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by David A. DePra
     Jesus plainly stated that we are not to judge others. But
so often His words are used against Christians who are trying to
point out wrong in society. And it seems that so few Christians
know how to answer such objections.
     So what should you do if, upon seeing evil in the world, and
stating your convictions regarding it, you are told that you have no
business judging others? Are Christians to become mindless
people who can't tell the difference between good and evil? Is
this mindless condition something we are to strive for?
     First of all, there is a big difference between judging someone,
and discerning evil. The two are not the same at all. In
the Bible, the word "judge" is often a woeful translation of the
Greek word "katakrino." This word literally means "to judge
against." In other words, it really means "to condemn." But there
is another Greek word, "krino," which is often translated
"to discern." "Krino" literally means "to separate." Or, to put it
more clearly, it means "to separate the good from the bad."
     These two words aptly show the contrast between judging
someone, which God forbids, and discerning, which God desires.
"To judge" means to condemn. It means to render a sentence
against someone as if you are God. And "to judge," the way
Jesus forbade it, is always a product of a bad attitude. It stems
from never having seen that you are as needy as the one whom
you are condemning. "To discern," however, carries no
desire to see someone "get what is coming to them." True
discernment doesn't condemn at all. It simply sees things as they
really are, with the mind of Christ.
     True discernment carries no blinders. It sees evil. And it
confesses what it sees if the love of God dictates it. Don't think
that the love of God would avoid pointing out evil in society. Read
the gospels. Jesus continually upbraided the Pharisees, yet He
said He judged (condemned) no man. Jesus knew the difference
between judging and discerning. He always discerned. He never
      Rather than be blind to evil, Christians will become more
sensitive to it -- if they are getting closer to God. Getting closer
to God and developing His mind will not make us less sensitive to
sin. It will make us more sensitive to sin. And it will give us the
ability to discern things the way God discerns them -- clearly, but
in love.
     The book of Hebrews gives us a verse which tells us that
it is God's will for us to discern the difference between good and

But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age,

even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised

to discern both good and evil. (Heb. 5:14)

     It is a mark of Christian maturity to discern the difference
between good and evil. It is also a greater mark of maturity, that
having discerned that difference, to be able to stand in the love of
God regarding it. God wants us to discern. But He tells us we
must not condemn.

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