By Clayton Adams How many conversations have you been a part of that you or maybe the other person have said, “Who are you to judge me?”
Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1).
Jesus’ teaching on judging others is part of His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7). In this sermon, Jesus speaks about many issues of life but, He is specifically teaching what it means to live faithfully as a committed follower of Christ.
Remember, Christians are people who follow Christ and are obedient to His teachings.
In the original languages that the Bible was written, there were no numbered chapters or verses and often these man-made divisions broke up the flow of speech, events and reading. With out the breaking up of Scripture we read, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2). This adds so much more to the meaning and helps us to better understand what Jesus said and meant.
Jesus first tells us not to judge, then, in the same breath, He tells us how to judge others. Confusing?
Not if we read on. Jesus continues His teaching, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).
If we are honest with ourselves, we easily recognize the faults and “sins” of others because very often those same faults and sins exist in our own lives. I’ve had many “logs” in my own eyes over the years and it is a fierce struggle to not judge others. It is simple human nature to focus on someone else’s problems and sins as it takes the attention off our problems and sins.
In the headlines today is the story about a television star and her husband who reportedly paid $400,000 to have someone help their daughters get into a certain university by changing the score of their ACTs’.
Bribes are illegal and so is mail-fraud – the problem is, how many parents wouldn’t “help” their kids get into a certain college or university? Some would argue, what is the difference between donating $400,000 to a college and having their children or grandchildren admitted because of that donation. Donation or bribe – one is legal and the other is not, often, both have the same intent.
Closer to home is the story of a well-respected policeman who allegedly took items from a police property room – if so, it was wrong. However, too many people like to become the judge, jury and prosecutor and find the person guilty in the court of public opinion.
When I read such things, I think of what Jesus gave to me and continues to give to us. We read, “…where sin abounds, grace does much more abound” (Romans 5:20). God’s grace is far greater than our sin. There is no one without sin and as Jesus said to a crowd, “Who is without sin among you, throw the first stone” (John 8:7).
Is it possible that those who share their critical views of such folks like the two mentioned are proving their lack of understanding, grace and mercy of others?
I often wonder if those who are so critical of others, know that they are planting their own seeds of ridicule and condemnation when their sin is exposed.
Imagine a father concerned about how his teenage daughter dresses for a date or school. Good dads understand the temptation and weaknesses males have when it comes to low-cut blouses and tight clothes.
So, the dad tells his daughter to change her clothes to something more modest before leaving the house.
This is a legitimate concern, but after she leaves, the dad goes to his computer to look at porn. That is hypocrisy. That hypocrisy is what Jesus condemns.
If one has a problem with gossiping what good does it do for that one to tell another to stop smoking?
Or if one is a drinker what foundation is there to tell another to stop gambling?
The hypocrisy of judging others is what Jesus spoke against. We are so willingly blinded by our own sin!
Folks, Jesus didn’t tell us not to judge others, He told us to not judge unless we judge rightly — without hypocrisy. Is there anyone who isn’t a hypocrite?
Good people make very bad judgment and decisions. Can you identify with making a mistake or bad decision, acting on impulse and doing something you have lived to regret?
Isn’t everyone guilty of this? Do you want to be a better judge of others?
First, remember, you are a sinner too and you are in no way “better” than the one being judged.
Secondly, remember, that how you judge someone, (harshly, critical, without grace, mercy, without forgiveness, without understanding) — this is how you will be judged, in this life and in the next.
Clayton Adams has a message of faith he would like to share with the community. He would also like to hear from you. E-mail him at claytonpadamslll@ gmail.com.