Matthew 18:15).

Before the Great Wall of China goes up (also known as your defenses), I recognize that this is a terrifying thought to so many Christians. It is terrifying because we have miserably failed in this area so often. Horror stories abound of the abuse of brothers and sisters in Christ at the hands of other brothers and sisters in Christ, done in the name of “calling out sin.”

One of the biggest concerns that accompanies this is discerning who to approach. Should I approach someone I have no relationship with, that I believe to be in sin and call them to repentance? No. I should only call to repentance those in the body around me, and in the same way, I should be called to repentance by the body around me, as well.

Relationship is the anchoring context. 

In the context of loving relationship with others, there are two questions that have to be answered as we think about judgment:

  1. What is a Christian’s role in judging other Christians? And, 
  2. What is a Christian’s response to being judged by other Christians?

You can’t have one without the other.


In Matthew 7, Jesus seems to answer this question easily with “don’t judge unless you want to be judged” (7:1). However, further down in the same chapter, Jesus says we “will know them by their fruit” (7:20), meaning that we will look at the actions of others and see what they are. To some, it may seem like a bit of a contradiction.

Jesus was not only concerned with the actions of a lost world—a thing that Christians tend to focus on so narrowly. Jesus is also about the heart. His heart yearns for the hearts of people who know Him to be regenerated. He recognizes that our motives must be aligned with His motives to achieve heaven coming to earth.

When I am asked to remove the log from my eye before I remove the speck from my brother’s eye (7:5), my motives are being purified. I am still called to remove that speck in my brother’s eye, but only after my actions and my own reason for doing it is clear. The only acceptable reason: restoration.

Matthew 18:15-17 lays out how I am supposed to confront someone that chooses sin. This can only be accomplished if my end game is to call that person to repentance and restore them to the Church. If I come to someone simply to point out their wrongdoing because of some twisted sense of justice, I am the one who is wrong. 

Christians should call other Christians to repentance from sin, as long as they have a relationship with each other and the goal is to restore, not condemn.


Part of the reason judging has been so thoroughly mishandled is because we have focused heavily on giving and not receiving. What does it mean to humbly and openly receive a call from another person to repentance and restoration when I sin?

Let’s face it, no one likes to be told that what they are doing is wrong. Even if we know it’s wrong, we generally are not skipping through fields and picking daisies at the thought of being confronted. It’s humiliating and even infuriating at times.

“Don’t judge me” has become the battle cry for many Christians who have no desire to be confronted about the things they suspect or maybe even know are wrong.

There is a key word in Matthew 18:15 worth noting. That word is listen. It’s a helpful way to disarm our knee jerk reaction to feel defensive when someone tells us we are wrong.

We live in a time where disagreement is often interpreted as hatred. The next time someone disagrees with you, take a moment to pause.Remember, it takes guts to confront, and many people do it with good intentions. Even if we don’t agree with what’s being said to us, try listening and entertaining the ideas being shared—and then weigh that in light of Scripture.

The Bible says no one is perfect. We know we are not perfect.
With that in mind, taking the time to entertain others’ input, feedback, and even disagreement may help us grow in the end. And as we embrace a humility that calls us to repentance, we draw closer to others, and closer to God — that’s reconciliation.

Editor’s note: A version of this article appeared in 2013.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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