While with Jesus on the mountain today, we hear Him teaching about judging others. This is another HARD section, because who among us can say they don’t judge? Are we allowed to form opinions on other’s actions? How far does this command go? What does Jesus really mean?
I am having a VERY difficult time writing this today. I have been trying to put something down for over five hours. I am SO not qualified to do this! I don’t know if I am being convicted, condemned or confused, but I am getting nowhere. I will share what I have gathered in my disjointed search today. I need your help in finding the deeper meat in this passage.
Here is what I came up with. Jesus tells us directly not to judge others. I want to start by defining the word “judge.” Since Jesus wasn’t speaking about a judge serving in an official capacity and His wording refers to the action word, “judging”, we are going to look at the verb meanings for this word. From Dictionary.com we get:
To form a judgment or opinion of; decide upon critically:
You can’t judge a book by its cover.
To infer, think, or hold as an opinion; conclude about or assess:
He judged her to be correct.
We assess or form opinions on all sorts of things all day long. So I’m thinking Jesus is warning us against is passing “judgment” on one another. When we “judge books by their cover”, we pass judgment on someone for their actions without talking with them about their motives or reasons behind their actions. We put our own interpretation on what they could have been thinking when the behaved as they did.
Jesus says that with whatever measure we use to judge another, we will be judged with that same measure. I don’t know if this is what Jesus really meant but this is what I’m thinking. If I judge someone when I am angry and find them wanting because they failed to meet expectations, I am saying that I will accept the same sort of judgment in return from God; when He is angry with me. I was just noticing something in Jesus’ words. He didn’t say who would be judging me back. Is He specifically saying God is judging me using my same measure or is He saying that man will judge me back using my measure? Or could it be both?
I believe I understand the speck and log portion of our scripture. I am NOT perfect. I have flaws of my own that I need to deal with. When I go charging after someone else demanding they change, I better have dealt with that issue in my own life first.
I looked up “casting your pearls before swine” earlier. Got Questions.com tells me that, though we refrain from judging people we are to use discernment in our interactions. I want to go look up the meaning of discernment on our favorite dictionary site.
To perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend:
They discerned a sail on the horizon.
To distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different; discriminate:
He is incapable of discerning right from wrong.
The Got Question.com site specifically talks about sharing the Gospel with those who you know will “trample it and return to their evil ways.” I don’t know if they are talking about the plan of salvation or correction for obvious sins. I also don’t have a clear understanding of the difference between discernment and judgement. Anyone want to lend me an answer?
I looked at another website written by Jason Staples. He offered a look at his CV so I could feel better about what I was reading. I liked what he had to say and since he is a LOT more educated in biblical issues than I am, I’m going to lean on his understanding. He basically said that we are not prohibited from making any judgements but that we are to first clean up our own act before ruling on another’s actions.
So the passage is actually a condemnation of hypocrisy, not judgment. Jesus’ counsel is to tend to our own behavior and attitudes before attempting to help anyone else. If we attempt to judge before doing so, our judgment will be flawed by our own “splinters.” But the passage is in no way forbidding judgment. On the contrary, it asserts that judgment, like charity, begins at home.
God, I am SO far from perfect. I fail to meet even one of Your standards. My heart has been wrestling with Your words today. I know part of it is Your Holy Spirit working in me, but I’m also aware of the screaming condemnation of Satan in there too. Please help me listen to You Spirit and address the logs I have without being so afraid of taking a stand for right when I clearly see something or someone trampling it. I will NEVER judge a person’s relationship status with You but I can see by their actions where their commitment to Your commands lies. I can rightly discern if someone is lying to me without labeling them a liar. I can also discern that someone who habitually lies to me cannot be trusted. Please Lord, keep me within Your bounds and attempting to live by the same standards I set out for others. Let those be Your standards and not ones of my own design. Forgive me for my many failures and help me remember to forgive others for theirs too. Thank You for carrying me through this difficult lesson today. Please provide others with insight that they might be willing to share with me on this issue that I find so difficult to fully understand myself.