Home christian living When Christians Should Judge One Another

When Christians Should Judge One Another

by Kelly Crawford


Wanna get someone really mad at you really fast? Judge. Say that something is a sin. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that person is doing. We have never lived in a time more hostile than calling something wrong.

It’s the favorite line on social media: “Judge not.”

Consider just one example: abortion. There are campaigns to normalize murder because people do not want to be told they are wrong. About anything.


Making judgments is something all of us have to do consistently. When you get a ticket for speeding the police officer is judging your behavior and penalizing you for it. If you try to stop a man from beating up his wife, you are making a judgment that what he is doing is wrong and you are calling him out on it. You hope the thief is judged for breaking into your house. So by definition, we are slightly inconsistent when we pick and choose the actions we deem acceptable for judging. (For example: all the incidents I mentioned involve hurting another person. But yet, so does abortion. But if you try to make that connection, you will be thrown the “judge not” card swiftly and with hostility.)

But let me talk to Christians about Christians.

My friend shared her broken heart with me this week as she told the story of how she had gone, trembling and with great love, to a close (Christian) friend to confront her of a heinous, sexual sin in her life. She lost the friend who accused her of “judging.” (Dear Lord, please make me humble enough to see the love it takes for a friend to confront me over something that will destroy me!)

Scripture could not be more clear that we are responsible for judging within the church.

From 1 Corinthians:

“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you…And you are proud!  Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?….Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are.

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

Paul’s words cause the hair on our necks to stand up today. “But we aren’t to judge!” is our favorite phrase because it’s easy.  Paul says, we ARE to judge. “But we all sin–we can’t judge!” Yes we do.  But understanding sin as the Bible speaks of it is crucial. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Yet the Bible commands us to “not sin.”  Is that a contradiction?

No. Sin is to be abhorred by a child of God.  And yet, none of us is without sin. The difference? It should hurt us (David describes even physical pain from unrepentant sin), it should grieve us, and we should do all we can to avoid it (“If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off.”) When we do sin, we repent quickly.

So to commit sin and hate it and repent of it is entirely different than to comfortably live in it and justify it.  That difference must be distinguished in order for us to live in accordance with God’s Word.

We aren’t called to judge the church because we are sinless, but because having the spirit of His redeemed, we are commanded to hate sin and judge it.

And why then is it so important–this urging from Paul to the church? It seems so harsh!  But, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Our very love of the Bride of Christ–His people–should compel us to follow His provisions for protecting her.

“But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

Oswald Chambers brings more clarity to this issue:

“None of us liveth to himself.” Romans 14:7.

“Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible for other souls spiritually before God? For instance, if I allow any private deflection from God in my life, everyone about me suffers. We “sit together in heavenly places.” “Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it.” When once you allow physical selfishness, mental slovenliness, moral obtuseness, spiritual density, everyone belonging to your crowd will suffer. “But,” you say, “who is sufficient for these things if you erect a standard like that?” “Our sufficiency is of God,” and of Him alone.”  -Oswald Chambers

Sin is serious. My unrepentant, stubborn sin will taint the church of God and cause others to stumble. And not only will I give an answer, but those who did not love me enough to gently rebuke me and call me to repentance.

Sin forced Jesus to the excruciating cross.  To the children of God, our love for His immeasurable grace should constrain us from the love and pursuit of sin.

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving….Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not become partners with them;  or at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”  Ephesians 5:3-8

I wanted to add an important note:

In Matthew, Jesus gives specific instructions on dealing with sin in the church.  It should be noted that Paul’s admonition would surely presuppose the action Jesus tells believers to take in Matthew 18:

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’  If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

What a beautiful thing when we are humble enough to receive rebuke and correction, and recognize it as the most loving thing a person can do for us.

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Kelly L February 15, 2011 - 2:35 pm

Awesome! Judge not lest you be judged is telling us to have an area in order before addressing it in another’s life. NOT to let someone continue in sin because we have done it once. It is telling us to not live in sin so we can show light and help others out of it.

