“For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church
whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.” – 1 Corinthians 5:12-13a

In my experience, having conversations with people from outside the church, I have noticed that most of them consider Christians very judgmental. They would say that we are self-righteous and lack compassion.

A few months ago, I was invited to do a memorial for one of my wife’s cousins. To be honest, when I received the invitation I was a little hesitant to participate and associate with some people I assumed would attend. For a couple of days, I thought and prayed through the whole situation. I was uncertain about doing the memorial because my wife’s cousin was openly gay and in a relationship with another man. After seeking discernment from the Lord, I felt a strong conviction to say yes, not only to support my wife’s family but to take it as an opportunity to share about Jesus.

As I reflected on my hesitation to say yes right away, I realized that I was questioning if it was worthwhile to minister at this memorial because of the sexual sin that the deceased practiced. In a way, I was judging my wife’s cousin and his partner for behaving in an unbiblical way, and I was tempted to act self-righteously; my thought process wasn’t very compassionate.

This week as I was studying 1 Corinthians 5, God reminded me of this event and in a way, He allowed me to share a brief testimony on how easy it is to be judgmental towards those who are not walking with the Lord. My guess is that I’m not the only one. I’m sure that my initial response to this situation is not uncommon. As followers of Jesus, we are constantly being tempted to act judgmental towards unbelievers for acting like unbelievers. But, according to the apostle Paul, judging outsiders is not our responsibility but God’s. Our responsibility is to get to know them, love them, serve them, and look for opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

On the day of the memorial, about a hundred people showed up to this celebration of life. As expected, when I arrived at the small chapel the room was divided almost evenly into two different groups of people. On the right side of the room was my wife’s family and on the other side multiple gay couples who were friends of my wife’s cousin and his partner.

When the time came for me to share a message from God’s Word, the tension in the room was obvious. It felt to me as if half of the audience was very nervous as if they were expecting a judgmental sermon from the Bible. But as I began to share about “The God of All Comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3-4), everyone relaxed and became attentive. When I concluded I very respectfully and openly shared with this very interesting audience about the hope Jesus Christ offers to those who are willing to receive Him as Lord and Savior.

As the celebration of life ended, I had a chance to meet most of my wife’s cousin’s friends. To my surprise, most of them mentioned how much they appreciated my words. When I had a chance to give my condolences to his partner, he hugged me and gave me thanks. Then, he gave me a present that I keep on my desk. I guess you get nice presents when you are not judgmental!

What I have learned is that instead of being judgmental towards those that don’t believe in Christ, I need to be more passionate about promoting purity within the church. Our responsibility is not to judge outsiders but to give them a taste of the Kingdom of God. My hope and prayer is that we may be the salt of the earth to those outside the church (Matt. 5:13). God bless!

Pastor Esteban Tapia
En Español Ministry

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