We have to judge
actions (objectively speaking) as good or bad/sinful – this is required of us by
God. For example, it would not be possible to live up to biblical precepts such
those below if people could not judge actions (objectively) as sinful...
"Be on your
guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him." (Our
Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 17:3)
brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on
the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell
the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you
would a Gentile or a tax collector." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 18:15-17)
"If anyone sees
his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will
give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a
thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray." (St. John,
1 Jn. 5:16)
publicly those who do sin, so that the rest also will be afraid." (St. Paul to
Timothy, 1 Tm. 5:20)
"After a first
and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a
person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned." (St. Paul, Ti. 3:10)
"But I now
write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral,
greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with
such a person. For why should I be judging outsiders? Is it not your business to
judge those within? God will judge those outside. 'Purge the evil person from
your midst.'" (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 5:11-13, emphasis added)
must judge actions as sinful (objectively speaking), we should not judge hearts
or judge individuals as guilty of sin (see
here for more
Matthew's Gospel (Chapter 7), "Judge not, that you may not be judged...",
consider the following footnotes quoted directly from the Douay Rheims Bible...
"CHAP. VII. VER.
1. Judge not, or condemn not others rashly, that you may not be judged or
condemned. Wi.--S. Jerom observes, Christ does not altogether forbid judging,
but directs us how to judge. Where the thing does not regard us, we should not
undertake to judge. Where it will bear a favourable interpretation, we should
not condemn. Magistrates and superiors, whose office and duty require them to
judge faults, and for their prevention to condemn and punish them, must be
guided by evidence, and always lean towards the side of mercy, where there are
mitigating circumstances. Barefaced vice and notorious sinners should be
condemned and reprobated by all. A.--In this place, nothing more is meant than
that we should always interpret our neighbour's actions in the most favourable
light. God permits us to judge of such actions as cannot be done with a right
intention, as murder. As to indifferent actions, we must always judge in the
most favourable sense. There are two things in which we must be particularly on
our guard: 1. With what intention such an action was done. 2. Whether the person
who appears wicked will not become good. S. Jerom.
VER. 2. This
rule, which God will infallibly follow, should put a check to the freedom with
which we so frequently condemn our neighbour. A.--As we behave towards our
neighbours, interpreting their actions with charitableness, and excusing their
intentions with mildness; or, on the contrary, judging them with severity, and
condemning them without pity; so shall we receive our judgment. M.--As the
pardon of our sins is proportioned to the pardon we afford to others, so also
will our judgment be proportioned to the judgment we pass on others. If our
neighbour be surprised by sin, we must not reproach or confound him for it, but
mildly admonish him. Correct your brother, not as an enemy, taking revenge, but
as a physician, administering appropriate remedies, assisting him with prudent
counsels, and strengthening him in the love of God. Chry. hom. xxiii.
VER. 3. 'Mote and
beam,' light and grievous sins. M.
VER. 5. Thou
hypocrite, cast out first the beam, &c. Correct first thy own greater faults,
before thou censure the lesser failings of others. Wi."
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