Judging sin for sin is not bad, nor is it acting like God. If we began to condemn the person, that we cross a dangerous line. We should live in a manner that when we bring someone’s attention to their own sin, they have to take it in love like we meant. Also, so that they cannot reject the truth by focusing on our sins…

republicanmother February 15, 2011 - 3:35 pm

I was in a church was sin went unaddressed. The pastor and deacons turned a blind eye and didn’t want to stir up trouble. The woman causing the bulk of the problems (I really don’t think she was all there) pretty much ran our church into the ground. God gave me the courage to use Matthew 18, and one conversation saying she needed to make things right with people gave us a few months peace. Sadly the problem was more deep-seeded in that church and I had to leave, but am glad I got to practice godly church discipline and see it actually work. So few Christians have actually seen this procedure in practice. Gone are the days when churches had sergeants-at-arms at the doors and would “church” people for card-playing, etc. Now, it’s gone the other direction and the church has become pathetically desperate in allowing anything with a pulse to be a member in good standing.

Word Warrior February 15, 2011 - 4:12 pm


You haven’t replied at all to the post. None of your questions even make sense as it regards the posts message.

If you wish to discuss it, then discuss it. Explain to me what Paul/God’s Word is saying. It is not *me* you are calling hypocritical. I haven’t stated my opinion in this post. I have quoted from Scripture the job of the church as it relates to unrepentant sin among members. Are you a believer?

Lori February 15, 2011 - 4:16 pm

Well, if missing the point were an Olympic sport, “Jenny” would take home the gold. Bravo.

“So to commit sin and hate it and repent of it is entirely different than to comfortably live in it. That difference must be distinguished in order for us to live in accordance with God’s Word.”

Kelly L February 15, 2011 - 4:28 pm

It is easier to lash out at a person when Holy Spirit convicts than it is to receive the discipline from God.

Word Warrior February 15, 2011 - 5:18 pm

I’m curious too…did you read the post? The Scripture passages? And then is it the quote from Paul or Jesus that you can’t stomach?

I Live in an Antbed February 15, 2011 - 5:24 pm

I think we get really hung up on the word: judge. “Judgmental” people are ones who set themselves up as those who will pass judgment on others, and that is from a spirit of pride. To judge the fruit of a life is to seek discernment into a situation for His Purposes. There is nothing in it, if it is done correctly, that is not intended to bring healing and reconciliation. Finding oneself in a position requiring us to “judge” should always be bathed in prayer asking for humility, discernment, and love to cover every word spoken. When done correctly, much good can be accomplished, but it is up to the “recipient” how it will be received.

Word Warrior February 15, 2011 - 6:15 pm

You’re so right. The word “judge” has been so vilified, DESPITE the fact it is the very language of Scripture, that we can’t get past it. In truth, as you said, this type of judging the church is called to is the ONLY loving thing to do to a fellow brother or sister.

I’m so thankful I am under the authority of a church that obeys Scripture, where the elders and others love me so much they would do anything to “pull me back from sin”. When one has seen how true “judging” and church discipline works, its driving force of love cannot be denied.

I Live in an Antbed February 15, 2011 - 6:35 pm

And, honestly, there are many times when a person called to speak to someone in sin simply doesn’t want to obey. And so they use the “judge not” verse to justify their direct disobedience to speak Life and Truth into a situation. As always, we must look at the motives of our hearts. Are we concerned for our reputation or His?

Amanda February 15, 2011 - 11:26 pm

Wonderful post, Kelly, and I so agree with this comment re: judging. I’ve been thinking lately: it’s pretty obvious in my mind that only God can judge, because ultimately only HE can pass any sentence/punishment. It falls to us to decide: for which side will we be the attorney? Arguing the side of right as Scripture presents it? Or not?

Jessica February 15, 2011 - 7:32 pm

I have found this topic very frustrating at times because when trying to explain to someone that we make judgments every day whether it is someone’s hair style or their choice of clothes, we find that perfectly acceptable. But when it comes to the Word of God, I guess there is a whole other set of rules to follow (which I am unaware of).

