Discernment and correction of errors on the one hand; judging and condemning on the other hand — again we find balance in the Christian walk clearly written in the Word of God. Jesus tells us not to judge; so does James. James writes:
“Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law; but if thou judge the law, thou are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are thou that judgest another?”
So, we are commanded to allow God to judge, for if we take that task upon ourselves we stand in judgment of God Himself — we judge His law and we question His ability and authority to judge.
Yet, James also writes:
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed.” (James 5:16)
So, we are called to tell each other our failings so that we each have the privilege of praying for the other. How can we confess our sins to those who condemn us? And, how can we genuinely pray for those we condemn? Will not our dismissive attitude interfere with “the effectual, fervent prayer?” (James 5:16)
Instead, James reminds us that we all are capable of “erring from the truth” and falling into sin. He calls us to restore “the sinner from the error of his way” so as to “save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20) We are not called to judge or condemn; for that role belongs to the One who is Lord.