Matthew 7:1-5, 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. Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Some have wrongly assumed that judgment is forbidden in the New Testament. John 7:4 plainly tells us to judge with a righteous judgment. So what are we to be doing in terms of exercising proper Biblical judgment? The Pharisees were accused of exercising wrong judgment and as a result they missed several key aspects of both personal growth, and spiritual service to god and the lost of this world. (Matthew 23:15)
We begin with understanding where judgment falls in our realm of responsibility. We first of all, begin with ourselves. Careful discernment is essential to our growth as God’s people. Our walk is not a blind endeavor. (Philippians 1:9-10) If we are prone to accept every confession of faith or innocence, we will also be prone to a never-ending result of spiritual loss. Real spiritual substance will be lost for the shallow deceit of people unwilling or unable to accept the truth. We begin with judging ourselves for a few key reasons.
We will need to keep in mind that we will be judged. (v. 1) The Pharisees were keen to evaluate and judge the spiritual condition of others, but they repeatedly missed the judgment of themselves. They could be meticulous in the examination and dissection of the lives of those around them. However, they failed to see the closest reflection, that of their own spiritual failings. As a result, they failed to recognize that God would one day be their final judge.
Next, in Luke 6:37-38, we find an interesting and parallel passage to be considered. We are being judged in the present. (v. 2) We are not only going to be judged by God in the end, people around us are judging us now. We tend to get from people that which we give. We truly reap what we sow in the most general sense. The kind of judgment we offer, is the same that will be used toward us.
Finally, judgment should be used to help us see clearly to help others. (v. 3-5) often, it is nothing more than a tool of personal comfort exercised to elevate self, and deconstruct others. We are obligated to lift others up. In Matthew 6:22-23 Jesus defines our methods by using the illustration of the eye. We are never to judge motives. Too many people would like to be social detectives with some supernatural ability to see into someone’s heart. Only Jesus has ever been able to do it in real time. Only God does it at the present. While some boast about their abilities, be sure only God can see into the mind of man. We examine actions and attitudes, never motives. While it is entirely possible to do something “good” with a bad motive, it is equally possible to fail at trying to do good even with the sincerest effort.
The image of the eye teaches us to be particularly careful and delicate with this important effort. It takes my vision of something beyond myself, not to drown in despair when looking at myself. Having seen my own forgiveness I must remember that the one whom I seek to help needs the same forgiveness. Also, a shallow examination of myself, or someone else could lead to missed elements that need severe attention. Impatience and insensitivity are not the friends of those who seek to save the lost. All examinations of my soul before the mirror God’s word should be thorough and complete. Leave no blemish undealt with when the prospect of salvation hangs in the balance. Not for myself or the ones I seek bring into the throne room of God. May God bless us all as we seek to serve Him, especially through the aspect of exercising proper Biblical judgment.
Godspeed on our journey…