J.R.R. Tolkien reminds us that we must not be hasty in judgment in this line from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is a good reminder to all of us.
“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”
The Apostle Paul also reminds us not to be hasty in judgement but further reminds us to help each other in the church. In 1 Corinthians he distinguishes between judging those outside of the church and keeping order within the church.
When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. . . . It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.1 Corinthians 5:9, 10, 12, 13
This is challenging stuff to put into practice. I will seek daily to live by these words, even as I know I will struggle to live them out completely.