Jesus says,
"Do not judge lest you be judged yourselves. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you. ... You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye ..."1

Jesus also said,

"If your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother."2

What is the difference between judging and reproving, pray tell me?

Reproving is saying, for instance, drug use is wrong. Judging is perhaps, refusing to help someone get food because he spent all his money on drugs.

That explanation is too simplistic. So let me explain further. whether I'm a public speaker or just one of the coffee klatch, my speaking can be either out of conviction or out of judgment. When what I say to someone I am also preaching to myself, that's convictions. When I preach it to the other guy, but don't even realize I've got the same problem, I'm probably passing judgment.

speaking out of convictions means I'm convicted of my own sin, whether past or present. I'm humble enough to admit my own guilt (though it may be long forgiven-and-forgotten by God.)

When I'm passing judgment, I'm thinking that you need to get your act in gear. I can't see the beam in my own eye. The master carpenter, Jesus Christ, is needed to remove the blinding pride that keeps me from seeing I am just a sinner saved by grace.

when I see sin in you, first I check my heart. I confess my sin to God. I freely admit that I am a sinner. I ask God to make me gentle, and to keep me from falling back into sin.

Then I approach you, with respect. I speak to you. I seek out your understanding. I share mine. But I don't shut you off without first approaching you directly. That's what love does.

Dealing with sin is not easy. We are not experts. We are mortal humans. We must approach others with soft hearts, but firm resolve.

Jesus approached a woman taken in sin, with love and respect.3 He did not condemn her. That is our example. Can we practice anything less?

1 Matthew 7: 1-5 back
2 Matthew 18:15 back
3 John 8:1-11 back
All verses quoted from the New American Standard Bible, copyright © The Lockman Foundation: 1960, 1973
Script copyright © Rick Galbraith, Winnipeg, MB, Canada: 1996, 2001