Make Proper Judgements
Matt 7:1-6, 13-20
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 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? 4 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? 5 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.
6 “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.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Jesus tells us to not judge. Then He gives an example that indicates that we have issues that prevent us from being good judges. But then, He goes on to tell us to judge some people as dogs. And finally He tells folks to inspect the fruit of people’s lives to determine whether or not we should trust what they say.
Don’t judge, be careful about judging ourselves, judge others, judge others. Which one is it? Well, let’s start by considering what it means to judge, then we will move on from there!
There are various options for how to understand the nuances of this word. In my Vine’s dictionary of NT words judge is a noun:
- A man who rules in court or otherwise is given authority to decide. (Elders for example are called upon to judge issues.)
Verb: The word literally means to select, separate or choose. It is applied in many different ways:
- assume the office of judge
- undergo the process of a trial
- to give a sentence
- to condemn
- to execute judgement
- to govern
- to form an opinion
- to make a resolve
Judgement in life is completely unavoidable. We must judge. We make distinctions and decisions all of the time every day. Some are not very important: What will I wear? What will I eat? What will I buy?
Some are very important: Who will I trust? What will I listen to? What will I support with my time, money, talent, energy? What career will I pursue? How will I treat people?
Since the issue is so broad and judgement is unavoidable, let’s start with the issue of what ways judgment is off limits to us.
- Do Not Displace God as Judge
- One lawgiver and judge
James 4: 11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
God is the only one who can enforce His will on others! And He chooses to be patient!!
1 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them.
There will be times when we want to destroy our enemies. God is patient. Jesus rebuked this in the Apostles. He will rebuke it in us as well.
- Be careful with God’s law
2 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
God is impartial.
God knows the heart of people.
God knows the law.
God is responsible for vengeance.
- All are worthy of judgement
This is why I think Jesus goes into the log eye story, which, I have been told is meant to be funny. (But notice, there is no way to judge bad judging without judging.) In any event, hypocrisy is a sin highlighted in the religious leaders consistently.
Measured to you with the measure that you use. I know that this is true of people… what about God?
As people we are prone to hypocrisy. I want you to know that for me, the only progress that I have made in my life in fighting against self- righteousness (where I would view myself as more righteous than someone else) and hypocrisy (where I would view myself as more righteous than I am) is because of my own sin. I am more aware of my issues than I was in the past. I am more aware of my insecurity and how it makes me withdraw from people and not invest in service etc. By the way, I am still very good at finding the weaknesses of others. I just don’t find them to be as important as I used to. Your sinful issues are what will steal life from you. They will make your life worse and your family’s life worse. I don’t condemn you for your sin, but I don’t condone it either. I may be able to help bear your burden, but I am afraid to condemn you, because I only stand in the grace of God.
Micah 6:8 He has shown you O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: To do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
I will be just in my actions toward others. I will love mercy and extend mercy to others in their actions toward me. And I will walk in humility before God, trusting in Him to care for my needs as I go. God is my judge, not you. God is your judge, not me.
7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
John 3: 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
God lacks no ability to judge and condemn. He does not need our help!
- Plenty of Judging in this Passage
- Do not judge requires a judgement
- How do we determine pearls and swine?
- Before we trust others, we must inspect their lives
III. Good Judging
- Use the standard you want used on you
Protect people. Protect their faith. Help them to love better. Warn them about the dangers of un-forgiveness, bitterness and other
- Make a distinction between people and actions
We are called to be patient, kind, gentle, merciful, and so on. So, judge people’s actions in the light of these fundamental Christ- like characteristics.
If people know that you love them, then they will allow you to speak into their lives and question their behavior. But if they don’t feel that you love them, then it’s a much tougher road!
Please do this with yourself as well! The Holy Spirit does!!
- Speak the truth in love
Without casting pearls before swine. Jesus’ use of parables. Jesus not directly explaining Who He was to the Pharisees. At His trial, they asked Jesus:
63 And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Old Testament and New Testament Canons.
What is a Canon? It is a measuring rod. We are measured by the Bible. We are called to conform to God’s character and will.
Teach and Correct. Rebuke and Train. But do it carefully!
Luke 6 gives us this same message in greater detail:
37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 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? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.