“Judge not, that ye be not judged” Matthew 7:1
We’ve all heard it. This warning that if we’re judging others, we will be similarly judged.
Jesus spoke these words to warn us away from judging others. In our humanity, we cannot judge righteously. Jesus knew this, so he advised against judging others at all.
People love to spout off with Matthew 7:1 without putting it into context.
This verse appears about two-thirds of the way through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He’s speaking to the multitude, but more specifically to his disciples (Matthew 5:1).
He didn’t stop at verse one, either. He gave good reason for his warning against judging others.
“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:2).
Uh-oh. This means if you condemn someone for something, God will condemn you for the same thing. Before you start thinking this is no big thing, stop and really think.
Been unsympathetic to someone snapping your head off? The next time you snap at someone, don’t expect God’s sympathy.
If you lambaste someone’s failure with anger, expect God to lay into you when you fail.
That’s an unpleasant prospect in my world.
Mote and Beam
The second problem with judging is our inability to see the fault in others clearly.
Oh, we think we can see it. It’s glaringly bright and bold, a neon sign on a dark night. Who could miss it?
“Why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
A mote is a tiny speck, like a sliver. A beam? That’s a big post used to support something – like my house.
Jesus asks us, “How can you see someone else’s tiny fault through the gigantic fault in your own eye?”
Someone is thinking, “They committed adultery. I’ve never done that.” This very thought proves we all fall into this trap – thinking our own flaws are minor compared to those of someone else.
Our ability to judge others is hampered by our own sinfulness. This is the problem with judging. And there is a remedy.
Next week: Judging the Mature Way