Thoughts from the Sermon on the Mount…
This is a popular saying in our culture, and it is frequently used to defend a person’s actions, decisions, or lifestyle against criticism. Practically any type of verbal criticism is considered to be “judging”:
- Gossip against a neighbor for guilty-looking behavior
- Guessing a person’s motivation for their actions
- Preaching against a specific sin
- Declaring a lifestyle as wrong
Many people who are familiar with Scripture may even refer to Jesus’ words here, in Matthew 7:1, where He says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Therefore, shouldn’t we be silent, and not speak against things that we see to be wrong?
Or, should we do as many well-meaning teachers do, and try to explain away Jesus’ words until it no longer applies to us?
Or to put this in another perspective, how can we answer real problems in this world and yet still obey Jesus’ command not to judge?
Jesus calls us to a life that transcends the failures of one another.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 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? 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.
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.