Judge Yourself, Judge Others, Be Compassionate :: by Sean Gooding

Matthew chapter 7:1-6 (continued)

“Judge not, that ye may not be judged, for in what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and in what measure ye measure, it shall be measured to you.

And why dost thou behold the mote that [is] in thy brother’s eye, and the beam that [is] in thine own eye dost not consider? or, how wilt thou say to thy brother, ‘Suffer I may cast out the mote from thine eye, and lo, the beam [is] in thine own eye?’

Hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. 6 `Ye may not give that which is [holy] to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before the swine, that they may not trample them among their feet, and having  turned — may rend you” (Matthew 7:1-6).

Last time we ended our discussion by taking a look at Job.  We saw that even though he went through some very trying times, God blessed him more after his trials.  The blessings he had at the first were only half of what God wanted to give him. Job trusted God and submitted to Him and God honored his obedience and submission with great blessings.

One of the most important things for us to learn as children of God is that His character is impeachable.  God cannot cheat you, He cannot give you bad things and even when He allows bad things to happen, as in the case of job, God’s plan is always for your betterment.

His goals and His intentions are always to bless us and to grow us in His image. Job had a much more personal relationship with God at the end than he had when we first meet him. This kind of relationship is forged in fire, the kind of fire that destroys bad things and makes good things stronger. In Zechariah 13:9, we find this verse:

“I will put this third through the fire; I will refine them as silver is refined and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say: They are My people, and they will say: Yahweh is our God.”

God, of course, if referring to the nation of Israel and how He will reserve a third of the people for Himself; He will refine them and call them His.  But the process of refining is no different for any of us; God will put us to the fire as it is the most efficient way to get rid of garbage. If you and I are to have real and lasting intimate relationships with the Lord, we must submit to God’s fiery trials, they make us stronger and help us grow.

Today we will move on to chapter 7 and look at one of the most misused and misquoted verses in the entire Bible. Come let us grow together.

Judge Not, Verses 1-5

These are the only two words most people know out of the Bible. They apply it haphazardly to any and all situations where their actions, ideas, words or intentions are being called into questions.

“Judge not. You don’t have the right to judge me.” What they really mean is I know what I am doing is wrong, but it feels good and when you make me think about it, it is not fun anymore, so leave me alone.  We have the same reaction to the Lord’s Holy Spirit when He convicts us of sin. “ Lord, it feels so good at the time, but when you tell me it is wrong you spoil the fun.”

The Bible cannot and does not contradict itself. We know that there is judging that goes on every day in our court systems. No one in their right mind would stand in court and say to the judge, “Sir, you have no right to judge me.” That is his job; in fact that is his title, “Judge.”

God established the judicial system in the Scriptures, beginning in Exodus 21-23:9 God established laws and consequences for breaking those laws.  This is the very act of judging, one knows what is right and one can gauge if you are living by the rules or laws. This is called judging.

In Exodus 18:13-27 we find Moses sitting as a judge over the nation of Israel. He is trying to judge the issues they have and the work is too much. Through the godly advice of his father-in-law, he establishes judges for smaller groups of 50 all the way to 1000, and then he would handle the harder cases. This is exactly what we have in our judicial system today from the smaller more local courts to the supreme courts.  Judging is a part of life.

Imagine a game of football or basketball without judges, who are also called referees. The game would dissolve into chaos with everyone just doing whatever he felt was necessary to win.  The nation of Israel fell into this kind of behavior as it is recorded in the book of Judges.

We know that rules are a part of life, boundaries make life tolerable. We understand when someone is out of bounds in a game and woe to the ref who misses a call. The fans see it and let him know that he missed a judgment. We have instant replay to make sure that they get the judgments right.

Life is no different, we know the rules and we know when someone is out of bounds. No athlete in his right mind would tell the referee “judge not” and neither should we look at each other this way. We live in a life of judgment. What we really mean is please don’t tell me what I am doing is wrong; I have convinced myself that it is “ok.”  I have convinced myself that there is no one to answer to but me, no God to hold me accountable and when you remind me of my sin you remind me there is a God to which to answer.

Don’t be a Hypocrite, Verses 1-5

Now that we see that judging is a part of life, from getting a promotion at work to participating in a game to being arrested, there is judging involved in every aspect of life. The issue then with most people is that of being called out on their sin, but also being called out by those they perceive to be sinners like them.

We are to judge, but make sure that you do not come across as some kind of “holier than thou” person who is better than the other person because you don’t do their particular sin. We are sinners, all of us.  The same commandments that admonish us about honoring our parents tell us not to commit adultery.

Secretly coveting is still a sin even though someone cannot see you coveting in your mind, you are still a sinner.  Don’t ever forget that when calling someone out. Jesus admonishes us to be aware of our own sinfulness and come to terms with it and either be dealing with it or have dealt with is when we judge others.

If we remember our own sinfulness before we judge others we will find that we are more compassionate and more forgiving. This is not to condone the sin, but to deal with the sinner in the same way God deals with us.  He is slow to anger and He is ever forgiving.  Remember the account of the woman caught in adultery?

John 8:1-11

“But Yeshua went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak, he appeared again in the Temple Court; where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The Torah-teachers and the P’rushim brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery and made her stand in the center of the group.

Then they said to him, ‘Rabbi, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in our Torah, Moshe commanded that such a woman be stoned to death. What do you say about it?’ They said this to trap him, so that they might have ground for bringing charges against him; but Yeshua bent down and began writing in the dust with his finger.

When they kept questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘The one of you who is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then he bent down and wrote in the dust again. On hearing this, they began to leave, one by one, the older ones first, until he was left alone, with the woman still there.  Standing up, Yeshua said to her, ‘Where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ Yeshua said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Now go, and don’t sin any more.’”

Once her accusers made an account of their own sinfulness they were less inclined to judge this woman to her death. This did not make her sin any less sinful, Jesus reminded her not to sin anymore when she was leaving. People who forget their own sinfulness or forget the gravity of their sin tend to judge harshly and want to extract the highest costs from the sinner. People who forget their own sinfulness forget the vastness of God’s grace and are reluctant to extend it.

I have just finished reading through the gospels again and one thing among other things stuck with me, Jesus knew that Judas was stealing from the money bag but there is no account of Him ever calling Judas out. In fact, if anything, Jesus was extra gracious to Judas.

Jesus warned Peter that he would deny him but He also reminded him that this was not the end, when Peter had finished this failure, Jesus would still have work for him to do.  If God only used sinless people, He would be out of people.  We need to be reminded that sin though grievous and abhorrent to God is not beyond His grace and neither is the sinner.

One day ALL of us will have our secrets revealed and our true self brought to light. Are we to judge each other? Yes, we are called to do so. In our homes as parents, we are called to do so. As a society in judicial matters, we are called to do so in sports and games and we are called to both judge and be judged in life. But we are never to forget our own frailties and failures so that we do not exercise godly grace and compassion when we address other’s faults.

This Doctrine Is for People Who Want to Learn, Verse 6

When one first reads this verse it seems as if Jesus just went off on a tangent and entered the “Twilight Zone.” But in truth, He is making a clear distinction between His true followers and the Pharisees and other religious sects that dominated the land of Israel. Jesus was not one to waste time on people who did not want to learn.  He was very abrupt with the pious religious leaders and very gracious and patient with His disciples.

He was giving a teaching principle to us as His followers and eventually those who would be His ministers; don’t waste your time on people who don’t want to learn.  Jesus did not and neither should we. They killed Stephen in Acts 7 because his teaching cut them to the heart, the Bible says that gnashed on him with their teeth, verse 54. These people where “stiff necked” and refused to listen. We have some of these same people today amongst us, and even some in the Lord’s churches. They cannot or rather, will not be taught.

These lessons that Jesus left for us are there to make our lives better and to equip us to serve in His present kingdom and His coming kingdom. Don’t waste these lessons, use them, apply them to your daily life and let the Holy Spirit change you into a useful and faithful servant.

No “Twilight Zone” here, just Jesus reminding us that He was not teaching for the sake of teaching, He was doing it for our sakes and our benefit. Now, let us go and put His words into action.  Judge yourself before you judge others and when you judge others be compassionate and gracious, remembering your own sinfulness and human frailty.