"Judge not lest ye be judged" has been erroneously used by many to keep Christians from speaking out against the sinful actions of others and their lifestyles. In an effort to keep our voices quiet about the choices they have made, those who profess an atheistic or secular viewpoint have attempted to turn the tables on Christians by trying to expose Christians as hypocrites who are blind to the plank in their own eye while trying to remove the speck in the sinners eye.
The problem with judging others is not in the judgement itself but more in what it is we are judging. At first glance it may seem rather easy to say that Hitler, Stalin and Mao are now in hell for what they did in their lifetime on earth, yet we would be very wrong in saying so for the simple fact of not knowing what occurred between God and these men at the moment of death. If we turn to Him and ask for forgiveness at this late stage of our life, will He will forgive us or is there a limit to His forgiveness?
If each of these tyrants, at the moment of death, asked God to pardon them for their sins in their lives, what are we to conclude? Did God forgive them or not? Is he the God of forgiveness and mercy or is he not? Medical science is limited in it's knowledge of the human body and workings of the mind. Though medical science may declare a person dead, what do we really know as to when the actual 'death' of a person occurs in God's eyes?
Yes, there is a time when we can no longer ask for forgiveness, but the fact is, we don't really know with certainty when that time has come, so the chance to be forgiven may still be present to us, though from all outward appearances we are dead. The body may be "lifeless" according to medical experts, but is the soul actually separated from the body at that particular time also? We don't know for sure nor do we know if a person is condemned to hell. What is in the hearts and minds of men God alone knows and for that reason, God alone is the only one who may judge the state of our souls.
We however, can and do judge actions of others. We do it all time. Our whole justice system is based on a set of standards that all are held accountable under the law. It is not the person's soul that is judged in court, but his actions against the law of the land. A person is sent to prison or fined if he has broken the law. The court does not send a man to prison for being evil or obnoxious, but only if these traits cause him to break the law. In these cases, the law is the standard and a person is judged as to whether or not he is in good standing with these laws.
We as parents also judge our children. We judge their actions in accordance to what is acceptable behavior in our individual families. If our children lie, steal or hit their siblings then there will be dire consequences for those actions within my family. We have a family standard of behavior and all are expected to live by it. We do not judge our children souls, but their actions.
Today however, "judging" has been redefined by secular society to include all forms of judgements and it is from this viewpoint that Christians are being targeted as hypocrites. It has long been said that we are to love the sinner but hate the sin, yet today this distinction as been blurred and those of us that criticize sinful actions are said to be judging the person committing those sins. Nothing could be further from the truth. It may seem like a small point to make, however if Christians are cowed into believing that all judgements on our part are anti-biblical and outside of our purview of authority, then nothing stands in the way of evil to act whenever and where ever it wishes.Today, with this redefining of "judging", hating the sin equals hating the sinner.
Like our justice system, we as Catholics have a standard with which to live our lives. This standard is Christ and His Church, and if we profess ourselves to be true and faithful Catholics and to uphold what the Church teaches then we have a duty and responsibility to call out sinful actions when we see them committed by others especially by those of our own faith.
It is fairly obvious that many politicians that call themselves Catholic do not uphold the teachings of the Church by their actions. I have read several articles concerning Nancy Pelosi and her denigration of Catholics who have this "conscience thing" when it comes to employers, even Christian employers, who refuse to provide contraception as part of their insurance coverage and have a conscientious objection to it's morality in accordance with Catholic teaching. Yet she considers herself a devout Catholic though she has routinely defied Church teachings when it comes to birth control and abortion. She may be Catholic, but her actions place her in poor standing AS a Catholic. She in her stance against the Church as a Catholic politician, who has influence over many people because of her position, can and should be brought to task for her defiance and refused communion at Mass.
We, as her brothers and sisters in the faith, have the right and duty to call her out on her stance against the Church as well as with all other politicians whose actions belie their Catholic membership. We have the responsibility to try and bring her back into the fold and show her the errors of her beliefs. We do have the right to judge her actions. We do have the responsibility to point out her offenses against the Church, but we do not have the right to judge her standing with God. That is the difference. I'll leave you with this verse from Matthew 18:15 and let it speak for itself concerning judging others. As you see, Christ Himself gives us the authority to judge a person's sinful action.
15.“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18.