“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (Matthew 7:1-6, NIV)
We live in a world where everything and everyone is constantly being judged. The world was a judgmental place before Jesus came to earth. It was a judgmental place during the time of Jesus. It remains a judgmental place today. Therefore, it should not be surprising that Jesus spoke extensively on the topic of judging.
This teaching during the Sermon on the Mount is probably the most well-known of the Bible’s teachings on judging by both Christians and non-Christians. When Christians speak out against living, celebrating, and encouraging sinful lifestyles, they are often called judgmental. And the first part of this passage is often quoted against them – “Didn’t Jesus say, ‘Do not judge,’”?
This retort shows a very limited understanding of Jesus’ teaching here. Jesus is warning against specific types of judgments, in this case, hypocritical judgment. He is warning against accusing others of sins for which you are also guilty and have not repented.
In John 7:24, Jesus says, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” (NIV) Here, Jesus is warning against superficial judgment. Superficial judgment occurs when we make snap judgments, without stopping to investigate the facts. In both John and Matthew, Jesus is warning against incorrect judgment. He also encourages correct judgment.
Other types of incorrect judgment include harsh and unforgiving judgment, self-righteous judgment, and untrue judgment. Harsh and unforgiving judgment does not allow room for people to repent of their sins. It is holding a grudge and never forgiving a person who is earnestly seeking repentance. Self-righteous judgment is seeing ourselves as superior to others. This occurs when we lack humility and engage in pride. Untrue judgment is applying false actions to another person such as accusing them of a crime they did not commit. It is the spreading of lies in order to hurt another person.
Jesus and His Father call upon us to exercise discernment and only apply righteous judgment. Righteous judgment can only come from the Lord God. It requires us to seek out God, seek out His wisdom. It also requires us to know God’s word. We must know right from wrong, according to His word! Only then will be able to determine what is sacred, what is pearls, and keep them safe.
We live in a judgmental world. But as children of the Lord God, we are to set ourselves apart from the world. We are not to judge as they judge. How judgmental are you? Do you judge using God’s word?
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