Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-6“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
In our reading, Jesus instructs that one should not judge. But, how far should that go? Is there a difference between judging something and being judgmental toward someone? Or is there a difference between judging and discerning? Let me illustrate both of these with a couple of illustration:
– The Lone Ranger and Tonto stopped in the desert for the night. After they got their tent all set up, both men entered it and fell sound asleep.
Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says, “Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see?” The Lone Ranger replies, “I see millions of stars.” “What that tell you?” asked Tonto. The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute then says, “Astronomicallyspeaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. And Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What’s it tell you, Tonto?”
Tonto is silent for a moment, then says, “Kemo Sabe, you are dumber than a box of rocks! It means someone stole tent.”
The Lone Ranger was discerning. But when Tonto called the Lone Ranger “dumber than a box of rocks” that’s being judgmental.
– Suppose you come to a stoplight that just turned red and someone comes up from behind you and goes through that red light. A discerning person might think, “That was not too smart. That was down right dangerous. That’s a good way to have an accident.”
The judgmental person might think and say, “That idiot! That person is absolutely stupid! They’re going to get killed and wind up in hell!” Now that’s being highly judgmental!
We all need to discern what is right and wrong in life without being judgmental but sometimes, it’s hard to separate the two. Yet when say something to someone who definitely doing something wrong what do they say? “The Bible says ‘Judge not’.”
Now does the Bible tell us that we are not allowed to judge between right and wrong, good and bad, truth and error? How do we obey God’s commands to uphold the truth and stand against wickedness while keeping judgmental attitudes in balance? I hope that this lesson will clear up this issue for you.
I. To begin with in Matt. 7:1-2 Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Now was Jesus is saying that one should never ever judge others? I think not. As with all Bible study, one needs to consider the context. In doing so, as one reads the Sermon on the Mt., over and over we see that Jesus has been raising the bar when it comes to living a holy and righteous life. Earlier we read that He told those He was talking to not to do what the hypocritical Pharisees and teachers of the law were doing, but rather their own righteousness should surpass that of those men because they were greedy, self indulgent, show offs and hypocrites. (Mt. 5:20 & Mt. 23). (Click on verses to read.)
So when Jesus tells the people not to judge others, I believe that He did not want the people to make judgments like those men who were harsh, critical, and ready to condemn anyone who got in their way, or didn’t meet their standards.
Now consider some ways, that for example, we should not judge one another: -We should not judge people because of their outward appearance, how they look, how they dress, nor by their nationality or color of their skin. There’s good and bad in all. – We should not judge people based on their financial status. – We should not judge anyone because of their physical condition
I think it is our human nature to want to judge people. But it one thing to evaluate and discern but it’s quite another to make and pass judgment on them. We are told it is not our place to do that.
James 4:11-12 “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?”
Jame’s words are very powerful and plain. ‘WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TO JUDGE SOMEONE ELSE?’ By judging others we put ourselves in the roll of God and that is dangerous territory. Did you know that’s what caused Satan to get kicked out of heaven!
If you take the time to look at what Jesus emphasizes here in our text, He said that if you are going to start making such judgment about other individuals we in turn will be judged according to those same standard that we judge others. I believe that the real warning here.
We don’t have the right to judge someone’s heart based how long a person’s hair is or how much money they have. Only God can do that. But I believe we can judge someone by looking at and considering their actions and words when placed beside the truth and real facts.
If were not allowed to make any evaluations and judgments at all, it would becomes impossible to distinguish between right and wrong. People could simply do anything that they’d wanted to do.
The Bible commands us to make some judgments. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 commands us: “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” So we can make some observations and if we see that certain individuals are doing something ungodly or illegal we should make a judgment and choose to stay away from such individuals base on this verse.
But we need to be careful. In Matthew 7:3 Jesus goes on to say “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” The point of what Jesus is saying is this: don’t even think about criticizing or judging others if you’ve got more problems to be condemned for than they do. That’s just what the Pharisees we doing.
Then we see in the following text how discerning we are to be. As a matter of fact I believe Jesus warns us that it might be dangerous if we don’t make some good judgments and treat everyone the same. Matt. 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. ” The dogs and pigs of Jesus’ time were not quite what we think of today. As someone said, “We’re not talking Lassie and Miss Piggy here!”
What is Jesus talking about in this verse? He is talking about discerning that which was evil and dangerous in life. There are some people who treat that which is good, including the gospel and all things having to do with God and Christ with scorn and contempt.
– During a cold winter, a farmer found a snake stiff and frozen with cold. The snake said to the Farmer, “If you pick me up and hold me to your stomach, your body will make me warm.” The Farmer said, “If I do that you will bite me.” The Snake answered, “Why would I do that if you save me? The Farmer had compassion on the Snake, and taking it up, placed it in his bosom. The Snake was quickly revived by the warmth and resumed its natural instincts, bit the farmer, inflicting on him a mortal wound. “Oh,” cried the Farmer, “Why did you bite me after I saved you?” “You knew I was a snake when you picked me up,” answered the Snake. With his last breath the farmer said, “I guess I got what I deserved for pitying a scoundrel.”
Get the point? If you cozy up to a snake you’re liable to get bit! Jesus said, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
So I believe that Jesus was telling them and us that we need to be discerning in life. When it comes to spreading the good news or other blessing from God some people will not listen. And some people will even do worse than not listen. Some will turn on you and attack you! Or abuse you! Or cuss you!
Give a Bible to a true atheist and what will he do with it? Probably trash it; maybe even throw it at you. Give what is holy and good to those who care less and Jesus said you may even put yourself in danger.
So what do we do with such people? Do you remember what Jesus told His disciple to do what they were rejected. He said leave and shake the dust of yourself. I think we need to walk away from them and not waste our time arguing with them. Turn them over to God, and then pray for them. (Consider Paul. He was an enemy but God did to him what no man could do.)
CONCLUSION—So today we see here Jesus does not condemn all judging. He says we’re to make right judgments, but we also avoid being harsh and hypocritical judges who are unwilling to live by the standards we’re using to judge others. So my encouragement today is that you do not condemn others but let go and let God be the judge with a wise and discerning prayerful heart.