Judgement Call, Ball or Strike? (ATP)
1 Corinthians chapter 6 talks about taking each other to court and being judged by Christians. I have never heard this before, about that we would all be judged by Christians. Can you explain?
1 Corinthians 6:1-8 (NKJV)
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!
Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!
Now this is a great question with an answer that will surely shock some people! I will answer the question, but also expound on it. First of all let’s look at the concept of judging each other, because after all, doesn’t the Bible say not to judge?
In Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
This possibly is at the very top of the most taken out of context scriptures. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say things like, “Only God can judge me!” That is simply not true and is only ever repeated by people without knowledge. In fact, if you carefully read the Bible you will see that we are told to judge quite often. The Holy Spirit has been given to us so that we would judge rightly!
We can see the truth here about these scriptures in verse 5 which says, “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” The idea here is not about not judging but how to judge rightly. We have no business being critical of someone else when we ourselves do the same things. What we are instructed to do is to clean up ourselves first, then make accurate assessments when it has to do with others.
Now pertaining to another part of your question, after Jesus comes back, there will be a period of a thousand years when He reigns on the earth. In this time period, the saints (you and I and other believers) will be used as part of His government. This won’t however be us as we are now, but after we have our glorified bodies. We will definitely be able to see things more clearly.
Now, what I want to use as a teachable moment is what the heart of the original scriptures is, that is thinking right about the body of Christ because often people don’t. Too often Christians don’t remember we live by different rules than the rest of the world. They act just like the world acts then wonder where the power of God is. We have to think differently about believers! In context, these scriptures are referring to when a brother or sister wrongs you. When this happens, they are wrong, not you. They did something wrong, not you, and they are to blame. It’s a situation where you may be justified to go to court, you may be able to even win but that doesn’t mean you have that right in God’s eyes!
There’s nothing worse than when a family has an issue behind closed doors and one part of that family makes it public. It’s no one else’s business. When people do such things, they bring a mark on the Body of Christ. They may get what they want but at what cost? Too often, believers do not count the cost of their actions! The world is watching us and will pass judgement against God based on how we act. Can you ever see Jesus suing another believer? Not even remotely! Yet, some Christians think nothing of suing a brother or sister making a mockery of the faith. Anything that happens between two believers can be sorted out within the church.
Let me take this one step further, bringing focus to verse 7. 1 Corinthians 6:7 says, “Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?” Paul was telling the Corinthians that it is better to be cheated by a brother or sister than to take them to a worldly court! How can this be?!? Don’t you remember what 1 Corinthians 13 says about love? It takes no account of wrong, does not seek or insist others act the way it does, and it thinks no evil.
This is hard for people when they have been wronged. Jesus didn’t give us much choice though when He said to love others to the point of laying down your life for them. We are called to walk a higher road and if we want the power of God flowing in our lives, we will have to do just that. We are called to love our enemies but also not to see a brother or sister as one. When they have wronged you that can seem hard until you remember a few things. Jesus was not guilty of your crimes, yet He was punished for them. Jesus was wrongfully accused by those who He was saving, yet He didn’t even answer the accusation! Will you walk the higher road when you have been wronged? If you want the power of God flowing in your life you will! Think about every prayer you pray. All you desire from God. Is that worth giving up to have someone pay for where they wronged you? I dare say that if you really think about it, it’s not!
I want to end by maybe giving a possible exception to this. If there has been a Christian that has done something that has injured somebody, in the case of things such as rape, murder, or molestation, things where they are a danger to others, they need to be brought before a court so that they won’t be able to do so again. This is not to get some kind of payment or to punish them even, but rather as a matter of public safety. To keep a person from doing something to hurt another person again is not wrong, but it must also be done with the right heart. If the heart of the believer is to get retribution or payback, then it would be wrong.