Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:1-5
What is judgment?
“Don’t judge” seems to be the mantra of our time.
Judgment is often used interchangeably with the idea of condemnation, so it makes sense why many people are afraid to come off as “judgmental.” Judgement can mean condemnation, but it doesn’t have to. Judgment can also mean mercy.
Rather than thinking of judgment as a consequence for action, think of it as making a distinction between right and wrong.
If we call good evil and evil good, then our judgments are corrupt.
Sound judgment also requires that we properly weigh the consequences for wrong actions and properly reward the right action.
If we are overly harsh in our punishments for a wrong or if we fail to show due respect and thankfulness for some good then our judgments are corrupt.
What if we fail to give the proper punishment for a wrong? What if we fail to condemn? Is our judgment corrupt?
Not necessarily. That’s the remarkable thing about our God. He delights in mercy.
As the scriptures say, “mercy rejoices against judgment.”
Here is another idea: we cannot have mercy without judgment.
How can we know that we need mercy if we do not know that we have done wrong? How can we give glory to God for His wonderful love and mercy if we do not know that we have received it?
To that end, we need to learn just judgment. We need to learn right from wrong, and this isn’t as easy as it might seem on the surface.
Refer to Matthew Chapter 5 for some examples. We know that murder is wrong, but do we know that being angry with our brother is also wrong?
Judgment has become a kind of dirty word and that is a shame because judgment is very important. If we lack sound judgment, then we are going to make bad choices that have negative effects on our lives and on the lives of others.
What’s worse is when we corrupt the judgments of God. When we say that God calls something good that He in-fact calls evil or vice-versa, we are committing blasphemy (another misunderstood word today that carries negative connotation).
If we lack sound judgment and thereby corrupt the judgments of God, then we are in a world of trouble because we lose sight of what is good and true and instead do whatever is right in our own eyes or according to the whims of the time.
There are plenty of examples of corrupt judgment in our time.
For now, I think it is good to re-think the ways we might consider judgment.
Judgment is not a bad word or something to be avoided. Judgment is something that we all do, whether we realize it or not, and it is an important part of who we are as humans created in the image of God.
However, there are some dangers that come with judgment.
For example, the judgments we make reveal our understanding of good and evil. Therefore, our judgments judge ourselves when we choose to do good or evil. What’s worse is when we judge another with the intent of condemnation or punishment instead of mercy for doing something that we do ourselves. “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Another danger of judgment is when we overly focus on the wrongs of another without considering our own. “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?“
Another danger of judgment is when we judge something that we do not fully understand, especially when we are harsh in our judgment of the consequence rendered or when our heart towards those we judge is corrupted by anger and hate. “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
There are many dangers in judgment. That is another idea worth considering in greater detail.
For the upcoming articles pertaining to judgment, I want to look at each verse above in detail while keeping these ideas in mind:
- Examples of corrupt judgment
- The dangers of judgment
- How we can learn righteous judgment
- Is there a time to condemn as a Christian?
If you have some ideas about judgment to share or something you think I should cover, please leave a reply in the comments section or send me an email. I’d love to hear from you.
This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series.
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