Scripture is twisted and taken out of context to make a point. I thought you put this beautifully. I have recently begun a deeper relationship with a woman at church for the accountability reason. I want to know when I am in sin so I can repent and draw closer to God in obedience.

God really DOES know how things work best and if we follow His guidelines and direction, we can “have our best life now”. Sorry, that was out of line…lol. I had to throw that absurdity in there. Our best life will be in the presence of our Redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Chelsey February 15, 2011 - 9:38 pm

Excellent Kelly!!! This is one of the biggest pet peeves (I guess you would call it that), that my husband and myself both have – the whole “do not judge” verse being taken completely out of context and misapplied.

So convicting the words of Oswald Chambers are. Thank you for sharing!!

Uzeno February 15, 2011 - 11:47 pm

I often don’t agree with Kelly, and indeed we’ve been at odds, but this is inappropriate, Jenny.

cookie February 16, 2011 - 12:17 am

Sounds to me like you’re just using scripture to justify gossiping and smearing a person’s good name. Do you know those things becuase these sinners have told you? Becuase you’ve observed these things? Or is this just idle words spoken and repeated?

Word Warrior February 16, 2011 - 8:44 am


You can’t “gossip and smear someone’s good name” when you haven’t used a name. These “things” are being lived openly for all to see. Which is my point. Paul, not I, said, it is to “our shame” when we allow those professing to be brothers and sisters to live in open, unrepentant sin. It is also THE MOST unloving thing we can do for said brothers and sisters! It’s akin to watching them drink a fatal poison but not trying to stop them because we “don’t want to judge”.

Paul said this failure to address it will corrupt the church. The Bible says what it says. You can’t be upset with ME about that. If you are, admit that you simply hate Christianity and that you hate God’s Word because it doesn’t reinforce your feelings. But don’t read what Paul writes and then blame me for it.

It is our duty to uphold what Scripture says or it will be our downfall.

Jennifer February 17, 2011 - 12:50 pm

Besides, Paul was great with discretion. He also made a big clarification between the discipline of people who deliberately sinned and those who made sincere mistakes (false doctrine, namely).

Emily B. February 16, 2011 - 7:32 am

Wonderful post Kelly! Thanks for sharing.
Oh so sadly, it seems, that we are in a time where nothing can be questioned or challenged.
We as Believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, are called to be different. We are called out of darkness and into His light. His Bride should strive to be different\to live different than the world in every way, by the power of His Spirt.
It saddens my heart to see (IMO) that the very people who strive to follow Christ with their whole hearts are the very ones who are attacked the most. That should bring us comfort, though, because it lines up with what Scripture teaches.
We all as sisters in Christ need to be challenged. Thank you for challenging us in your ministry for His glory.

sixarrows February 16, 2011 - 8:45 am

We decided to stop visiting a nearby church because they had “Christian rock music” (an oxymoron) one Sunday a month.
The pastor called my husband and said he understands we have
“different interpretaions” about worship.
church to the world’s music? We are not to look like the world!

Yes, we are to “judge”. Absolutely!

Katie Grace February 16, 2011 - 9:03 am

Did God not create music? Is it not the WORLD that has hijacked music and turned it into something that does not glorify God? Just like other things that God created for our pleasure (sex, food,etc), man has found a way to corrupt it.

You may have different “prefrences” when it comes to musical style, but just because music is more contemporary sounding (Christian Rock) that does not mean it’s sinful. No type of music is specified in scripture or in the early church. Traditional church music is not what is found in scripture either. Traditional hymns were written by man and were new at one time. I believe that we as Christians give too much over to the world. We must be very careful about what we call “sin”. I have found no where in scripture where musical style in worship is listed as a sin.

Kelly L February 16, 2011 - 1:03 pm

If this were FB, I’d ‘like’ this. Great points!

Michelle February 16, 2011 - 9:02 am

I agree with very little Kelly says, but no matter what your beliefs, this is not how you should judge anyone. I do think there is a place for loving judgment that is in the person’s best interest (for instance, telling a friend who drinks too much that you’re concerned for their well-being), but it’s always important to keep in mind that the harshest judgment – “With such a man do not even eat” – may have the opposite effect that you intend. An all-caps message about someone’s own transgression doesn’t bring them to see things from your perspective; instead, it fosters defensiveness and helps no one. In the same way, refusing to interact with someone who you believe is living comfortably in sin is not a way to convince them of the error of their ways. If you truly want the best for them, you need to judge them in such a way that they can understand your good intentions, instead of simply seeing someone who “just doesn’t get it” and ignoring you completely.

Sarah February 16, 2011 - 9:31 am

Well said. I might add as well that one of the wonderful gifts Jesus gave us when he died on the cross is that we are free from the power of sin and need not sin. One of the defining characteristics of those who believe is that they walk in the light. We are, by His spirit within us, able to be holy as our father in heaven is holy. We live under a new heritage, a new law, and a new life within. We need not sin. We acquire this reality only by cold blooded faith that God said it was so and so we live as though it is. Paul told the jews in Romans that this way by faith is superior to their law which worked by principles, how to steps and self effort; not by faith. When we sin, it is revealed we do not believe the basic purpose of Jesus death, his resurection and his gift of the empowering holy spirit, Jesus death was for nothing and we grieve the holy spirit.
May we appropriate as daughters and sons His power to be holy so the world will see Him as He is.
Thanks for writing this post.

Regina Murphy February 16, 2011 - 9:45 am

I went to a Bible/book study in which we looked at what it truly meant to love one another. One of the leaders said something that has forever changed and challenged my heart. He said, “tolerance is hating your brother.” He went on to explain that the world preaches tolerance – meaning turn a blind eye to all of the bad things that people do, don’t “judge” them – mainly so they won’t judge you in your sin. But, loving our brother means carrying their burdens and calling them out of sin in love. We cannot turn a blind eye if we truly love them. Sin is pulling us further away from God and further down a path of pain and destruction. If we sit idly by and say nothing as our friends drive off a cliff how can we call ourselves friends, or Christians for that matter? Yet, everyday we hold our tongues and say nothing as we watch people plunge into sin. It is our loving duty as brother and sisters to tell them the Truth in love, and then allow them to respond as they choose. Our responsibility is to bring it to their attention, then they must choose whether or not to change. If they do not change, we must continue to pray for them but allow them to go their own way. Paul’s words sound harsh, but they are actually loving. 2 Corinthians 7 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Worldly sorrow comes from going our own way and not repenting of our sins. Godly sorrow comes from realizing our sin and how it has pulled us away from our loving Savior’s grace. Thank you for this post. It is not popular, but the truth rarely is.

Sarah February 16, 2011 - 9:55 am

These are good points, Kelly. We must also take note of how scripture tells us to correct our brothers and sisters. So often, churches ignore the first command–to go to him in private–and their judgement feeds gossip and slander.
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18: 15-22)

Word Warrior February 16, 2011 - 10:19 am

Thank you, Sarah. I was actually going to add the very thing you brought up. There is a correct, loving way to approach church discipline, and I feel sure that Paul’s admonition here would come after that approach has been taken.

Church discipline is always motivated by love, with the goal being restoration. That shouldn’t offend us at all–that should bring us comfort!

Jen P. February 16, 2011 - 11:13 am


This post can segue into another important factor: Biblical church government. So many churches reject the Biblical model of elders and councils (or if they have those offices, reject the instructions for choosing elders) and adopt a corporate business model instead. They hold a low view of church membership, and the “leaders” are more like accountants and foremen than shepherds.


Word Warrior February 16, 2011 - 2:13 pm

Such great points, Jen. You’re right.

Word Warrior February 16, 2011 - 2:56 pm


Just to clear up your misunderstandings….these are examples I’ve heard about from people all over the country–not just “my neck of the woods”. There is no intention to reveal anyone’s identity. And even when I give examples, I change things up (gender, etc) to make them unidentifiable (in this case I won’t give specifics for the very purpose of preserving the anonymousness). On a side note, these events are so common, they could be used as hypotheticals. For example, even one of the incidents I cited here apply to two or three different situations I know about, in several different states.

Furthermore, these are not secretive events I’m posting. You can’t be accused of libel if the actions being described have been made public knowledge by the participants.

Alexis C. February 16, 2011 - 2:57 pm

Truth is the best defense against libel. But if these aren’t people you know personally, then you still don’t know 100 percent if their stories are true, unless someone’s shown you a signed copy of a confession or something. As we say in journalism, “If your grandmother tells you she loves you, check it out.” It’s impossible to be too careful, both for your sake and for others’.

However, I’m glad to hear that you change identifying details. You might want to add that info in the future, so that you don’t inadvertently give the impression that you’re discussing people you know at your own church.

Lori February 16, 2011 - 4:02 pm

Alexis, if you actually read (not skimmed) the post you’d see that one would have to assume any people were members “at (her) own church” since in the very second sentance Kelly wrote “One of the members…in a church,” again, that’s “in A church.” There is no indication whatsoever that she is speaking of her own church, and one must make any more specific leap on their own. How about giving a writer the benefit of the doubt that she used discretion? (that’s a rhetorical question, in case you only skimmed).

Lori February 16, 2011 - 4:04 pm

Oh yeah, and then she also wrote “active members of their church” which also certainly does not imply Kelly’s church.

Alexis C. February 16, 2011 - 5:00 pm

Lori, I don’t think that any of those statements preclude the church from being Kelly’s. (As she’s clarified to me in private e-mails, it’s not.) Someone who is writing about a concern but doesn’t want to announce to everyone who read it WHERE it’s going on might very well write, “I know a church whose pastor is having an affair” or “I’m aware of a church whose praise and worship leader is an atheist.” Because to write, “MY pastor is having an affair” or “MY praise and worship leader is an atheist” would be extremely provoking!

Lori February 16, 2011 - 5:12 pm

Alexis –
“I don’t think that any of those statements preclude the church from being Kelly’s.”
–That’s true, but the issue is not what could be included (assumed), but what impression is given:

(Alexis) “you don’t inadvertently give the impression that you’re discussing people you know at your own church.”

–As I wrote: “one must make any more specific leap on their own.”

Lori February 16, 2011 - 4:26 pm

Kelly wrote – “And even when I give examples, I change things up (gender, etc) to make them unidentifiable”
–Regarding the flack you’ve taken here, and in other posts about using real life examples, I commend you for your graciousness in hiding revealing details of the people. However, in light of 1 Tim 5:20 I’d say that that’s more than you are required to do. Now, since we’re talking about the very open internet (w/ crazies) I absolutely agree you shouldn’t post info that could actually lead someone to the people involved, but I think that changing more than name and location is above and beyond. Very gracious, but not necessary. As several ladies have also pointed out, there is little that is biblical in the way the Church deals w/ sin in our culture. When sin is so rampant we can’t afford to be so delicate in our sensativities when dealing w/ sin (people yes, *depending on what you mean*, but not sin).

“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” 1 Tim 5:20

Word Warrior February 16, 2011 - 4:42 pm

Thanks, Lori. I agree. It has always seemed odd to me that people try to accuse of “slander” in cases where anonymous situations are given. Especially in these cases, where the participants themselves have chosen to disclose their private lives to the public ??? To be honest, I was using these anon. examples more as a “general reference” to the common practice of ignoring sin within the church. It could be anyone.

Alexis C. February 16, 2011 - 5:04 pm

Just to be clear, Kelly, I wasn’t accusing you of slander 🙂 (Or libel.) I just wanted to point out that just because a person isn’t named doesn’t mean that, by legal definition, they aren’t “identified.” (I want to say that in media law class, the standard was “if more than 20 people can tell who you’re talking about, then you better rethink your description,” but it was a long time ago, and that might have just been the law in my state!)

Word Warrior February 16, 2011 - 5:17 pm

Thanks for clarifying, Alexis. I guess the first comment (which I deleted) was what I was responding to in addition to others who have made similar assumptions in other posts.

