Matthew 7:1-2 – Judge Not

“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.

Matthew 7:1-2

Misinterpretation

On the basis of the above verse, we are trained to walk on eggshells when confronting our fellow brethren of their mistakes. While we want to do the right thing and correct our brethren, we are plagued with guilt because of the above verse. If we do adhere to our inclination and confront the offender, he might quote the above verse and say ‘Are you not aware of Jesus’ teaching Do not judge others?’

Interpretation

Eve chose to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree when she did not have the knowledge to figure out the difference between good and evil. The moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit, the responsibility to discern good and evil had been imposed upon mankind to judge and choose their own path.

When God came searching for them in the garden, Adam felt guilty of what he had done and immediately he blamed Eve for offering the fruit to him. If we continue reading Matthew 7, God is addressing this problem of Adam, when he hid his own mistake and highlighted Eve’s mistake to the entire mankind.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

Matthew 7:3-5

Jesus is not stopping us from judging others but He asks us to examine ourselves before judging others. God wants every human to judge their own selves to edify themselves guiltless as He does not want to condemn anyone to death (1 John 3:20-21). There are similar conditional verses quoted in Bible to stop mankind from harming others and subsequently harming ourselves.

Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword”.

Matthew 26:52

Whoever leads the upright along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.

Proverbs 28:10

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Galatians 6:7-8

“Do not judge or you will be judged” is also falling under the category of the above verses, telling us about the consequences of our deeds and reminding us that God is watching and He is the one who repays. It does not mean that by our deeds we are going to be saved but after obtaining the salvation by His grace and through our faith, we are accountable for our deeds. Hence, God condemns hypocrisy and asks us to lead a transparent life.

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:5

After giving an assurance about the willingness of our Father in heaven to equip us with Holy Spirit, the rest of Matthew 7 teaches us to recognize the difference between the narrow and the wide gate, true and false prophets and true and false disciples.

Finally, the chapter ends with teaching us to identify the foolish and the wise builder based on the choice of their foundations. Jesus wants His followers to be wise enough to perceive whether they are following Him wholeheartedly in principle or following Him to enforce the law on others.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

John 8:7

Application

As sinners, we are familiar with sin and are able to identify it in others lives. In other words, condemning others shows our relation with sin rather than theirs. For this reason, we should not condemn others but should correct one another with love and kindness.

My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James 5:19-20

We should leave the habit of covering our mistakes and judging others. We have to edify our lives first. The corrective measures initiated through self edification will go a long way in transforming the lives of people from darkness to light.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:2

Do not waste time in deciding whether to continue or discontinue the fellowship with other believers who are constantly hindering your progress in accomplishing God’s will. ‘Tolerance’ is the most appreciated social term in the present world but it should not be mistaken with the Biblical values of perseverance.

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2

Judging ourselves is crucial to keep us on the right track. If we judge ourselves impartially, we will walk in the light. Subsequently, our children will also walk in the light and their generations will follow them.

Now if we judged ourselves properly, we would not come under judgement.

1 Corinthians 11:31

Luke 6:37 explains this by relating it to our own forgiveness.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Luke 6:37

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