“Judge not, that you be not judged” Matthew 7:1
The next topic Jesus addresses in His Kingdom manifesto Sermon on the Mount is the area of judgement. Judgement is an area many of us Christians are pretty good at, but when we look at what Jesus says it is clear that as Kingdom citizens we shouldn’t be! Jesus tells us to “judge not”. For a long time we have been good at following the first word of that sentence and conveniently overlooking the second word. As Kingdom citizens we are to be set apart and not known as people of judgement but as people of love.
For too long the outside world has been defining Christians based on what we are against rather than what we are for. And the reason for that is we have been too zealous in our desire to judge, and to express our judgement. Not only do we judge but we make sure those who we have judged know we have judged them. We make sure they know they come up short. We make sure they know we have no time for them. We make sure they know we look down on them. Shamefully the words and looks and actions of people claiming to be living for God have left large chunks of humanity – people made in the image of God – with the impression that God would never love them, could never want them, would never accept them, that they weren’t included when Jesus died for the sins of the world, that God’s love doesn’t extend to them.
Somewhere, somehow, some Christians got the idea that the best way to get sinners to turn from their sin and enter the Kingdom was to focus on judging them. It is part of our human nature to look for and focus on the flaws of others. We point them out to deflect attention from our own flaws, to make us look better by comparison. We take comfort from the fact we are not like them , that we do no struggle with the sinful things they struggle with. But Jesus mocks this way of thinking, saying “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but you do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3.
It is interesting that despite all the judgement that has been dished out by Christians there is a massive lack of testimonies that begin ‘I was lost, but then because of all the judgement that I got for my sin from Christians I knew I figured I should give my life to Jesus.’ You see, as Kingdom citizens it is not our place to judge. In the Kingdom there is one Judge. There is only One who gets to judge. And His judgement was placed on Jesus on the cross. For all believers, thanks to the grace of God, the judgement we deserve has been borne in our place by Christ. And if we must judge then that is the standard we should judge with – the standard God used with us, the standard of grace.
That is what Jesus reminds us of when He jokes about the log in our eye. He paints a ludicrous picture of a man with a log in his eye trying to take a speck out of his friend’s eye. We are great at seeing the specks in peoples’ lives, and quick to forget the log of sin we deserve judgement for but instead have received grace for.
As Kingdom citizens our role is to leave the judgement to God. Our role is to remember the grace Jesus shows us, and extend that grace to those who are not yet part of the Kingdom.
Focus Verse: “Therefore do not pronounce judgement before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” 1 Cor 4:5
- Are you known as a person of grace or judgement?
- Does peoples’ judgement help you draw closer to God or push you away?
- How can you become more grace-filled and less judgemental today?