Monday, June 13, 2016

The Commands of Jesus: Judge Not

There are a lot of people these days who feel we should not be judging one another and, for the most part, they are right. Television shows we watch are filled with people judging one another and the television has become the world's classroom. We learn most of what we know about judging from television. That's a problem.

What does the Bible tell us about judging others? And, more specifically, what does Jesus say about it? More on that in a moment but first this little side story.

Coffee Cup Verses. That's what they call them. They are wonderful little snippets of words to encourage us as we start our day.  Small portions of text that are pulled, screaming, from the Bible and taken as "gospel" while the surrounding words, often more convicting, are left behind in favor of feel-good Christianity. Matthew 7 is a perfect example of this.

The picture at the right is how many people read Matthew 7. We just remember the words we want to hear. We don't remember what came before or after. Wey forget about the context, cherry-picking only the key words . . . the ones that make them feel the best. When we do that we hear Jesus telling us that we are not to be judging others. Here's what Jesus actually said.

7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 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? 4 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? 5 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 7:1-5

The last verse is particularly interesting, especially the part that where Jesus tells us we ARE to judge our brothers and sisters . . . BUT . . . only after we have first judged ourselves.

Let's get one thing straight. As believers in Christ, Jesus is OUR judge. But Jesus says we are also to judge our brothers and sisters. And Paul tells us we are only to judge other believers, not non-believers.

"12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” - 1 Corinthians 5:12-13

So, what do we do? Do we judge others or not? I think the key to this issue can be found in another verse.

"7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” - John 8:7

Before we cast stones at others, before we judge them, we must first examine ourselves. Are WE without sin? Is there something in us that Jesus might see as sinful? Hey, we are ALL sinners. Let us reflect on that fact for a moment.

The key in all this is the word "first." Before we say anything convicting or condemning about someone else, we should consider our own guilt, our own sinfulness. Would the stones then from from OUR hands?

When a brother or sister sins, we should lovingly come along side them and guide them back to the truth. But we should not pick up stones to do so. We should go to them, carrying our OWN sin as a testimony that we ALL must repent. Let us judge one another, in love, and let's do so together.

Judge Not - Todd Friel (Wretched TV)

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