Continued from, Don’t Judge Me: Part Two
James’ main point? "Who are you to judge your neighbor?" A difficulty arises when we try to reconcile this passage of Scripture with those that outline how to confront a fellow believer about their sin (Matthew 18:15; Galatians 6:1).
In Matthew 18:15-17, the accuser first confronts the accused one-on-one with the hopes of "regaining the brother". If that doesn't work, the accuser brings with him two or three witnesses. If the issue still isn't resolved, the issue is brought before the church. It is a thoughtfully long, and painful process, which, if unsuccessful, ends with the accused being viewed as "a Gentile or a tax collector".
In Galatians 6:1, the spiritually mature are instructed to "restore" the one "discovered in some sin". But, even the "spiritual" person is warned to confront in a "spirit of gentleness" and to "pay attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too." Again, this process is a humble one, with the goal of restoring Christ-likeness.
Both of these passages have a sense of inherit humility in the confrontation process. The million dollar question is, are the views of James and Matthew(Jesus)/Paul exclusive of one another? Can you follow both, or are you going to have to pick sides? If you took a both/and approach to this dilemma, the principle that emerges seems to be,
"Though we often must interpret the law (and thus make decisions, and even confront based upon it), we are not, and should not function as/pretend to be, the final judge."
Part Four of this series will attempt to expand on the above principle.