August 21, 2014
READ: Matthew 7:1-12
Do not judge others, and you will not be judged (v.1).
Do not judge others” may be the most popular verse in the world. It’s the one phrase from the Bible that everyone seems to know—and often misapply. A former politician continued to text inappropriate photos of himself to strangers even after he apologised and resigned in disgrace. He angrily told a disgusted voter that he had no right to judge him. Pope Francis, when asked about gay priests, replied, “Who am I to judge?” I believe he meant that it’s not his job to judge people’s hearts, but many mistook it as an endorsement of a homosexual lifestyle.
What did Jesus mean when He said, “Do not judge others”?
First, Jesus didn’t mean that we should not judge actions. The “don’t judge” mantra is the last refuge for those who get caught red-handed. They know what they did was wrong, but if they can make others feel even worse for saying so, then—comparatively—they may feel better about themselves.
To understand our need for a Saviour, however, we must identify sin. So rather than turn a blind eye to it, Jesus commands us to “go privately and point out the offence” (Matthew 18:15). Paul writes, “If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path” (Galatians 6:1). “Gently and humbly” is the key.
Secondly, Jesus meant we should not judge persons. We must not proudly assume that we’re better than they are; but being “careful not to fall into the same temptation” (Galatians 6:1), we leave their fate to God. We’re glad to let God be their judge, for who would want that responsibility? We’re responsible only to love them, which sometimes means pointing out that what they did was wrong.
Instead of judging others, we can follow Jesus’ lead and love people by gently and humbly judging actions.
365-day plan› Luke 17:20-37
Read 1 Corinthians 5:1-12 to learn how judging sin is an act of love.
How can you know that your “judging” is “speaking the truth in love”? How can your loving, but convicting words lead others to God’s grace and forgiveness?