Judging, or blaming, is not the same as discernment or evaluation. The tennis coach who corrects my weak backhand is not condemning me! The doctor who wants to improve my diet and nutrition is not blaming me. I expect these professions to help me by identifying wrongs and insufficiencies.
However, it is difficult to identify, with peers and family, their struggles without seeming to condemn them as people. Parents and anyone in authority are familiar with this. Particularly in a culture where disapproval of someone’s behavior is automatically seen as rejection. Any criticism today is seen as a violation of individual sovereignty and the unjust imposition of your own ideas on someone else. This is where we must draw on the special agape of God and remember “There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The way we express the distinctions and evaluations we must make is conditioned by our sense of need for God’s grace made real in him and our conviction that his Kingdom is open to everyone. The second half of Matthew 7 concerns right judgement, covering false prophets, effective ministries, and genuine disciples.
Gracious God, Help me to communicate your concern and love for others even when I am called to discipline or correct them. Grant me humility in those moments. Help me distinguish right from wrong, good from evil. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.