We live in a very judgmental world, have you ever noticed? Think of how Christians are constantly bombarded with the message from unbelievers that we are too judgmental and are hypocrites and yet the unbelievers are practicing judgmental attitudes toward us. Think about the terrorists who want to kill many in the western world because we are not conforming to their version of religion. That is being judged. Or what about the people who judge a situation in the news and comment on how horrible the parents were for whatever the latest tragedy has been. Yes we are constantly living with someone’s opinion of how we should or should not live out our lives. I want to remind myself about not being judgmental and so I am going to study the subject of judging others today.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “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? 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? 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. “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, (New International Version or NIV).
It is difficult to live one’s life without making any judgements about anything. We have to be smart and wise and discerning and yet we are using some comparison in making such a judgement call. For instance I tell my son the same advice I gave my adult children when they were young to make certain that you do not lower yourself to a friend’s level but to make your friend rise to your level. For instance a friend of yours uses the Lord’s name in vain all the time and it bothers you. Talk to the friend and let them know that you dislike them doing this and if they truly want your friendship they will refrain from cussing around you. That is raising them to your level rather than you lowering to their level. So have I told my children to judge another person? Yes, I probably have, but I am also giving them life skills in discernment. A friend who doesn’t refrain from cussing around you after you have asked them to stop will probably not be a good friend for long as it is a sign of disrespect for the friendship.
I do not believe that Jesus is talking about the judgements that we need to make as part of being wise and discerning. What Jesus is talking about in this passage is saying that if you think you are better than someone because of who you think you are then you are guilty of judging others. Judging someone as a low-life means that you think you are better than they are. I have often heard the words white-trash or red-neck when describing some people and I believe that is an example of the judging Jesus says not to do. If we do think that we are better than trailer-trash, ghetto-trash etc., then we will be judged with the same criteria that we used to judge someone else. To me that is a frightening thought!
As I look back in my life I can see periods of times and instances when I was very judgmental about someone else. I regret that I was and I have repented and asked God to forgive me. I think that youth and inexperience in life caused me to believe that everyone should do or think the same way that I do. As I have aged and gained more experiences and met many people from all walks of life I have come to realize that unless I know the whole story I cannot in all good conscience judge someone for their behavior or actions. Even knowing the whole story of someone’s life does not give me the privilege of judging them because that is God’s job and not mine. I may not agree with the choices that they have made in their life. I might not have made the same decisions that they did but I can’t judge them as unworthy or wrong or anything else. Why? Because I have my own skeletons in my closet or as Jesus says I have a huge tree in my own eye so how can I possibly help them with the speck in their eye. Besides I am not perfect and only the one who is perfect has the right to judge.
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 1 Peter 1:17-21, (NIV).
Notice who has the right to judge? God, the Father, and when I judge someone else for the way that they live their life or for the choices they make or for the decisions that they are making I am saying that I am equal to God. Wow! How arrogant is that! Christ came to give all of us the opportunity to have our sins covered by His blood and if you have been judgmental toward others then I might suggest that you take this free gift of grace extended to you and ask Jesus to come into your heart. If you are a believer in Christ and have been judging others then I suggest that you repent and confess your sins to God. You do not want to be in the position to have God show you that you are in no way equal to Him, now do you?
I am thankful for the second part of the first sentence in the passage above. When God judges each person it will be done with no partiality. In other words God doesn’t have favorites and won’t be lenient to some over others. This is good news for me because I would not want to be judged in comparison to you or to anyone! I will be judged for my own work or lack of work. I will be judged for the sins I committed and not the sins someone else commits. Praise God for the blood of Jesus covering my sins! Whew!
I want to go back to the first passage we looked at and review something.
“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 7:6, (NIV).
Why is this added at this particular spot in the Bible? What does this have to do with judging others? Well, I think it is very important and that it is connected to the passage on judging others. Jesus is giving a warning lesson here that we are to be wise and have discernment which is different from being judgmental. We need to be sure that the people we come into contact on earth are real truth seekers and not just dogs or pigs. If I try sharing the Gospel with someone who pretends to be interested but over time is not making progress and I begin to see that they are just trying to use me to gain something that they want from me or from people I know then they are a dog or a pig. Look what else the Bible says about dogs.
As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Proverbs 26:11
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” 2 Peter 2:20-22, (NIV).
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. Revelation 22:14-15, (NIV).
I don’t know about you but I get it! We are to be wise and not mess around with the dogs and pigs of this world. That is not being judgmental but it is being wise and having discernment. I hope this has helped you as it has helped me in clarifying what is judging others verses what is being discerning.