Taryn February 16, 2011 - 8:29 pm

A good book is-Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement by Dan Lucarini(2002). Matthew 7:1,2,-Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge,ye shall be judged:and with what measure ye mete,it shall be measured to you again-means-that we can’t openly be harsh with someone’s sin when our Lord knows that we have that same sin. Now church discipline is another topic and many people have left our church because of this as they have refused to repent. Our church donates to a ministry for girls that are with child and are not married. Romans 8:28-“…all things work together for good to them that love God…” is for the repentant sinner not for the unrepentant sinner.

Kelly L February 16, 2011 - 11:34 pm


“Romans 8:28-‘…all things work together for good to them that love God…’ is for the repentant sinner not for the unrepentant sinner.”

I used to think that too, in fact, I used to say almost the exact wording. However, if you read the 2 following verses (by right of the word ‘for’), it is clear it applies to ALL those who claim Christ as their Savior. It is truly a mighty testimony of Christ’s grace!!! That He would work our junk for good despite us is the purest image of Christ.

Jenny S February 16, 2011 - 8:52 pm

Kelly, I think you did a wonderful job of clarifying the sin that we are called to judge and to deal with – unrepentant, continuous sin that is often visible to all, even occuring with a sense of pride as Bible calls it, at least to the point that the offender is unashamed and defensive of the acts. Obviously, we all sin, but we are called to seek forgiveness and turn immediately from that sin. That is what separates those sinners in these passages from those sinners called to judge. How we handle our sin is the issue here – whether we are saddened and changed by it, or continue in it knowingly, blatantly ignoring Christ’s call to strive for righteousness, no matter how often we fall.
I had a child out of wedlock, and a wonderful Christian woman from a church I had previously attended prayerfully and kindly spoke to me privately about God’s desire for my life, and what I knew to be true about the sin I was living in. Her handling of the situation in a Biblical manner full of love, called me to repent and changed my life. Turning back to God meant abstaining sexually from that point until marriage, seeking forgiveness from not only God, but also my daughter’s father for the sin I had done and also caused him to commit by not being pure in my physical relationship with him, and for changing the life he was comfortable in and had been led to expect to continue. For over a year, we had been attending a church where we felt “comfortable” in our sin, and I witnessed young girls and guys (and adults) that could justify their sin by looking around at what was being overlooked and condoned by teachers, volunteers, members, etc.
I tell this story to show how the Scriptures can be used to redeem and to glorify our wonderful God. My boyfriend and I did eventually marry, after abstaining for a year and a half while we prayed about where God wanted us. He is now a believer, we have 6 beautiful children, attend a wonderful church, and my experience led me to volunteer at a Christian crisis pregnancy center where I could relate to, and, with empathy, help women physically and spiritually.
The most important reason TO judge is because we are called to love, and love means always wanting what is best for that person. So, out of love should come a challenge to sin in a life, and not allowing it to go unchecked to affect the lives around it.

Word Warrior February 16, 2011 - 9:29 pm

Beautifully said, beautiful story! Grace and Love in its purest form said, “Go…and sin no more.”

Cayce February 17, 2011 - 12:24 am

I read your blog regularly and find it to be very encouraging. I have never commented before, but felt compelled to do so today after the earlier comment from the woman who called you a hypocrite. Not that you need it, but I wanted to give you a word of encouragement in light of that vitriol. You quote INSPIRED verses written by the apostle Paul, and I think it is important for us to remember that he wrote those words years after he watched over the cloaks of those who stoned Steven. Would the woman who called you a hypocrite call the apostle Paul one, too? I know that I am stating the obvious, but all of the epistles of Paul and all of his missionary journeys came after his earlier life of persecuting the church. Did this make his later teachings hypocritical? Of course not. Because of the intervention of Christ and the aid of Ananias, Paul repented and changed his life. In the church today, we often say we forgive, but when we are convicted by the words of someone who has had a first-hand and very public experience with sin and the grace and forgiveness of God, we try to intimidate and shush him by reminding him – and everyone else – of his prior sin. What if Paul had successfully been so “shushed?” Those of us who have sinned in a very public manner may possibly have a deeper understanding and appreciation of God’s grace, and also – unfortunately – a deeper understanding of the inability of some Christians to ever forgive us at all, even after our true repentance. Fianlly, I am interested in the woman’s comment that she worries for your soul. Very telling. It appears to me that while she is accusing you of being a hypocrite for what she considers to be a judgemental attitude on your part, she is obviously “judging” you. Interesting. I appreciate your blog and find it to be very solid.

