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God’s Story... For My Life - Sunday, May 11, 2014

Judge Not

Read Matthew 7:1-5

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
(Matthew 7:1-5)

Reflect

Pronouncing judgment is not foreign to New Testament teaching. Jesus cautioned against false prophets (7:15-23), and Paul taught that we should exercise church discipline (1 Corinthians 5:1-2) and trust God to be the final Judge (1 Corinthians 4:3-5).

But Jesus’ warning, “Do not judge others,” is against the attitude that tears others down in order to build oneself up. Jesus tells us to examine our own motives and conduct, looking for hypocrisy. This is not a blanket statement to overlook wrong behavior of others but a call to be discerning and reflective. We should apply every teaching to ourselves before we apply it to anyone else (Ezekiel 3:10-11).

Respond

The traits in others that bother us are often habits we see in our own lives. Our sinful habits can be the very ones that we most want others to change. In a sense, we can tend to take the anger we feel toward ourselves and direct it at others. If you are ready to criticize someone, check your motives. Judge yourself first. Is that a sin you have known and struggled with? Let that experience and understanding guide you toward compassion, then lovingly forgive and help those who are struggling too.