Judge not! l Worship

By Mark Smith, Mukilteo Presbyterian | Feb 27, 2019

This world is full of folks who are quick to judge others for some perceived fault or failure. In fact, some people seem to live under a compulsion to subject every person they meet to ruthless, destructive criticism and have become masters of the snide comment about the work others do, or the house they live in, or the way they speak, or the behavior of their children.

And if by chance they cannot find anything to criticize in their public behavior, they raise questions about their motives and intentions. We have all met people like that.

The uncomfortable fact is that we are among them - to a greater or lesser degree.

We criticize our boss and complain about the people with whom we have to work. We are quick to criticize the officials we have elected to run the government. We are adept at discerning the mistakes our neighbors are making in raising their children. We stereotype and label people and tend to write them off as people who are unworthy of our time and attention. We would do well to heed the words of Jesus: “Judge not, let you be judged.” (Matthew 7:1-3)

Pointing out the faults of others is a way of cutting them down to size and in doing so we exalt ourselves so that we feel better about ourselves. Then too, we use the faults of others as a way of separating ourselves from them - as a way of writing them off so that we don't have to deal with them.

Having described the flaws of character and conduct in another, we can declare with a measure of self-righteousness that we do not associate with people like that.

Jesus says, “Don’t judge” for the simple reason that we are not qualified to judge. We don’t know all the facts.

Long ago a famous rabbi said, "Do not judge a man until you yourself have come into his circumstance or situation."

The problem with our human judgments is that they are so fallible. So often our judgments about people are proved wrong in time. When Sir Isaac Newton published his Law of Gravitation, one of his critics said, "This crazy mathematician will not have twenty followers in his lifetime."

Who was crazy?

An editor, who listened to Lincoln's Gettysburg address, wrote in his newspaper that Lincoln's silly words would pass into oblivion and would never more be repeated or thought of.

When we criticize faults in others we issue an open invitation to the world to look for the same faults in us. So don't ever make a single mistake. Don't be incompetent in your daily work if you criticize others for their incompetence. Otherwise judgment is going to come right back at you like a boomerang: "For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."

We certainly have enough faults and flaws of our own to keep us occupied for a lifetime.  Jesus puts it in a rather humorous way: "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?"

We better take out that log in our own eye and concentrate on improving our own lives. Next time we are tempted to criticize another, let us look first at our own hearts. Chances are, what we condemn in another is also in us.

 

 

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