We live in a world that says, “Just love, don’t judge. To judge is to be intolerant.” It is spoken both outside the church and inside the church. The non-Christian will have no problem pulling out and sharing Matthew 7:1 with their Christian neighbor, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Even some Christians consider any judging to be bad. But to stand on human opinions is the wrong direction to take. We need to ask, “What does Jesus say about this?” While it is true He says what He does in Matthew 7:1, we must remember this verse is within a context. Some judging is bad and sinful but not all judging is. In order to understand what this means, two truths must be put in place: (1) the measurement of judgement and (2) the motive of judging. Jesus tells us not to judge because the same measurement will be used on us (7:1). So, in a sense, a person who says we should not judge has a point. We are not the ones who ultimately have the right to judge or the authority to judge; only God does. Therefore, the measurement of judgment is the Word of God. We all are guilty and fall short of His standard so we approach this subject as repentant sinners. We do not judge by our own standards and we do not judge as those who are self-righteous. In other words, we do not judge hypocritically. This issue is the problem Jesus was discussing when He speaks in terms of “speck” and “log”. The motive in judging, or pointing out other’s sin, is to help them grow in Christ. We do it for their good, not for harm. It is a part of what it means to make disciples. At the same time, we realize before we can make disciples we have to be disciples. This involves examining our own hearts and lives and judging our own sin and going to God with it. Only after we have taken the “log” out of our own eye will we be able to correct our brother or sister in Christ by taking the tiny “speck” in their own eye. Our motive is love and we love when we speak truth and point others to Christ. Therefore, we share with others their need for Jesus as their Savior because they are sinners. We humbly correct our Christian brothers and sisters because they are not living according to the Word of God. So, in summary, the measurement of judgment is the Word of God and motive in judgment is love. We understand God is ultimately the judge so that is why we point others to Him.
- What has been your view on the idea of “do not judge”? How does understanding Matthew 7:1-6 help you deal with this biblically?
- Before lovingly correcting a Christian brother or sister, examine your own heart and repent of where sin lies in your affections and actions.