Judging and the Runaway Believer
Luke 6:35-37 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
A believer who runs from God and lives sinfully for a season may say he/she is being “judged” or looked down upon by other believers who are aware of their prodigal experience. Prodigals often accuse other Christians of hypocrisy and violating God’s order not to judge and use it as their excuse for not returning to fellowship. There may be people who do judge, saying the prodigal was never a believer, and that is sin. Only God knows what is in the inner heart of another. There may be many who don’t trust the prodigal for some time. That is a consequence of them turning away from God and their faith to live their own way and is not judgment. It takes time for people to believe that someone has changed and to trust they have really turned away from sinful, selfish ways. A person who truly repents (turns away from their sin and doesn’t want to go back to it) will be able to face others, confessing they were in sin and returning to fellowship, proving they are back on track. If they’re not sincere about leaving the past and their sin behind, they’ll avoid going to church, being around believers, reading the Bible, etc. and will point the finger at Christians, saying they are judging them.
It’s like people who want to create their own version of morality, apart from what God says. They want the laws to change to allow for things that are in opposition to God’s Word. They’ve convinced themselves that their way of living is correct, and that those with religious or conservative values are closed-minded, judgmental and intolerant.
God’s tells us to confess, repent and be set free from sin. As long as we hold on to sin and want our way instead of God’s, we will avoid all that is good, godly and right, and we will be miserable, angry and full of guilt and shame. Why live like that when we can be free from the past and have a joyful, guilt and shame-free life that yields good things and a legacy that will last for generations to come? What we do apart from God is garbage. Things we do that make a difference for eternity bring life to people who would otherwise go to hell. What higher purpose can we possibly serve?
Pray for those whose minds have been taken captive by the enemy to do his will. Be careful to avoid having a judgmental attitude. When you’re accused by a prodigal, respond with love. In doing so you will be greatly rewarded.
2 Timothy 2:23-26 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.