Suggested Reading: Matthew 7:1-5
Don’t judge others, unless of course, you don’t mind receiving the same treatment. With the measure we judge others, we too will be judged. Paul takes up this issue when he writes to the church in Rome. He addresses the self-righteous church type who were inclined to look down their noses at sinners. He points out the many things deserving of death and then says:
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself.” Romans 2:1.
It looks like judging others is a rather stupid thing to do. It is like kicking yourself and expecting someone else to feel the pain. The truth is, when you judge another, you are hurting yourself much more than you are hurting them.
“At whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself.”
He is saying in effect that the one who judges will receive the same measure of judgment that he so generously gave out to others. What goes around, comes around.
“We must not sit in the judgment-seat, to make our word a law to every body.” Matthew Henry
Jesus points out other reasons that renders judging so ridiculous. We all have our share of weaknesses that we are striving to overcome. When I have a certain weakness, but I attempt to point out the weakness of another and judge him for it, I am like one who walks around with blind eyes, trying to act as a guide to others who perhaps have a much smaller weakness than myself. I am, therefore, a hypocrite. Pretending to see, I am blind.
Hypocrites are very forgetful of their own failures and very interested in the failures of others. A hypocrite is no enemy to sin. If he was an enemy to sin, he would be an enemy first to his own sin. They do the same things, says Paul. Perhaps they don’t do exactly the same deeds, but they are also guilty of deeds which declare them deserving of death. Paul shares the list of things that are deserving of death in Romans 1. He starts with homosexuality. Many people get stuck there and focus on homosexuality as the unpardonable sin. They don’t continue reading towards the end of the chapter. If they did, they would realize that they are just as deserving of death and therefore in no way superior.
Paul’s list of deeds deserving of death:
- Strife (causing trouble between people)
- Malice (doing subversive things to get back at others)
- Pride (looking down on others)
- Inventing ways of doing evil
- Disobedience to parents
- Faithlessness (not keeping promises)
- Ruthlessness (showing no mercy)
Is there anyone who can claim they are innocent of all of the above? We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. The wages of sin is death. Therefore, each and every sinner deserves death. Yet, some are quick to condemn others while deluding themselves into thinking they are somehow superior and they are in a better position and can therefore point out the weaknesses of others. The fact is, that the hypocritical type who believe they are better than others, are the most visually impaired of the lot (see John 9).
Those who admit their weaknesses have but a speck of sawdust in their eye. They are in a better position to point out the weaknesses of others, if only to offer advice and encouragement. The hypocrites, however, have a plank in their eye. Their vision is severely impaired. They are blinded by their overinflated sense of self-importance. David wrote that they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their own sin. They are too busy detecting and sneering at the sin of others.
”We must not judge the hearts of others, nor their intentions, for it is God’s prerogative to try the heart, and we must not step into his throne.” Matthew Henry
So, says Jesus, first work on your own weaknesses before you attempt to condemn others for their weaknesses. Does this mean that we are never to offer advice to anyone? No. There is a wide distinction between humbly correcting someone while remaining aware of your own weak condition and condemning someone because they have a weakness, while acting as if you don’t have any. We are encouraged to offer advice and correction to each other. But we are warned to do so with humility, knowing that we are ourselves inclined to failures. When we offer correction we don’t do it from a platform of perfection. We do it from a platform of love for one another.
“Because we must not judge others, which is a great sin, it does not therefore follow that we must not reprove others, which is a great duty, and may be a means of saving a soul from death.” (Matthew Henry)
- “Judge Not” ( Matthew 7: 1, KJV ) by Carley Evans (lambskinny.wordpress.com)