Sermon On The Mount Devotional Blog 25

Sermon On The Mount Devotional

Don’t Judge Me!

Read Matthew 7:1-6 (ESV)

“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.”

Perhaps you have seen the kid’s movie “Ferdinand”. It is a story of a young bull who escapes from his training camp in Spain after losing his father to a showdown with a matador. Raised by a young girl, Ferdinand, along with some new bull friends, must break free from the authorities who have recaptured him and will soon force him to fight against a famous bullfighter named El Primero. This is a fun and well-made kids’ movie, but, like many movies of this generation, much more is going on in the sub-text than is first perceived. The themes of anti-authority, self-direction, self-actualization and people being able to determine their own identities are front and center in this story. 

We live in a culture that is all about freedom- freedom from law, freedom authority, from being judged and from objective truth. Truth - is there an objective standard of truth by which to judge? This world says that truth is up to the individual to determine- whatever each person wants to believe. This is called relativistic morality. A relativistic world says no, that there is no objective standard of truth by which we can judge anything. All morality is subjective and up to each person. This world cannot believe in nor bend the knee to an objective truth standard because to do so would mean there would have to be an objective truth standard Giver. Law implies a law giver and that is unacceptable to a society that demands freedom. 

So, we can make no value judgments on other people. The watch word for this worldview is “tolerance”. We are all called to be tolerant of everyone else’s views, since no one view is higher than another. The cardinal “sin” according to this worldview is to judge another person and to say that you are right and they are wrong. There is one exception to this view. One value judgment can be made and one group can be judged to be wrong - Christians. Because Christians claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven (an exclusive claim), a claim made by Christ Himself when He said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”, Christ and Christians are fair game for ridicule, persecution, and judging. 

Now, when Christ tells His followers to “Judge not, lest you be judged” (Matthew 7:1), He is not saying that we can never use discernment and evaluate of people, their views, and their lives. John 7:24 says, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” Matthew 7:15-16 instructs us to “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” The implication of both of these passages is that we are to use discernment. 

 What He is saying is that we must be careful not to make judgments on people and their eternal state. We must not condemn because we do not know the heart. Christ gives four reasons why we are not to judge in this way. First, because God is the Judge of all mankind, we will be judged ourselves by Him (vs. 1). Second, when we judge others, we invite judgment on ourselves, from God and from man (vv. 2-3). Third, since we cannot evaluate ourselves very accurately, why should we try and critique the flaws in others (vv. 4-5)? And fourth, when it comes to judging, we should ask God for the grace to see ourselves accurately and to remove our own sin (vv. 7-11), taking out the log of sin in our own eye before we remove the speck in our brothers’ or sisters’ eyes.

In our godly discerning we are to refrain from hypercritical and condemning judgments. We don’t know the hearts of others, and we need to first look at ourselves to see the log. A Biblical example of this kind of discernment without condemning judgment is seen when King David had walked into sin with Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan had to go to him in confrontation after discerning David to have sinned.

King David was guilty of many sins, even the terrible sin of sending Bathsheba’s husband to battle to be killed but particularly of sexual sin. There have definitely been times in our society when an accuser is guilty of the same sin. Sometimes the loudest accusers are trying to throw off attention from their own sins. Christians are at times accused of being hypocritical by a watching world, and some of the times these charges are accurate. Should Christians, who claim to have been forgiven by Christ and cleansed of sin, who are pointing at a sinful world calling it to repentance and faith, be held to a higher standard? If we say that we have been forgiven by Christ and that we are living by a different standard and calling a watching world to turn from its sin, should not we ourselves be fleeing from the very sin we charge the world with?  When King David was charged with sexual adultery, lying, and murder, the prophet Nathan said that his sin was responsible for the enemies of the Lord showing utter contempt for God. David’s sin was hypocritical, and so he was judged by God more severely.

Now it is true that everyone has sinned, including Christians. Christians, who have been shown grace and have received forgiveness for sin, still continue to struggle. There is forgiveness for all sin, but we must understand that, when we sin, we cheapen what Jesus did for us on the Cross. May it never be said of us that, because of our continuing sin, we cause others to question the goodness and truthfulness of Jesus. 

So, What Now? 

Are we guilty of judging others in a hypercritical way? Are we perhaps guilty of some of the same sin that we find ourselves judging harshly? Perhaps being guilty of sexual sins ourselves? 

If we are guilty of similar sin that we condemn in others, let us be quick to confess to the Lord and ask, not only for forgiveness for ourselves, but also that we would pray for those others that whom we judge, that they too would confess and turn from their sin, perhaps even for salvation. Let us pray that we would have our critical natures being replaced with natures of compassion and forgiveness.