Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
This may be one of our most difficult temptations. Did Jesus, who knew the hearts of man, truly struggle with being non-judgmental? His life was most assuredly affected by others judging Him. How can we judge right and wrong without being judgmental? This is a difficult topic and I am no expert on this subject. I do want to see how the Savior handled the judgmentalism of others and how He balanced discerning works without judging those participating in the works He found offensive. Matthew chapter 23 is a discourse with His disciples on how He viewed the scribes and Pharisees. He lists seven “woes” of this group. What is the difference in stating the facts and judging? I certainly have no business judging anyone as just this study has shown! I am guilty of a great deal and have no right to judge another’s life. It has been said,
Or as we say in the South, “walk a mile in my moccasins!”
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines the word judge as krino which means: “properly, to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); by implication, to try, condemn, punish:—avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.”
In Matthew 23:1-3, I love the Message translation: “Now Jesus turned to address His disciples, along with the crowd that gathered with them. ‘The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers of the Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teaching on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.’”
Here Jesus points out what they do well FIRST! Then, He does not attack an individual, but points out the shortcomings of the community. He goes on to specifically site areas in need of improvement and is far from complimentary in His assessment of this organization. He never attacked the individual. (Note to self!)
The Pharisees on the other hand, attacked Jesus directly! Jesus did not retaliate. He willingly taught the Pharisees who sought Jesus out to learn more about His message. No put downs for being a scribe or a Pharisee. No condemnation from Jesus!
I am sure you like I have been judged by someone at some point in time in a very hurtful way. Our natural self would automatically rise up in defense. Turning the other cheek is so not a “normal” response, but, it is what Jesus calls us to do. (Matthew 5:38-40)
Yet again, Jesus rises above the crowd and though tempted with verbal attacks on His mission and His person, He does not fall into sin. He does understand how one feels when publically attacked and judged. This should be my mantra: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34, The Message) Lord, give me Your eyes, as I look at those around me! I do not want to be a hypocrite! Help me see the image of you in each one I come in contact with no matter the circumstances.
Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath