Saturday, September 13, 2008

How to Judge Others

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
"For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"
~ Matthew 7:1-3


It's the verse above the one I chose to theme my blog that gives me even more pause. "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Does Jesus mean that when I judge others, they will judge me the same way? Or that God will judge me the same way? Or both?

He doesn't say.

But I tend to think He's talking about God's judgment of me. If others judged me the way I judge them, that would be almost-miraculously fair of them. They would somehow have an accurate sense of how I judge them, and they would use the same measure in judging me, laying aside their own measure of judgment. Very selfless! Perhaps even commendable!

And not very likely, is it?

So if judge others and condemn them for infractions of what I deign to be the law of Christ, doesn't that mean that God will judge and condemn me for infractions of what He knows to be the law of Christ?

If I am self-righteous in my judgment of others, doesn't He have the right to be truly righteous in His judgment of me?

At the same time, if I show grace and mercy to those with whom I disagree - even if I am right! - will not God show grace and mercy to me in judgment about matters in which I have been wrong, and He has ultimately been right?

If I withhold judgment of others that I deem is God's privilege alone, will He not exercise that judgment? Do I really need to worry that someone is getting away with something I feel is wrong, but about which He has not chosen to speak?

And, as a general rule, when scripture encourages us to judge, doesn't it usually add the words "for yourselves"?

What an incredible burden judgment places on me. How underqualified I am to exercise it. How scarred with splinters are my own eyelids.

Sometimes they are so swollen that I can only look within.

Do I see His grace there?

Do I see the crown of righteousness that He will award me - purchased with blood from the crown of thorns He wore?

Do I see the only One righteous to judge?

Do I look forward to the day of His appearing?

Or do I see a cold, blind, judging self, dressed in filthy rags, proclaiming the apparel of others more pathetic and tattered and grimy?

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. ~ 1 Timothy 4:8


I believe Jesus tells me exactly how to judge others:

"Don't." ~ Luke 6:37

5 comments:

mmlace said...

Excellent post, Keith!

Thank you.

Jeff Slater said...

Great thoughts Keith.

David U said...

Another chapter! :)

DU

Anonymous said...

There's a saying we use around our house: "It's better to be kind than to be right."

Not exactly the same thing you're saying here, but very very close...

Good post. thanks.

don in searcy.

Anonymous said...

Keith-

.. how to judge others, don't.

This would make a great evangelical bumper sticker, but it is not in-line with the whole council of the word of God. We are commanded to make right judgments about teachings, teachers, and professing believers all throughout the NT.

Kept in context it is a beautiful truth you have brought up though, and thank you for addressing it.

-Jim