Every now and then, God does a deep work in the church, testing the love level, and dealing with all of our hearts. Occasionally situations arise in any church that could easily cause the members to judge and criticize each other. But these are often God’s doing to shake us loose from our own self righteousness and cause us to reach into Him to appropriate more love for one another.
When a brother or sister in Christ does something wrong, if we love them, that love can deal with the problem and cover it so there is not an overreaction, and the person can be restored in a spirit of meekness and love. If on the other hand, they are exposed and viciously criticized, this will bring a defiling effect upon the whole church, and irreparable damage to a brother or sister in Christ.
It’s interesting that the Lord Jesus did not have too much to say about some of the things that we consider to be “big sins.” He was known to keep company with ex-prostitutes, ex-publicans and ex-sinners of all types. He was criticized by the clergy of His day for His willingness to associate with them. But it was these very people he called to walk beside Him in His ministry, while bypassing the legalistic Pharisees altogether.
Jesus could be found rescuing an adulteress from her self-appointed judges and jury, but He didn’t associate much with the learned seminarians and “religious” men of His day. What could they understand about love, mercy, grace and forgiveness? They were too bound up in their rules and rituals to understand the Love of God, even when they were face to face with Him.
The Lord wants us to have beautiful spirits toward Him and toward each other. Sometimes those who fall into various sins of the flesh have sweeter spirits toward God than those who judge them, because although they have acted carnally and foolishly, they may have repented of the wrong and it is under the blood. They are not the ones who are breaking the Lord’s commandment to love the brethren.
Instead of judging, when faced with the temptation to do so, let’s lift up that brother or sister who has stumbled and ask God to restore them, heal them and bring them into proper relationship with Him.