Bible Society of South Africa

Judging others - 13 March 2024

By Imogen Campbell

Bible text(s)

Judging Others

1“Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you,

Matthew 7:1GNBOpen in Bible reader

Recently, I have felt like God was dealing with me on that very issue. That famous passage in Matthew 7:1-6 had been brought to my attention anew. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

To be honest, I struggled to understand the concept of not judging. After all, in order to avoid sin, one has to know what it is, not so? Similarly, we are told that we are not to be deceived and that bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33). Yet, how does one reconcile it?

I have to confess: there have been times when I have gone “full religious” on something. Picture a warrior riding on his/her high horse with a smirk plastered across said person’s face. They know they are right, and the other person is just wrong – no empathy, sympathy or anything. Somehow, though, I cannot picture Jesus like that.

Therein lies the problem. It is possible that we judge not out of love or to have discernment, we judge others while we, too, have the very same proclivity. Verse three is insightful. There is a plank in our own eyes and, in a sense, it blinds us.

It is why this is such an impactful analogy. It is clear: if one is blinded by one’s own faults, one should not go around finding fault with others in that exact respect. The fact that a similar yardstick of measurement is applied should be cause for sober circumspection.

Surely, repentance would be more fitting. Sadly, the problem is that often we make these religious misjudgements precisely because we are blinded to our own faults.

Therefore, it is not the act of having discernment and making a judgement thereon that is forbidden, no, it is the utter hypocrisy that is being condemned. Matthew 7:6 shows the necessity of making a value judgement and assessing worthiness. Judging is required; being a judgemental hypocrite is not. Point taken.

Through it all, let us keep our eyes on the Omnipotent One who will judge justly at the end.

Prayer: Father, we are so grateful to you for revealing our weaknesses to us and showing us compassion which we, in turn, express to

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