Word Warrior February 17, 2011 - 10:09 am


I so appreciate your taking the time to comment and noting the obvious truth. It is encouraging as my flesh is prone to defeat just like anyone else’s.

Ultimately, I think we have to realize that commenters like “Jenny” don’t have a problem with ME, they have a problem with the gospel.

It helps me to remember how Jesus saw this over and over in his day. The true gospel, the all-encompassing understanding of who God is, what He has done and what He requires is repulsive to all those who “have been blinded by the enemy of this age”. But to those whose eyes have been opened, it is beautiful and irresistible!

Kelly L February 16, 2011 - 11:34 pm

Well put!

Tabitha February 17, 2011 - 11:51 am

Hi, Kelly,
You and I have a dear friend in common., L. Burnham. She is my Spiritual mother. I love her dearly. I was thrilled to hear she and her dear family had an opportunity to visit with you. She has all the best doors open to meet such precious people of the Lord.

Kelly the reason I am posting to you now is because you post today hit to close for comfort. I am uncomfortable with sharing my testimony on here because I have many who know me read it. But here goes a brief version. Years ago after 13 yrs. of domestic abuse, porneia of a type I WILL NOT MENTION because it was unthinkable sin. Then a threat to kill me, I fled for protection for me and my three children. I stayed and would still be in that marriage had he not refused council and filed for divorce. He divorced me and abandon me. Now Glory to God, All of the prayers I ever prayed for a marriage have been answered through my husband C. C and I have been married for alomost four yrs. now. I moved to his home town hrs away from our dear friend L. It has been tough here. My sweet teen daughter has had trouble making friend in the homeschool group to our confusion. Well it came to the surface two weeks ago. A dear lady trying to minister to us said “Let me ask you this…You were married previously right, as some of your children have your former last name? Is that a factor at all?” After much open debate and loveful discussion then quoted the same script you did today. “1 Corinthians 5

Immorality Defiles the Church

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”” She was even nice to give me a link to a website that believes in no exception for divorce.
My dear sweet forgiven and redeemed family would be put out of their church and basically several other homeschool members churchs. This so breaks my heart. They see us as living in continous sin.

I just feel the script needs careful use. Because we tend to lump everyone together.

Thank you for reading my long letter.
Much love to you and yours.

Word Warrior February 17, 2011 - 4:32 pm


Thank you for sharing your painful story. Are you saying that a woman used these verses *against* you?

Jennifer February 17, 2011 - 12:48 pm

Excellent, Kelly. Jesus never says to isolate ourselves from sinners, but people who CALL themselves Christians and deliberately sin are different. Hence why Jesus spent time with prostitutes, but went into a raging fury with the hypocritical pharisees.

Tabitha February 18, 2011 - 7:14 am

Yes. I want to be cautious with saying that, but yes. She gave these scripts as a reason for some of the families for not welcoming us or making friends with us. They do not want to appear to their children that they agree with my situation.
That hurts.

Word Warrior February 18, 2011 - 10:31 am

A classic case of the misuse of Scripture–I’m so sorry! Paul makes it crystal clear that he is referring to UNREPENTANT sin…those who profess Christ and participate as such in the church, but refuse to give up a lifestyle of sin.

Cathy February 18, 2011 - 9:25 pm


RUN, don’t walk, to another homeschool group and/or church…one that welcomes sinners saved by the grace of a loving God. I always tell my kids that if people REALLY knew me, NO ONE would like me. BUT, thanks be to God for the unmerited favor and grace that He has LAVISHED on His undeserving children, and calls us His own.

You were worth a son to God. Don’t ever forget that.


