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"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 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." Matthew 7:1-5

These words of Jesus do not forbid us to judge another's doctrine; for Jesus says, just a few verses later in His Sermon on the Mount, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits...." (15-16a).

They do not forbid us to judge between right and wrong and to admonish our brother when he sins; for Jesus also tells us, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone..." (Matt. 18:15ff.).

So, what does Jesus mean when He says, "Judge not...."? A reading of the verses which follow will provide the answer. Jesus is warning against our propensity to pick out and condemn the faults in others, no matter how small, and to overlook our own sins and shortcomings, even if they are large.

Thus He says, "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."

It is hypocritical of us to condemn the faults of others while, at the same time, overlooking or excusing our own.

And Jesus warns, "For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you."

It often happens in life that we end up being treated in the same way that we have treated others. Thus, if we have been overly critical and judgmental, we are likely to learn what it is like at the hand of others.

But, of far more serious consequence, is God's judgment. If we condemn the sins of others and are unwilling to forgive them, our Father in heaven will condemn us for our own sins and not forgive us, either! As Jesus says, "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:14-15).

Rather than being overly critical and judgmental of others, we should first look at ourselves in the light of God's Word; for when we compare our thoughts, words and deeds to God's commandments, we all come far short of God's holy expectations.

Again, as the Scriptures say, "Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins" (Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:23).

Rather than look at the sins and shortcomings of others, we ought to agree with God that we are sinners and acknowledge and confess our sins before God, trusting that He will forgive us and cleanse us for the sake of the holy life and innocent sufferings and death of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in our stead (cf. 1 John 1:7 -- 2:2).

"Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures ... he was buried ... he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3,4).

Rather than being judgmental and unforgiving toward our fellow sinners, God's Word tells us to "be merciful, even as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36); and to "be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32).

O dear Jesus, forgive me for being quick to judge and condemn others when I myself am a sinner and full of faults deserving of Your just punishment. For the sake of Your holy life and innocent sufferings and death upon the cross for the sins of the world, forgive me and cleanse my heart and move me to love others and seek to bring them to You that they too may know Your love and forgiveness and walk with You unto life everlasting. Amen.

[Devotion by Randy Moll. Scripture quotations are from The ESV® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Religion on 07/17/2019

Print Headline: 'Judge not, that you be not judged'

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