Tuesday, March 24, 2009

03/24/09 - Accountability vs. Being Judgemental

In a recent conversation with a close friend we were processing through an issue. She was trying to figure out the best way to confront another friend on a issue.

At one point my friend said something along the lines of, "We live in a culture that when you try to hold someone accountable, you are taken as being judgemental." We stayed on this topic for awhile and we both agreed that since we live in a culture where everything is morally relevant, anytime you confront sin, you risk the chance of being taken as judgemental and/or hypocritical.

What is the line between accountability and being judgemental?

As I've thought about this conversation, I've come to the conclusion that a lot of it comes to our own heart when wanting to "confront" someone with a sin issue. Are we looking to be heard? Or are we sincerely looking out for the spiritual well being of the person we are confronting?

We are not the Holy Spirit for people, yet we are to be "iron sharpening iron" with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. This takes a willingness to know when to act, when to speak, and when to be silent. We must have our own hearts pure before we start "confronting" others with sin issues.

I also firmly believe you have to have a relationship built with someone before you being to show them the error of their ways. Those who are closest to me, have the greatest impact when they confront me. Yes, I've had others who I hardly know confront me on issues and my human nature is to respond in...well it's not pretty the thoughts I've had. It felt more like them judging me without knowing the full story, than them trying to guide me in my walk with God.

All of this takes our own walk with God to be real and authentic. If we don't have that, then we can come across as judgemental and hypocritical.

What are your thoughts on this?


Anonymous said...

Biblically, if we are part of the body of Christ, we should be able to exhort anyone who is part of that body with us. I agree that to be most effective we should have a personal relationship built in with that person, but Biblically it doesn't say much about HOW to say things, just about not looking at the 'speck' when we have our own 'plank'! I also think we need to have the humility to take exhortation from whoever cares enough to give it. That doesn't mean we have to agree, but just because you don't like how someone presents a 'correction' doesn't mean that they are not right or that you shouldn't listen to them. Rejecting valid correction just because someone is being judgmental with how they say it is a lose-lose situation. Rising above and being willing to hear it anyway might just defuse that person's judgmental attitude, you never know.

Luke said...

I agree: You need to have a relationship with the person, or they have to ask for it. "Accountability" is something that must be asked for... you can't "give" it to another person.

But you can "exhort" even a stranger, but, again, where's your heart?

Good points.


Elizabeth said...

I agree with Anonymous, as I believe that if you are submitted to a church, exhortation should be expected.

As Luke pointed out, exhorting a stranger might not be the most loving thing to do. Relationships in a church should be fostered so that exhortation from a brother or sister doesn't feel like it's coming from a stranger.

I agree with the original post about needing to test one's own motives. It is easy to be insulted when one's advice is not taken, and defending one's argument then becomes a goal, rather than protecting the other person's heart.

And lastly, even when acting in love, we must realize that we are not the only mouthpiece for God. Maybe He wants to use someone else,or maybe He will speak by the Holy Spirit, before the lesson is finally learned.

rashadtatum said...

The term judgmental is a catch-22 phrase that is often used by those rejecting correction.

You do not have to have a relationship with someone to correct them. Look at the prophets in the scriptures. They didn't know many of the people they rebuked.

With that said, the word judge has several definitions. Judging righteous judgment is not wrong. It is rather condemning judgment that is at fault. (See 1828 Webster's definition of judge)

Ami said...

I love how you ended this post with "All of this takes our own walk with God to be real and authentic."
After looking up the definition of authentic I found that it says: "conforming to truth and therefore worthy of belief"
I believe as we weigh our motives, align our hearts with truth, and truly live authentic lives for Christ then and only then any exhorting or sharpening that is given is done in love and according to this def. found 'worthy of belief'.

TheTishbite said...

Amen. One additional clear way to not be "judgmental" is to have the facts. Some come charging in to "hold a person accountable" without the facts. This is Way the Bible teaches us to go one on one first with an issue; engage one other if not resolved ; then go to the entire congregation if still not resolved.