You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (Rev. 3:1)

OUR CULTURE PROMOTES the philosophy that judging others is wrong, that we should accept whatever beliefs people have regardless of the behaviors they produce. Interestingly, the opposite point of view was set forth in a recent popular movie. In the film Batman Begins,Bruce Wayne’s longtime friend and love interest, Rachel, chides him for his selfish behavior, saying, “Deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be. But it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.” Rachel’s “judgment” was loving and good and meant to motivate her friend to see reality and make change.

Christians, too, believe in tolerance. I myself value it highly. Kindness is a virtue quickly fading in our culture. However, being tolerant is not synonymous with being wimpy. Sometimes people need to hear the truth for their own good. We dare not witness drunkenness, infidelity, greed, or gluttony—especially in those dearest to us—and simply say, “Whatever works for you. Who am I to judge?” Friends tell friends the truth.

Certainly pastors and professional counselors have an obligation to be candid with those under their care, but all of us are accountable to speak the truth in love to others. As long as you have relationships, you have both the opportunity and responsibility to speak the truth. By doing so, you may save a marriage, a career—or a life.

Is a friend making poor choices? Plan how you will challenge them.

Lawrence W. Wilson is a pastor, author, and avid cyclist from Fishers, Indiana.