Do you struggle with judging others? Today in my journey through the Gospel of Matthew, I read Matthew 7:1-2.
“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. (NIV)
Skipping quickly past the first sentence, I pondered what “it will be measured to you” meant – who is measuring, when does that happen, etc. Wanting insight from an expert, I looked up Matthew Henry's Commentary on BibleGateway.com. (I know this is long, but it's worth reading.)
1. The prohibition; Judge not. We must judge ourselves, and judge our own acts, but we must not judge our brother, not magisterially assume such an authority over others, as we allow not them over us: since our rule is, to be subject to one another. Be not many masters, Jas. 3:1. We must not sit in the judgment-seat, to make our word a law to everybody. We must not judge our brother, that is, we must not speak evil of him, so it is explained, Jas. 4:11. We must not despise him, nor set him at nought, Rom. 14:10. We must not judge rashly, nor pass such a judgment upon our brother as has no ground, but is only the product of our own jealousy and ill nature. We must not make the worst of people, nor infer such invidious things from their words and actions as they will not bear. We must not judge uncharitably, unmercifully, nor with a spirit of revenge, and a desire to do mischief. We must not judge of a man’s state by a single act, nor of what he is in himself by what he is to us, because in our own cause we are apt to be partial. 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; nor must we judge of their eternal state, nor call them hypocrites, reprobates, and castaways; that is stretching beyond our line; what have we to do, thus to judge another man’s servant? Counsel him, and help him, but do not judge him.
The Lord placed me back at square one with this very detailed and convicting text for what I so arrogantly bypassed. He knew that before I could get to the “measuring” part, I needed to fully understand what it meant to judge someone. I knew the basics (doesn’t everyone, they’re so obvious!) (oops, I think I just judged). Don’t judge:
- State (character) based on a single act
- Worth based on what they are to us (show partiality)
- Eternal position
- Heart or intent
But that’s not all, folks. The text goes much deeper to explain that “judging” includes:
- Making everyone do things our way, follow our rules
- Speaking evil about them
- Despising them
- Passing judgment without evidence
- Inferring the worst about a person based on what they say or do
- Seeking revenge
Wow, convicted on all counts. And I'll add one of my most difficult areas: Inferring anything about a person based on how they look.
I struggle, and struggle, and vow to change. And yet I keep on judging. “The things I want to do (stop judging) I keep on doing; what I don’t want to do (judge) I keep on doing” – I can so relate to Paul’s struggle!
Lord, please forgive me! And change me. Set me free from the sin of judgment. Teach me how to counsel, help, and love others like You do.
I know He will, but I can’t see how. This is a deeply rooted sin issue, and I’ve always struggled with it.
In fact, the one I judge most by these awful standards is me. Maybe that’s part of the issue.
Hmmmm, I’ll have to ponder that. Stay tuned for “Part 2: The Measurement”.
TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Have you judged someone recently – did someone come to mind as you read this? Ask the Lord to change your heart, and to give you love for them...and for yourself!