While preparing for tomorrow’s Sunday School class, I chased a rabbit. Here’s the rabbit:
Society is permeated with a ‘don’t judge me’ attitude; we hear those words again and again. I recently heard Bill O’Reilly using the ‘judge not’ Scripture. Bill readily quoted verse 1 of Matthew 7 as many do but what does verse 5 in context say?
Matthew 7 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (source)
Does it not make sense to read the text before chapter 7 to understand Chapter 7? This section of scripture is the Sermon on the Mount; many people had gathered around Jesus and He was teaching them. It starts in chapter 5. We are well familiar with it, aren’t we? Chapter 6 is specifically addressing the heart of man, why we do what we do. Jesus taught them to do their good deeds for the right reason, not to make themselves look good; obviously some were doing that. From that He went directly to talking about prayer and how to pray; giving them the disciples’ prayer, often called the Lord’s Prayer; and from there He began talking about fasting and their motives for fasting; He talked about materialism and those things that we value so highly; He talked about how we view matters; about who or what we serve and that we cannot serve Him and money; and then He finished up the chapter instructing them about worry; something He told us to NOT do and immediately from worry He went to Judge Not.
The thing that comes to my mind is MOTIVES. So could Jesus be saying to us that we cannot judge the motives of people; we cannot judge their hearts, for sure we can hardly judge our own hearts, right? So – GOD is the judge of hearts; we are the inspectors of deeds, not motives. And we only get to inspect their deeds IF our own motives are pure in doing so and if we have allowed Him to clean our own hearts and lives. THEN we are in a position to lead others to getting their hearts and lives clean of those wrong deeds He has already JUDGED.
In summary, Matthew 7:1 is NOT teaching we are to be closed mouthed, live and let live, saying nothing about sin flaunted in our society. Verse 5 is clear, there are splinters in the eyes of brothers/sisters that they need help with, but until we have CLEAN eyes ourselves, we are in no position to help them.
Judge not does NOT teach that sins in society must not be named; it does mean that I do not know what motivated you to commit those sins; therefore I will not condemn you for getting to the place you are in them, but neither will I refuse to offer you a way to escape the Judgment that GOD has already decreed for those sins.
And based upon the WORD of GOD and the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, that’s the way it is and I’m on the record with it. 🙂
Blessings my Friends on this 4th day of 2014.