“Stop judging, that you may not be judged”

Are there not enough judges in the world? In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus tells us not to be one more in the crowd.

Jesus said to his disciples:
Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’
while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

This is probably the hardest of all Jesus’ commands, to not judge others. It is inherent in our make up as humans. It is part of learning how to get along with others, judging how they will treat us; part of viewing relationships and anticipating fight or flight responses. But Jesus teaches us, we must overcome the tendency to judge the character and flaws and motives of others, assuming ourselves to be superior. The consequence is, as we judge them, so we will be judged. First, He says, judge ourselves; look for our own character and flaws and motives, our own impediments and inferiorities, before looking for those of others. It’s another way of saying, let he who is not a sinner cast the first stone.

We all judge others, to one degree or another. It’s a struggle not to. We just need to remember that God is watching us and will judge us based on our response on our final day. No one said it would be an easy command to follow, like giving up our wealth or loving our enemy. But it is the price of being a Christian. The price of love.

We live in a world full of judges. One less in each of us will make this a better world, a world more full of the love Jesus called on us to be.

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