What's the difference between judging someone and reminding them when they make a mistake?

Questions & Answers February 12, 2016

Q: What’s the difference between judging someone and reminding them that they are making a mistake? When I tried to remind someone, I was accused of judging! My goal is to remind others that what they’re doing is inappropriate. Secondly, in my church there’s an exclusive “rich group” where only wealthy people are included. In my opinion, we as a congregation must do everything together, like the first congregation in the Bible! (Acts 2:41-47). What should I do to remind them? — Church member, from Indonesia

A: Dear church member, I’m wondering why you feel it’s your duty to “remind” people of their mistakes. Most people are keenly aware of their mistakes and don’t need others to point them out. I think we need to leave the “reminding” up to the Holy Spirit. It’s His work to bring conviction to people’s hearts, not ours.

Regarding your second question, some people think that Acts 2:41-47 indicates that the early believers had to give up all of their possessions and put them in some kind of general pool of resources. But this is not the case.

For example, in Acts 5:1-4 we read: “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? … You have not lied to men but to God.”

The sin of Annanias and Sapphira was not that they had kept part of the proceeds from the sale of their possession, but that they had lied to God. Notice also that Peter indicates that it was their choice as to whether or not to sell and whether or not they should give to the church, including the amount. As the church was getting started, this was God’s plan for laying a solid foundation for the church, but still it was up to the individual to decide whether or how much to give.

Finally, I would suggest that rather than seeking to “remind” this exclusive group in your church, that instead you ask God to give you a gentle and forgiving spirit, seek to be friendly to everyone, and earnestly pray for them regardless of who they are or their socio-economic status. Praying for someone makes a big difference. I think you’ll be happily surprised with the results.