Word Warrior February 19, 2011 - 10:01 am

Amen, Cathy.

Nicole February 18, 2011 - 5:57 pm

Excellent job at addressing an issue that the modern church often chooses to ignore. As churches try to be more “seeker sensitive”, we avoid Biblical concepts like church discipline because they make us feel “insensitive”. It is shocking the backlash that one can receive for quoting scripture directly, and I applaud your Biblical stance.

We just left a seeker-sensitive church that shouted “don’t judge”, and it was our different lifestyle that was often all it took to make people feel “judged” (even if we never said anything). We have only found 4 churches in our city of one million that practice church discipline (though more must be out there, we hope!)

I hope that when I am misdirected, I have a sister in Christ who loves me enough to confront my sin and caringly redirect me. May God bless you abundantly for pointing to the truth in a culture of people who only want to “have their ears tickled” by a feel good message about a non-judgemental god.

Dawn February 18, 2011 - 11:01 pm

Great post, I agree 100%. These are all things we have discussed many times as a family. I’m so sorry to see that you have been attacked by professing Christians…be encouraged to know you are being used by the Holy Spirit.

I do have a question though, when the person who claims to be a Christian is a family member, how do you handle it? There are people who we would visit but now that we have a little one, I no longer feel we should be around these people since they claim to be Christians and their lives are actually anti-Christ. Hope that makes sense!

Thanks for your post, it’s nice to know there are like-minded folks out there. ;0)

Carmen February 22, 2011 - 12:31 pm

I have a few questions. Whose job is it in the church to confront the unrepentant “believers”? I put that in quotes, because they may or may not be true believers. For example: If there is a family in your church, and it is known among families who are close to this family that the husband is treating the wife and children poorly, should anything be said? Let’s say that the wife is in a state of very poor health and needing medical attention in order to improve, but he and the children are not helpful towards her. Let’s say friends of this woman have volunteered to sit with her and help with her medication, but they have been told to leave. How would a fellow believer who cares about this woman go about making this situation known? When it comes to how a man runs his family, it seems to be a “hush-hush” situation among believers. Even when someone’s life might be at risk. I always hear the phrase, “God is sovereign, and He may be working in this family in a way that you are unaware, even if the Mom dies, He will work His good plan.” I believe that God is sovereign, but I am at a loss to think that we as believers shouldn’t report this to the church and have the pastor and elders address this issue. It seems to me that there is such a fine line between knowing when to say something and when not to say something. Also, I have seen where many men who are believers know that there is something sinful going on in another family, but they will not say anything. Is it right for the women to say something to their pastor,etc.?

D, September 4, 2018 - 12:00 am

As always, Kelly, I love how bold and unapologetic you are for speaking the truth of God’s word. It may “feel” more convenient to tip-toe around sinful issues and preserve ourselves, but it’s not the loving thing to do. I am reminded of another biblical passage from James 5, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back,let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

In this case, the one who has sought to bring his brother back HAS to make a judgement, but not one based on our own opinions or convictions….one based on God’s Word. You can absolutely tell which believers are loving their sin and angry to be corrected and which ones were unaware or simply needed a loving reminder.

MC September 10, 2018 - 11:25 am

I always thought Paul was telling us to keep our own house in order, and not use others’ sin to build ourselves up or excuse our own.

That said… I’m currently wishing for more people to encourage one another in the ways of righteousness, instead of using imperfections to tear each other down. I’m well aware of my own sins— I’m not very organized, I tire easily, I struggle daily with anxiety and depression, I’m a socially awkward introvert (which some liken to being touched by Satan). It’s hard to keep picking myself up to try again today, when all I can hear in my heart is the voices of judgment— NOT GOOD ENOUGH, NOT GOOD ENOUGH, THERE’S MORE TO DO AND YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH. NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR AMERICA, NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THIS NEIGHBORHOOD, NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR MY SON, NOT GOOD ENOUGH…

Negative SEO September 19, 2018 - 2:23 pm

very good

Sylvie Krossin October 1, 2018 - 1:22 pm Reply

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