So someone has asked me, “Are we as Christians commanded not to judge and therefore, we shouldn’t make judgments about homosexuals and their behavior?” Well they’re getting this particular claim about judging from Matthew 7 which of course is a very famous passage where Jesus says, “Judge not lest you also be judged.” Now of course, when you just hear that particular verse, you think, “Oh yeah, Jesus is saying ‘don’t judge,'” and so therefore, we shouldn’t judge. But as we say at Stand to Reason, “never read a Bible verse.” In other words, never just read a verse on its own. Never try to figure out what it means on its own. Always try to read the verses before and after to figure out the context because oftentimes, that will clarify what is actually being said. And so in this case, this is particularly important. Because Jesus, in this passage, says a lot more than just that. In fact, He goes on to say this: He goes, “How can you point out the speck of dust in your brother’s eye when you have a plank in your own eye?” He goes on to say, “So therefore, first take the plank out of your own eye. Then you’ll be able to see the speck of dust in your brother’s eye.” In other words, if you are guilty of committing a moral crime yourself, how can you then judge another person who’s guilty of that same crime, because this is a hypocritical type of judgment. And this is particularly what Jesus has in mind. The command to “not judge lest you also be judged” is a command to avoid hypocritical types of judgment. In other words, you should first stop doing that thing is wrong before you can turn to your brother and say, “Hey you too should also stop it as well.” So notice, this statement, “judge not lest you also be judged,” is not a command by Jesus to not judge, but rather, it’s an explanation of how to judge. And indeed, Jesus, and the Apostle Paul, and other biblical authors routinely make judgments about peoples’ behavior. So clearly, judging is permitted. Just in that one particular case of Matthew 7, Jesus is giving us some explanation of how to judge, not a command to not judge. Now, the command to judge needs to be nuanced a little bit more. And in first Corinthians 5, we see Paul give an example of this type of nuance. So here Paul is writing to the Corinthian church, and he’s talking about this person in the Church of Corinth who’s having sex with his stepmother, which of course is not only a sin, it’s gross, okay? And so Paul tells the Corinthians, “You need to judge this person and expell them from the church.” And he writes this: He says, “I have written to you not to associate with sexually immoral people. Not at all meeting the people of this world who are sexually immoral. In that case, you’d have to leave the world.” So notice what Paul is saying. He’s saying, “Look, I’m not saying to avoid and make judgments about sexually immoral people who are of this world, meaning non-Christians.” He says, “If you were to avoid those people and make judgments about their behavior, you’d have to leave the world. You’d have to move to Mars because so many people who are not Christians are engaged in sexual immorality.” And Paul is saying, “Look, we can’t expect non-Christians to act like Christians. We can’t put family rules on those people outside the family.” And so for that reason, Paul says, “Look, I’m not saying to make judgments about these people or to avoid relationships with them because of your judgments regarding their behavior because, again, they’re just people of the world. So who is it that Paul then is saying that we should make judgments about and therefore avoid relationships with? It continues to explain this in the very next verse. He says, “But now I’m writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of a brother (meaning anyone who claims to be Christian) who engages in sexual immorality.” He says, “We are not supposed to associate with that person, not even to eat with such a person.” So notice, Paul is saying don’t make judgments and avoid relationships with non-Christians, but do that with Christians. We’re supposed to make judgments about Christian behavior. Why? Because if you have a Christian who now falls under the jurisdiction of Scripture, who’s supposed to be following the commands of what Jesus says, and they’re saying, “Look, I know what Jesus says. I know the command of Scripture, but i’m going to thumb my nose at them and engage however I want to live.” Paul says, “This person is like a cancer in the church.” You just cannot leave them to go in an unrepentant manner within the church because this will spread like a cancer. And paul says, “You are supposed to judge that person and then eventually, if they don’t listen to the judgment, if they don’t respond to your call to repentance, then eventually we kick them out of the church.” Again, the intent is not to get rid of them, the intent is to call them back into repentance. So notice, Paul’s command to judge is regarding we’re supposed to judge Christians, not non-Christians, especially when it comes to sexual immorality. In fact, to make himself clear, Paul restates this principle in summary fashion in the verse after that. He says, “What business is that of mine to judge those outside the church? You are supposed to judge those within the church. God will judge those outside the church.” Now, am I saying that we should never say anything about homosexual behavior or say that it is wrong? No, not at all, okay? i’m not saying that. Obviously, there’re instances where I’m having conversations with people, and the subject of homosexuality comes up, and they might ask me about my views, and I’ll tell them. I’ll say, “Look, yeah, this is what i think is what Scripture says, and since I’m a follower of Jesus, and this is what Jesus says about the nature of sexual immorality, then I’m going to adopt Jesus’ view.” So I’m going to bring it up in those situations. Or I might be talking about the Gospel with someone, and the issue of their particular sin might come up, and perhaps one of their sins is homosexual behavior amongst many other sins. And so, we would bring that up and might talk about the fact that yeah, this is a particular behavior that violates the commands of Scripture and the commands of God. I’m not saying we would never bring it up or never make assessments about the behavior. Yeah, we can say that that behavior is immoral. But what Scripture seems to be saying is that we’re not supposed to be going about our daily lives making it our business to find out what non-Christians are doing, their sinful behaviors, and pointing out those sinful behaviors on a regular basis. The Bible says no, if you want to talk to non-Christians, talk about the Gospel. Talk about the offer that God is making them to be reconciled. Yes, they have sinned, and of course we can acknowledge that, but the main message we should be communicating is, even though they’ve sinned, even though they’ve committed crimes against God, they can be pardoned. That is the message of reconciliation that God is offering them, and that’s the main message we’re supposed to be speaking about. We’re not trying to manage non-Christian behavior. Yes, we are supposed to be managing Christian behavior because within the body of Christ, that is Christ’s family. That is His church. And yes, we try to manage that behavior. But when it comes to non-Christians, we’re not trying to manage their behavior, we’re trying to proclaim the Gospel, the message, that God has for them to be reconciled to Him.