Thursday, July 03, 2008

Judge more that you be not judged

I know the title of this post seems to contradict what Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount but give me a chance to explain. Many today are attacking the objectivity, clarity, authority and certainty of truth. The result is that two of the very few so-called virtues left today are tolerance and diversity. I believe we Christians today need to be more judgmental. We are called and commanded to discriminate and discern. We Christians need to judge more that we be not judged.

The great theologian Steve Martin joked, years ago, "Never judge a man unless you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Then you’ll be a mile away and you’ll have his shoes." That's funny but what did Jesus mean when He said what He said in what is now one of the most popular and well-known verses by Christians and non-Christians alike? Everyone knows and often quotes this saying of Jesus: "Judge not that you be not judged." (Matthew 7:1) The phrase has been twisted to mean "You live your lifestyle and I’ll live mine but don’t judge mine and definitely don’t try to force your standards of morality on me." The phrase "Judge not" now means "I’m OK, you’re OK. Believe what you want but stay out of my way!"

Jesus said "Judge not that you be not judged" in the first verse of Mathew chapter seven. The irony is when you read the rest of the chapter. This chapter is full of warnings and admonitions by Jesus Himself to judge people. In verse 6 He says, "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you." Jesus is telling us to discern or judge certain people as "dogs" and other people as "pigs." How can you not not give dogs what is holy if you cannot judge certain people to be dogs? How can you not throw your pearls before pigs if you cannot judge certain people to be pigs? Describing people as dogs and pigs seems pretty judgmental to me.

Than in the same chapter, in verses fifteen though seventeen, Jesus says this:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit." Here, Jesus also tells us to beware of people who are "wolves" in sheep's clothing. He also tells us to judge whether someone is a "diseased tree" or not by their fruit. Again, this is sounding quite judgmental.

So, if this chapter is full of instructions on how to "judge with right judgment" (as Jesus also commands in John 7:24) what does He mean in the famous verse one? All we have to do is read the next few verses: "For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 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 7:2-5)

Jesus was simply telling us not to be hypocritical judges. He was NOT telling us that we should not judge. In fact, the reason He gives for taking the log out of your own eye is so "then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." He starts off the chapter by tellings us to remove the log first and then He goes on and on with instructions on how to judge rightly. Remove the log from your eye so you can judge between dogs and children, pigs and people, wolves and sheep, and diseased trees and fruit-bearing trees. A half-truth is a lie. Read the whole chapter. Stop misquoting Jesus and judge more that you be not judged.


David Kruse said...

That's it. I'm judging now! Ha.
Well, that was a good post and I hope to see you tonight (I guess).

So long now.

Grandma of Many said...

Great post Kenny. It is good to get back and catch up. When I read this post, David was in the room and I said I bet the person who posted was him and sure enough it was. I really enjoyed David's post also. Keep sharing and I will try to judge more. Love, Mom