Don’t Judge Me

One of the passages I hear quoted most often (and out of context) is Matthew 7:1 which says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” So many people use this when confronted about an issue or when referring to someone who has fallen into a grievous sin (“well he’s human too”). Yet despite what simply that verse says, Jesus isn’t saying we should never judge someone. If you continue on into verse 2, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” So ultimately, whatever standard of measurement you’re using to determine an offense of someone else is the same standard of measure God will use to determine your offense. What a scary thought! This is why it continues to become incredibly important to continually investigate and wrestle with Scripture and to continue to put to death the sin that so easily entangles us. So already, with just 2 verses in, we can see the reasoning to why we should not be judged, because ultimately we will give an account to God for our own judging. Does your life match up to the sins you call out to others, either to their face or behind their back?

Jesus continues in Matthew, “Why do you see 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,’ when there is the log 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.” We again see that Jesus isn’t commanding us to ignore the speck in our brothers eye, but to first stop and evaluate our own life. Is this an issue in my own life that I need to deal with before I come to my brother or sister and try to help them deal with the issue in their life?

Interestingly we also see Jesus’ instructions for confronting a brother or sister who sins against you in Matthew 18:15-20. It looks to me like Jesus is instructing us to “judge” those who are in the body (but not those who are not believers, they’re hearts have not yet been conformed into the image of Christ). We even have another one of the more misunderstood phrases in Christendom, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Looking at the context this is within the issues of confronting sin, maybe I’ll deal with that one in a later blog post.

Another instance we see of “judging” is Paul in 1 Corinthians 5 where he says, “I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.” Whoa Paul! Back off man, no judging here! Paul continues to say that we should not even associate with anyone who claims to be a believer and is living in sexual sin, or is greedy or is an idolator, reviler, drunkard or swindler. Did he hit all of you in that list? Only in a life marked by repentance is God truly glorified and are we able to continue to pursue Christ. Going on into the next chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul says, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” Wow! So there SHOULD be judging going on! However, we need to carefully heed Jesus’ words in Matthew 7, first let us prayerfully reflect on our own life, laying down our offenses at the cross, accepting Christ’s forgiveness and living a new life set apart for God before we confront our brothers and sisters. But don’t judge me! I’m still trying to work this out.

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