It is necessary that we should know the difference between judging in the sense of condemning—and discerning. If I judge another by a harsh spirit as though I were passing final judgment on them, I am wrong, and God will judge me. Discerning is different and is always accompanied by divine love. The Holy Spirit shows us how to discern the need of those who come to us for prayer. Discernment is accompanied by a desire to help others, to pray for them, and to bless them.
Here is a sweet verse on this subject: "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1).
Who are the "spiritual"—the ones who are to restore? They are those who are born again by the Holy Spirit, those who are "partakers of the divine nature," (2 Peter 1:4). They are those who are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Immediately before the Apostle Paul instructs about restoring, he wrote: "By love serve one another" (Gal. 5:13). He reminds us, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Gal. 5:14). "Walk in the Spirit," he exhorts (Gal. 5:16). "Be led of the Spirit," he continues, and he elaborates, telling us that one of the fruits of the Spirit is "meekness." Then he tells us to restore in the spirit of meekness. Meekness speaks of gentleness.
Following the instruction to restore, Paul continues writing words of wisdom: "Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). It is a Christian duty to bear with a brother or sister’s weakness or deception, and to endeavor to restore that one in a godly manner.
There is pardon, mercy and forgiveness for the penitent one. How tender are the pleadings of God to His wayward people: "Return…for I am merciful... only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God…Return…and I will heal your backslidings." And how greatly desired is the response of the penitent: "Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God…truly in the Lord our God is salvation" (Jer. 3:12,13,22, 23).
At one time years ago I knew that a Christian woman needed to be dealt with about a certain matter in her life. I asked the Lord if I should talk with her about it, and He told me that I was not yet tender enough, and that I must wait until my heart was softened by His grace and then He would have me speak to her.
He had me wait for one week while He was preparing my heart by His tender love, and then when I dealt with her the Lord’s own tenderness was so manifest in my ministry to her that she gladly accepted what I said to her, and she submitted to the hand of the Lord.
First Examine Ourselves
The Lord tells us that we must cast the beam of self-love out of our own eyes before we can see clearly to cast the beam out of our brother’s eye (Matt. 7:3-5). Self-righteousness is a beam in our eye. We must remember we have nothing good in ourselves. We have only that which we receive from God.
Have we received from God the comfort of forgiveness? Have we had restored to us the joy of our salvation after our repentance? All we received from Him we must pass on to others, for we are called upon to comfort others with the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God (2 Cor. 1:4). He is the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.
We must ever examine ourselves in the light of God’s Word: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).
We must depend on the Holy Spirit to turn the searchlight of God’s Word on our hearts and show if there is anything in us that hinders the fullness of His salvation, or prevents His answering our prayers. If there is anything of this kind He will reveal it to us by His convicting power and we must repent, and put our sin under the Blood, and go forward to sin no more, by the help of the Lord.
Depending on the Holy Spirit, we will not come under excessive self-condemnation. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. "If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God" (1John 3:20-21).