Judgement vs. correction

What is the difference between offering correction/advice to someone you see going down the wrong path and being judgemental? I think that if you talk to someone you care about about concerns you have with their choices that may be leading them away from God; that would be correction. I think we have a Christian duty to stand up for what is right and call people to something better, instead of silently watching others on their way to hell. I see judgement as thinking you are better than them and basically condemning them to hell. I think today everyone is too politically correct and thinks we should never say anything about anyone else’s behavior. I don’t know if that is really loving someone to be silent about their sin.

John 8 Jesus didn’t condemn the adulteress but he did command her to stop sinning.

Ezekiel 3: 8-21 God will hold us accountable for those we didn’t warn of their wicked ways

What are your thoughts?

Yes, you Re right and the evil one wants to distort Truth with a "relative " moral stance. Stand strong in his Truth with Charity always,

I have always followed the rule “judge actions, not people” to be sufficient. Only God can judge a person because only God knows all of the details that led that person to take the action they took. We can objectively judge an action to be moral or immoral and correct on that.

Well stated.

Thank you, I believe that’s a good way of putting it.

I agree with your thoughts. Correction is a spiritual work of mercy…“Admonish the sinner…and, Instruct the ignorant.” Of course, this must be done with tact, and gentleness, with a foundation of prayer. I can remember times in my life when I was corrected in a loving but firm way, and it helped me tremendously to make right decisions.

Correcting is a very loving thing to do, as we want, in the name of Jesus Christ and with His grace, the very best for others.

I too agree…
The old adage, hate the sin and love the sinner comes to mind as well.
When talking with someone it is good to try to express things as “this is not correct” rather than “you are not correct”.

Also - I think it important to recognize that the reason we are cautioned so strongly against judgement is because how we judge will be how we are judged ourselves.
We often hear quoted the first part of this message from Mt 7
1 "Judge not, that you be not judged…
but less often do we hear the second part…
2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.

If we carefully consider what is being said here and in the verses the follow (about splinters and planks in one’s eye) we can gain a much greater understanding of what is meant by not judging.


It is extremely difficult to correct an individual without appearing to be judging.

The first question I’d ask is: what authority does one have over a person that makes them think they should offer to “correct” them? There’s a world of difference between correcting our children under the age of majority (“I will punish you if you…” but you don’t hurt them and love them to pieces anyway), correcting our children over the age of majority (“Son if you want my advice…” but then you continue to love them even if they don’t take it), and correcting an adult with whom we have no formal relationship, such as a co-worker or friend (MYOB). Or an abbot or the Novice Master correcting a young novice or an older monk offering advice to a younger monk, and ourselves “correcting” a young adult we don’t know well.

When you are correcting someone especially someone outside your immediate sphere of influence ("immediate family), you’re essentially telling them that “my values are superior to your values”. How one can convey this without appearing judgmental or superior is beyond me, unless your advice is along the lines of “if you drive without snow tires in this weather you’re asking for it”. On the other hand as parents we have the duty to convey our values to our offspring. But that duty does not extend to our neighbours.

On the other hand, quietly living by one’s values, and reaping the fruits thereof (joy in adversity, steady calm in tumultuous situations, peace while living in a world of chaos), is probably the best form of fraternal correction one can offer. In other words, walk the talk.

Admonishing against sin on a macro scale is of course different than doing so to an individual. Even there though… one has to be careful because we are all sinners, and society certainly takes a dim view of a Church that preaches one thing while a few of the preachers themselves are caught in the most grotesque scandals imaginable.

This is such a tough issue right now for all of us. I am a mother to six, a confirmation class teacher and a public high school teacher. I have to pay close attention to my own behavior which speaks for me, pay attention to the behavior of my offspring, teach young people in the ways of the Church and teach a mix of young people in a public school with charity. Oh my!

On Facebook yesterday a poster was ranting about the fact that in his words, “No Republican could be a Christian!” And he quoted the Holy Father in a miss mashed Huffington Post article where the Holy Father’s words were taken out of context. I chose to add the context of the Holy Father’s quote and then backed out of the conversation entirely. The quote said that the Holy Father said, “Who am I to judge?” Making it appear that his comment was about homosexual behavior when in fact it was about celibate, homosexual priests. Totally different context.

Still, I chose to make the correction and let the discussion continue without further comment. I am interested in the Truth being out there. It isn’t my place to try to get Facebook readers to agree with the Truth. My children are different. I would feel it was my place to help them see the Truth and understand why it is true.

It is tough for me in the public school classroom. I have my children and my confirmation kids in several classes. They will often bring up controversial topics and expect me to defend them in public. I do not. I have said something like, “The Catechism of the Catholic Church states thus and such,” when someone gives wrong information about a Church teaching. I have offered to talk to Catholic students privately outside of school.

I just want them to know that I can help them find what the Church teaches, it is up to them whether or not to follow it.

You must be careful here. When you point out a splinter you see in someone’s eye you must be prepared when they point out the log that is in yours.

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