Judge more carefully (Matthew 7:1-5)

Matthew 7:1-5

The verb “judge” is one of the most nuanced words in the Bible. You need to look at the context surrounding each use of the word to understand precisely what it means when it is used.

For example, when Jesus says in Matthew 7:1-2, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you,” he does not mean we ought not to evaluate someone’s behavior. The illustration that he gives right after this assumes we may need to do that. If you have a big old log in your own eye, Jesus warns, how can you ever expect to take a speck of dust out of someone else’s eye. In the process, you may damage their eye in such a way that impedes their vision more than the speck. To remove the speck, Jesus says you need to first take the log out of your own eye. Then, and only then, will you be able to see clearly enough to take the speck out of someone else’s. (Matthew 7:3-5)

The tips below can help you judge more carefully.

Do not judge your brother or sister as if you are their judge (Romans 14:1-12). Do not put yourself in the seat of God regarding relatively minor issues. Do not get so sure of yourself that you think you have it completely right and they have it completely wrong. There is only One who can say that, namely Christ.

Search your own heart before you judge. The more significant the situation, the more you need to leverage whatever time you have to allow the Holy Spirit to apply God’s Word to your heart as you pray, study, and read the Word to help you see the situation more clearly. Remember to remove your own log before venturing to remove their speck.

Ask God for wisdom. Some people will not be ready for the truth. As Jesus said, “…do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you (Mt 7:6).” Sometimes you need to wait and look for when the other person’s heart might be receptive.

Lastly, keep your eyes, O judging one, on the One who rescued you from the inescapable depth of your own sin. When we count others as more important than ourselves, as Christ did for us, we prepare ourselves in many ways to die – perhaps literally – even for our enemies (see Romans 5:10).

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