When I hear a member of a local body of believers – a church – say something to the effect of, “you’re judging me” or “judge not lest you be judged”, it gives me great pause. I’m talking about when one believer holds another believer accountable. The intent of accountability among followers of Jesus is not to judge one another. Nay, it’s to help one another. It’s to bring clarity in darkness. It’s to expose cancer that is eating you away. It’s one beggar helping another beggar find food.
As someone who has claimed Jesus as my Lord and Savior, being a “christian” is a declaration that I want to be made like Him, to live like Him, to act like Him, to speak like Him, to think like Him. I do not want to walk in sin, live in hypocrisy or willfully do anything that continues to bring offense to my God and my King. When I am caught in the trap of willful or unrepentant sin (or even unconscious sin), I WANT my brother (or sister) to come to me with the Word of God and lovingly point out where my behavior does not match that of my Savior. That’s not judgment – that’s LOVE!
This act of love should bring me to repentance and confession, filling me with joy and fulfillment…not anger, bitterness or contempt. It should not bring me to lash out and accuse my brother or sister of judging me nor of being a hypocrite.
When I am the one that observes sinful behavior or questionable motives in another brother or sister, the Bible instructs me to FIRST take the log out of my own eye…keep my own sinful heart free of sinful cancer FIRST, and then I will be able to see clearly through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to take the speck out of my brother’s eye. I want my surgeon to have rest (and coffee) before he starts operating on me or my loved ones. I want the chef to have clean hands before he prepares my meal. And I want my beloved friends in Christ to have clean hearts when they come to expose sin in my own heart.
This is what it means to be the body of Christ…the family of God. This is why we covenant together with a body of believers…for love, encouragement, support and accountability. We don’t want someone to just keep cheering even when we’re doing poorly and struggling. We need a coach or a teammate to step up and show us that we’re holding the bat or the club wrong, we’re positioning ourselves on the field in the wrong place, we’ve got our eye on the wrong opponent, our stance is incorrect or we’re missing the bigger picture on the whole field of play.
This separates those who are followers of Jesus from those who prayed a prayer for their “get out of hell free card” or joined a club for the benefits. This is what it looks like to be “being transformed into the image of His Son”.