Tuesday, February 3, 2015

To judge or not to judge

Pastor’s notes for 8 Feb 2015

I hope you have been enjoying the WHAM Bible reading challenge. If you haven’t started, do not lose heart. Just join in this week.

Last Sunday’s WHAM verse(s) of the week was
Why do you see 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,’ when there is the log 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. (Matt 7:3-5)

I selected it as it is in the context of a sadly oft quoted verse, taken out of context and with the wrong attitude:  “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. (Matt 7:1-2)

Verse 1-2 seems to teach it is not our place to judge anyone. And verses 3-5, that to do so would make us hypocrites as none of us are sinless. But is this the case?
Verse 6 set in the immediate context of verses 1-5 indicates that Jesus asked us to make a judgment and be discerning on how we interact with those who may treat holy things with disdain.
Jesus is not teaching us not to pass judgment, but to be wise and fair in our judgment of others. And with good measure he adds that we need to be humble in our approach - and realize that we should not judge others more harshly than is warranted or by a standard that is different from that which we judge ourselves.

To some who might be thinking along the lines of “then it is best I do not judge at all …”, that is not an option. What we should be striving to do is to learn and know God’s standard (the context is the “Sermon on the Mount”), strive by God’s grace to live by that standard and make help each other live by those standards.

But let us do our best to do so with grace and mercy, and remember that ultimate judgment comes from God and not us. Jesus’ parable in Matthew 18 might help – it ends this way …

And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? (Matt 18:33)

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