One of the most used scriptures in the Bible and yet one of the most misunderstood scriptures of the Bible.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? ~Matthew 7:1-3 NKJV
Was this mandate to us by Jesus to not judge? No, this was mandated by Jesus for us to not judge outside of rightness. (Yes, that was spelled correctly!) Jesus, time and again, judged many times through the parables he used to teach others with, the Pharisees bringing the adulterous woman for judgement, the clearing out of the money-changers from the temple courtyard, etc.
All throughout the Bible there are references that infer, or blatantly speak of, making proper judgements. Are we perfect when we judge our children as we teach them to be honorable adults? Not a chance! Because none of us is good…no, not one! We are never perfect in this life, but from time to time we must make judgement.
While listening to Should Christians Judge Others? (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #81) I find much clarification to my ability to better understand this scripture. The fact that many of us, have a tendency to, take the scripture alone and not in the context with the Biblical text as a whole. This is why when we refer to a scripture we MUST always take it within the confines of the textual context of the Bible. Why, You may ask? IF the Bible is true and is the Word of God, THEN the Bible cannot be contradictory. That said, we must ensure that whatever we excerpt from the Bible must be in agreement with the remainder of the Bible. We tend to take the Biblical text out of it’s proper context.
Remember the adulterous woman who was brought before Jesus for His judgement? There were problems with this case, so-to-say, because the Pharisees did not bring the man with whom she committed adultery. Consider what the Old Testament say on the subject:
The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. ~Leviticus 20:10 NKJV
Kind of funny, but it works for me! We are forever stuck on the ability to see what others are doing so wrong in their lives, yet we cannot see the the same problems (although they are much worse) in our own lives. We humans have this, apparently, as a super power. The hypocrisy in our lives is grand. As we grow older…I would like to think we become a little more wise. Like speaking without thinking, first. Leaping without looking, first. I think you get my drift.
The Apostle Paul placed it into perspective when he spoke:
Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written. ~Romans 2:17-24 NKJV
Our judgement should not be hypocritical, but rather wise and honest. IF we are to truly emulate Christ in our lives, in a representative way, THEN we must act out of love, truth, honesty, integrity, and how He would also act in that same situation. You remember the old WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) If we can keep this in our field of view and use it as a reminder, then it can help keep us on the right path. Just the same as if we would keep Biblical scripture on our minds while we live out our daily lives! It is a help, not perfect because we are fallible creatures, as mentioned above.
We are all destined to do great things for God, while we live out our lives. However, we must spend time in God’s word, the Bible. We must dedicate ourselves to God, yielding ourselves to Jesus. Hearing the word, accepting the word, repenting of our sins, being baptized, and evangelizing to all others. This is our purpose, our goal to enter into heaven. And to aid others to enter into heaven, or at least laying out the option before them. We need to go before others in love and honesty…despite our faults.
Everything that we need to do is laid out in the Bible…literally written out for us.
May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!