It’s not hurting anyone

By Brian Onstead
Posted 6/13/24

"Don’t judge, it’s not hurting anyone!” This is a common retort in our day. This reveals that the assumed standard for whether or not something is evil, immoral, or wrong is whether …

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It’s not hurting anyone


"Don’t judge, it’s not hurting anyone!” This is a common retort in our day. This reveals that the assumed standard for whether or not something is evil, immoral, or wrong is whether or not it hurts someone. If the action did not cause physical harm, property damage, financial loss, or (and here’s the big one in our culture) hurt someone’s feelings, then it is at least a neutral act. But is this the same standard as God’s? This is an important question because God alone is the judge of all the Earth. Every single individual must appear before God for judgment. This is unavoidable. We are simply one heartbeat away from meeting our maker. So, is this God’s standard? Will anyone be excused by saying, “Well, my action did not hurt anyone?”

While God does care about actions that truly hurt another, there are two reasons why this is not God’s only or ultimate standard. First, scripture says that God judges even the thoughts and intentions of all humans (Hebrews 4:12). Even our inner thoughts and motives of our heart are subject to God’s judgment. God, who knows our secret thoughts, will judge them (Romans 2:16.) Every wicked thought and every selfish motive will be brought out and judged by God in the presence of all. Furthermore, every thought, motive, word and deed that violates God’s law and did not bring him glory regardless of whether or not it caused physical or emotional pain to another will be punished by God. Every careless word will be examined by him. All sexual activity will be measured by God’s word. God is the one who created us, including our minds, our mouths and our bodies to bring him glory. Whatever did not bring him glory, despite what it did to others, falls short of his standard. 

Second, Jesus’ words offended people. To use our vernacular, it hurt their feelings. After Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and called them hypocrites, Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” Matthew 15:12.

However, Jesus never sinned, nor was there any evil found on his lips (1 Peter 2:22). 

So, just because someone is offended (hurt) by the words of another does not necessarily constitute sin. Whether or not it hurt someone is not the only or ultimate standard.

There is yet one more thing. God used pain and suffering for good. The Lord Jesus Christ willingly took the punishment of sinners on the cross. Evil men falsely accused Jesus and had him condemned to death, crucified under Pontius Pilate. However, this was God’s plan to save sinners from his eternal judgment. Every single one of us not only hurt someone at one time or another, but we have failed to glorify God in every thought, word and deed. Anything short of perfection merits the eternal wrath and judgment of God. The only way to escape this is to trust Christ to take our judgment for us. All who repent of their sin by acknowledging that it is sin according to God’s word and trusting Christ to deliver them from the just judgment and power of that sin will never face his condemnation. On that final day of judgment, none of their sins will be counted against them. Instead, they will only hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your Master.”

(Brian Onstead is the Pastor at Trinity Bible Church.)