Our current Sunday morning message series is focusing on The Sermon on the Mount. To continue to keep the spotlight on this theme, I want to devote today’s blog to talk about one of the most misunderstood topics of JESUS’ most famous sermon: judging others.
Matthew 7:1 declares, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
Here is a humorous story about judging others:
John Killinger tells the story about the manager of a minor league baseball team who was so disgusted with his center fielder’s performance tha the ordered him to the dugout and assumed the position himself.
The first ball took a bad hop and hit the manager in the mouth. The next one was a high fly ball, which he lost in the glare of the sun – until it bounced off his forehead. The third was a hard line drive that he charged with outstretched arms; unfortunately, it flew between his hands and smacked his eye.
Furious, he ran back to the dugout, grabbed the center fielder by the uniform, and shouted, “You idiot! You’ve got center field so messed up that even I can’t do a thing with it!”
If you recall, JESUS called for a righteousness that was greater than the “righteousness” of scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). In that era, they were self-righteous – more righteousness than the common people. Because they were more religious, they could sit in judgment of other “lesser” religious people. In Matthew 7:1-5, JESUS rebukes the hypocritical behavior of judging others.
David Guzik at http://www.enduringword.com offers this commentary on Matthew 7: “So while this does not prohibit examining the lives of others, it certainly prohibits doing it in the spirit it is often done. An example of unjust judgment was the disciples’ condemnation of the woman who came to anoint the feet of Jesus with oil (Matthew 26:6-13). They thought she was wasting something; Jesus said she had done a good work that would always be remembered. They had a rash, harsh, unjust judgment.”
In Matthew 7:2, JESUS declared, “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged.” Contrary to opinion, JESUS does NOT prohibit the judgment of other. Rather, JESUS declares our judgment must be completely fair, and “that we only judge others by a standard we would also like to be judged by.”
As believers, we live out The Sermon on the Mount by reading it, studying it, and asking GOD to empower us by His HOLY SPIRIT to live out these teachings of JESUS.