Today I want to focus on vs 37: “Judge not and you will not be judged.”
8 simple words…
…but not so simple.
As much as I don’t want to admit it, I can be judgmental…rolling my eyes, clucking my tongue as I observe someone doing something that I would never do…
I remember being judgmental… before I had kids. Seeing someone give into their 2 year old who was having a tantrum and thinking… I would NEVER do that! They should just be stronger and stop letting their child control them!
well… I have had three 2 year olds, and have given into each of them…a t least once… okay… maybe more !
I remember being in youth ministry and seeing an interaction between a mother and daughter, where clearly the mom was coming down too hard on her daughter who was cringing in shame, sad to disappoint her mom, AND embarrassed that I was witnessing it.
…been there… done that.
In fact, almost everything I said to my mom.. “I will NEVER do that to my kids…” I have done!
Sadly I was judging others long before I had ever walked in their shoes.
Can you relate? (hi Pot… I am the kettle!)
…and then Jesus says this: “don’t judge others…so you won’t be judged by the same standard.”
I have some repenting to do!
The Message translation says it like this: “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.”
I have been judgmental…picked on people, been hard on them, jumped on their failure, criticized their faults…
…and personally I don’t want the same treatment! I hope that I will be judged with the mercy of God and not the mercy of Susie, because at times… it is lacking.
Have you been there? Done that too? If I had a t-shirt for every time, I would need a new closet!
I realize that being judgmental is a subtle way of saying…I am better than you.
I don’t want to be judged, evaluated, criticized, compared…especially when I am weak, faltering, failing…
Why would I do this to anyone else?
to make myself feel better about me, my choices, my life, my shortcomings…
As a believer for almost 40 years, I want to tell you that I don’t judge… in general, I am pretty graced base, but as I read these verses there was a prick in my heart of… you do this- you can be judgmental.
I don’t want to be this way! I don’t want to be judged – especially by the standards I falsely impose on others.
I want to live with grace… understanding that I am one choice from doing what I said I would “never do!” And, for the most part… I’m stumbling along trying to live righteously but messing up more often than not!
Oswald Chambers writes: “Jesus says regarding judging – Don’t”
I want to live with grace… toward myself and others…
How freeing that would be!!?
When we are living with a full confidence and rest in Christ, there is no need for… no room for judging others.
I want to live in such a way and see the grace of God to do so… wanna join me?
Are your judgmental? Is it obvious or subtle?
Often we judge others in areas where we are weak, struggle or are wounded… can you relate?
Taking our thoughts captive to Christ is a way to deal with being judgmental. Can you see how doing this would be a practical way out?
Have you been wounded by being judged? How did you handle it?
Is the any area where you have been judgmental of others and feel the Holy Sprit inviting you to repent?
Read this commandment in the other gospels:
Matthew 7:1-5, Mark 4:24
An interesting commentary on these same verses as they are found Matthew 7:1-5. (Includes reflections from MLK)
Additional scholars comment on these verses:
Those who “judge” like this will in turn be “judged,” not by men (which would be of little consequence), but by God (which fits the solemn tone of the discourse). The disciple who takes it on himself to be the judge of what another does usurps the place of God (“Why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God” – see note Romans 14:10) and therefore becomes answerable to Him. The hina me (“in order that…not”; NIV, “or”) should therefore be given full telic (tending toward an end) force
Do not assume the place of God by deciding you have the right to stand in judgment over all-do not do it, I say, in order to avoid being called to account by the God whose place you usurp. (New Testament Bible scholar, D. A. Carson)
This is the Bible verse that seems to be most popular in our present day. But most the people who quote this verse don’t understand what Jesus said. They seem to think Jesus commanded a universal acceptance of any lifestyle or teaching. If we see what Jesus said in Matthew 7:15-16, He commands us to know people by the fruit of their life, and some sort of assessment is necessary for that..
The Christian is called to unconditionally love. But the Christian is not called to unconditional approval. We really can love people who do things that should not be approved of. Instead, Jesus is speaking against being judgmental, that is, judging motives and the inner man, which only God can know. We can judge the fruit of a man, but we can rarely judge their motives with accuracy.
Jesus does not prohibit judgment of others. He only requires that our judgment be completely fair, and that we only judge others by a standard we would also like to be judged by. Most of our judgment in regard to others is wrong, not because we judge according to a standard, but because we are hypocritical in the application of that standard – we ignore the standard in our own life.
We judge others by one standard, and ourselves by another standard – being far more generous to ourselves than others. With the measure you use, it will be measured back to you:
According to the teaching of some rabbis in Jesus’ time, God had two measures that He used to judge people. One was a measure of justice and the other was a measure of mercy. Which measure do you want God to use with you? Then you should use that same measure with others. (Mt 7:2). (Matthew 7)
Be quick to judge yourself But slow to judge others.
People Magazine was interviewing a well-known actor who was defending the moral indiscretions of former President Clinton.
Why should we be upset over such a thing? We’re all sinners, and it just shows that President Clinton is just like the rest of us. The Bible says, ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’
Whenever Christians warn against or condemn our society for its loss of moral moorings, it is not uncommon to have them misquote Matthew 7:1 to counter our “judgmental attitude”, but as discussed in this section such a use represents a distortion of what Jesus actually meant in context (remember context is “king” in [accurate] interpretation).
Clearly Jesus was not forbidding one from making moral evaluations which is the way this actor and the unregenerate world interprets this verse. They say “Do not judge. Do not make moral evaluations. Do not condemn anything.” Wrong! That is not what Jesus is commanding, for all through the Gospels.
He teaches we are to continually make moral judgments about both issues and people (cp Jesus’ moral judgment regarding adultery – Mt 5:27, 28–notes) If we interpreted Matthew 7:1 the way the world wants us to interpret it, we could not say there was such a thing as adultery… it’s just an “affair” (note the world’s euphemistic way of toning down evil.) Christians as salt and light are to make sound moral judgments, but we must do so with a humble, loving attitude for nothing is more harmful to the cause of Christ than believers who cry out with a shrill voice using harsh language which condemns others (there is only one Judge) with an angry, unkind attitude.
The point is that believers are not to manifest a judgmental, critical, fault-finding attitude, always being negative, always carping about things, always being aware of minor problems in the lives of others while oblivious to the faults they are demonstrating in there negative, judgmental attitudes. Believers can and should make Spirit-led moral judgments, but not in an unloving, unkind manner. We are never to despise others or regard them with contempt. As we have often heard, God hates the sin, but loves the sinner, which is why He sent His Son. We are to “be imitators of God, as beloved children and walk in love.” (Ep 5:1, 2). (Pastor David Guzik)
How do these commentaries further illuminate the command to “judge not?”
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Daniel 9:4-10; Psalm 78:8,9,11,13; Luke 6:36-38
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about 1/2 hour a day)
Read on Day 13: Luke 1-6