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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Judge or judge not?

'Do not judge, so that you may not be judged' (Matthew 7:1)

"The Bible tells us that we shouldn't judge, so what should we do about the situation?" I frequently hear that from concerned members when I encounter congregations struggling with problematic people.

In one case, a rich member manipulated the congregation by threatening to withdraw his support. In another, a domineering pastor forced the associate pastor to bow out of leading a well-attended Bible study, and the preschool director was counting the days until she could retire.

In some churches a single voice controls meetings by being so arrogantly forceful that everyone else backs down. Sometimes a church member's business practices are sinful.

These examples, from a variety of denominations, illustrate how an individual can cause trouble for a congregation or undermine its witness. Should we not judge in such situations?



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