Matthew 7:1 “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.” NKJV
Perhaps no passage of Scripture has caused more confusion than – “Thou shalt not judge.” This is one verse in the Bible that everyone knows. What did Jesus mean when He told us to not judge others? Was He telling us to welcome everyone with open arms regardless of how they choose to live? Was He saying that sin doesn’t matter? Or did Jesus mean something much different?
There are two ways of viewing judgment that we need to recognize in order to better understand what Jesus meant:
- JUDGMENT WITH DISCERNMENT
- JUDGMENT FOR CONDEMNATION
To judge with discernment and to judge for condemnation are two different things. First of all, let’s consider what it means to JUDGE WITH DISCERNMENT.
Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. NKJV
Note that Paul prayed that their love would contain “knowledge and all discernment so that they would approve the things that are excellent.” It is not wise for a believer to always be naïve and without spiritual discernment. Jesus said: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16 NKJV) Though the disciples were to be gentle and innocent, they were also to be wise and discerning. They were to use godly discretion in their decisions. Jesus also said, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Mathew 7:6 NKJV) Though He was sending them into the world to share the gospel with every person, they were to realize and to recognize that there would be those who were hardened to the gospel and would reject it. He even said that there might come a time when they would need to ‘shake the dust off their feet and move on.’ (see Matthew 10:14)
In contrast to the JUDGMENT WITH DISCERNMENT is the JUDGMENT FOR CONDEMNATION. James and John saw the sin in the Samaritans’ lives and were ready to condemn them. “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them…?” As far as they were concerned, the Samaritans deserved to be judged, condemned, and destroyed. But Jesus rebuked them for their negative way of thinking.
As believers, we must recognize that there is a huge difference between recognizing the sin in someone’s life and desiring to help them versus recognizing the sin in someone’s life and being ready to condemn them. God sees the sin in every person’s life, yet He does not desire to destroy us. He is so concerned with redeeming us that He sent His Son to be our Savior. If God so loved the world, surely, we should as well.
Join me again tomorrow as we wrap up this week’s study. God bless you brethren.