Years ago, I found an article written by a man who used to receive letters from a man who was in prison for life and would never get out. ...
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Sermon on the Mount, Day 32 of 40: Judging Others
Matthew 7: 1-5 Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor,‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ has asked us to be humble and merciful, to recognize our own sins, to hunger for righteousness, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, go the extra mile, give the coat off your back, give to the one who asks, be the light not the darkness... As you can see, Matthew 7: 1-5 is in keeping with Christ's teachings of a new kind of love, a new kind of righteousness, and a new kind of justice. What did Jesus mean when he said "Judge not"? Jesus previously asked his disciples not to act or speak the way the Pharisees did; to surpass them in righteousness (Matthew 5:20). The Pharisees had a prideful way of judging people. They approached people not to build them up but to tear them down. They judged others as if they themselves were beyond judgment. There was no mercy, no love, no humility in their judgment. We are not to judge the way the Pharisees did. We are first to see the log in our own eye, before we see the speck in our neighbors. In order to do this, we must first see ourselves as sinners; we must see ourselves in the same light as the people that we are judging. When we do, we will be humbled. We will remember God's mercy and love and forgiveness toward us. It is only then that we should approach another person. Whenever we desire to correct another person, we should examine our motives. Is our desire to tear down that person or is it to build them up? If we approach them in pride or in anger, then we should back away. If we approach the person in a genuine spirit of humble love and mercy to build them up in Christ; if we can approach them in the same way we would want to be approached, then and only then should we should speak with them. Tomorrow we study pearls and swine.