Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Rachel and I appreciate your participation with us in prayer each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival. The psalmist said, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
Last week we looked at how wrong it is to sit in judgment upon others; this week, I have a few more thoughts about wrong judgment and right judgment from Matthew 7. How we judge others says far more about us than the ones we are judging.
When Jesus said in Matthew 7, “Judge not, so that you won’t be judged,” He was prohibiting us from usurping His authority and passing judgment and condemnation on others. He was warning us against incorrect judgment. He went on to say, “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?” (Mat 7:2-4 ESV).
To judge in a right manner means to discern, to distinguish, or determine for oneself. We are not to judge by condemning or passing a sentence upon others. That is God’s work! We learn here in Matthew that it is necessary to judge in a right manner and to do this, it takes a considerable amount of self-examination and honesty. Before you even consider judging someone else, remember that the way you judge them is the very same way you will be judged. Added to that, He used the analogy of the beam and the splinter. How dare we judge another who has a little problem, when our lives are filled with greater ones? How can we even properly see the wrongs of others when we have our own issues that need attending to?
Jesus brought further clarification to this subject in the gospel of John where He said, “Stop judging according to outward appearances, rather judge according to righteous judgment” (Jn 7:24). If you are going to judge a fellow brother or sister, you'd better be very careful not to base your judgment merely on what you think you see. Do you know your brother's motive? Are you fully aware of the circumstances and the reasons why your sister did what she did? Do you know her background, her upbringing, or the influences at work in her making the choices she made? We can so easily jump to a conclusion, judge, and even criticize when we just don’t know the full story.
Secondly, we need to judge in a loving manner. We need to ask ourselves the question: “Why am I judging my brother or sister? Is it to promote myself and my way of thinking? Is it to make me look better or perhaps more spiritual than someone else? Or do I lovingly, carefully, and consciously discern a problem and seek with wisdom to help my brother? Is it for self-glory or for God’s glory? The real problem being highlighted in Matthew 7 is hypocrisy. Jesus didn’t mince words. He said in verse 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.” Wow!! This is a real blow, a direct hit, a knockout punch that leaves most of us on our faces.
The next time you open your mouth to judge another believer, stop and consider if it is right judgment and if you are being loving in doing so.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel