“”Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, 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 brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5 NASB)
We’ve all read or heard this passage quoted at some point. Many have summarized the main idea of this passage by quoting the first verse: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” Yet we all do it every moment of every day. As human beings we excursus each judgement constantly, often with little to no regard for the truth. We jump to conclusions, judge a book by its cover or a person by their appearance, and categorize a person by their faith or political opinions as being just another radical liberal or stiff-necked conservative. We make snap decisions about individuals and judge them harshly.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in John 8:3-11.
“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
What are the main ideas of this passage?
1. We have all sinned, even the most religious or seemingly “righteous”
2. We have no right to judge anyone
3. Committing adultery is a sin; one of the Ten Commandments. The penalty of committing adultery is death. “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)
3. Jesus knows you are a sinner, but He loves and forgives you anyway.
You may not have committed adultery or murder, but you have sinned against God (Romans 3:23). Yet Christ came to die for us so that we could be free from sin and judgement (John 3:16-17). The question we should ask ourselves after accepting His forgiveness is: If Jesus forgives us and no longer judges anyone who comes to Him, what right do we have to judge anyone?