Judge Not …

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Check your judging eyes

Today’s Bible reading* is well-known, especially by those who don’t want to be judged by you. You may have even quoted Jesus when He said, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1 CSB)

Oftentimes, this passage is pulled out of thin air as if it had no context at all. Sure, Jesus told His Disciples not to judge, but look at the context of His instruction. Fourteen verses later, He says,

Matthew 7:15–20 (CSB)
“Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-20 CSB)

Obviously, in order to beware of false prophets, you have to do a certain amount of judging. He says, “You will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:20 ESV) So what’s going on here? Is Jesus contradicting Himself? Of course not!

Let’s look a little closer to the immediate context of Matthew 7:1 by looking at the very next verse. “For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use.” Matthew 7:2 (CSB)

And then look at verses three through five. “Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a beam of wood in your own eye? Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3–5 CSB)

It appears that Jesus is simply saying that we need to be aware that we all suffer from bad eyesight. And we will be judged by the same standard by which we judge others.

Application

We had some friends whose kids wanted a slice of pie. But there was only one slice. They told their children that one of them could cut the piece in half and the other kid could choose which half to eat. Let me tell you, the kid cutting the pie made sure that he sliced the pieces exactly the same size! If he hadn’t, he would surely have eaten the smaller slice!

All of us have trouble seeing clearly. And when it comes time to make judgment calls, Jesus tells us to be careful. Our judgment should be according to the way that we would want to be judged. This is an application of the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) which sits right in the middle of the chapter.

* Today we are reading Matthew 7.

This devotional was originally published on April 12, 2020.


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