Shows Main Idea – Biblical discernment is a huge issue for anyone who wants to care for another person. Anytime you’re discipling someone you have to make judgment calls about the person you’re discipling. There is no way around this truth.
Synonyms for judging: discern, assess, observe, look, watch, and love
You may want to read:
- The First Thing to Know When Caring For Someone
- The Most Powerful Way to Help Someone Change
- The Hardest But Best Way to Help Someone Change
You want to help them identify the ruling motives of the heart, which should be a God-centered passion that drives all their behaviors.
- Fruit reveals their choices
- Choices reveals their beliefs
- Beliefs reveals their motives
- Motives reveal how they think about God
Judging With Love
If you treat others harshly regarding how you “judge” (care for) them, do not be surprised if they fire something back at you in the same unkind manner in which you spoke to them.
It is unwise to correct any individual if you do not have genuine affection for them. But if you do have genuine affection for them, you’re in the best possible place to be a caring friend.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. – Proverbs 27:6
It would be unkind not to come alongside your friend to bring correction. Of course, you do not come making statements but asking questions because you’re not omniscient: you will always be missing something.
The Continuity Effect
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:43-45
The things that we do come from our hearts. There is no discontinuity between what we do and who we are at the innermost part of our being.
What If I Am Wrong?
If you never made a mistake when confronting someone it would be a plus, but you and I are not a perfect replication of Christ. We will make mistakes in our assessments from time to time, but that’s “okay” as long as you admit your mistakes while continuing to develop the relationship.
Making a mistake in a relationship is an excellent opportunity to build deeper into the relationship. The folks I build the deepest with are the ones who were humble enough to allow me to misjudge and even sin against them. Their humility governed their forgiveness and, in spite of my mistakes, we became close friends.
Though I am fallible, I must not stop trying to discern the people that I am discipling. If I do stop trying to discern others because of my fear of making a mistake, my care for them will be weakened or nonexistent.
- Affection – Showing love to another fallen image bearer.
- Thanksgiving – Expressing gratitude for the privilege to care for someone.
- Patience – Being patient with others as God is patient with you.
- Encouragement – Using your words to build up, not tear down a person.
- Charity – Always thinking the best because love believes all things.
How to Correct Someone
- Start in your “closet,” asking the Lord to give you divine perspective.
- Address your motives: is it redemptive or punitive?
- Ask the Lord to give you divine affection for the person you’re going to correct.
- Address your frustrations that you have with the person: you put Christ on the cross; there is no place for self-righteous corrections.
- Remember that you’re fallible; only imperfect people can correct flawed people. Proceed with caution.
- Remember that you’re working with incomplete information.
- Do not cave to fear of others.
- Ask the other person how your correction “felt” to them. Perhaps you were harsh.
- Give them a plan for change. Don’t “hit and run” with your corrections.
- Follow up the next day to see how you can continue to serve them.
Call to Action
- Do you have biblical discernment?
- Can you humbly and accurately assess a person?
- Are you tempted toward self-righteousness when you compare yourself to others?
- Do you know how to take what you discern about others and help them mature in Christ?