Dearly beloved in Christ,
Greetings in the blessed name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who said “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matt.7:1).
“Do not judge” is a clear command from Lord Jesus to His followers. The Greek word for “judge” used here means “to condemn”. Jesus very plainly says that when we condemn others, we will be condemning ourselves. He also gives a very stern warning that we will receive the same kind of judgement that we make on others (Matt. 7:2).
“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” (Matt. 7:3). Jesus wants that we need to first look into our weaknesses and sins and make genuine efforts to overcome them before we judge others. How can we condemn others when we ourselves have bigger problems? We should not condemn someone when our own sin needs attention. When the woman, who was caught in adultery, was brought before Jesus to be stoned to death, He saw the hypocrisy of her accusers and opened their eyes to see their own sins. God does not want us to be hypocrites and is asking us to ‘remove our hypocrisy’ so that we can help our brothers in distress.
Apostle Paul also gives a warning against judging others. “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgement against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgement on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgement?” (Rom. 2:1-3)
We very often judge others based on the external appearance. “The Lord does not look at the things man look at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). Everything is bare and naked before God and His judgement is based on truth. Jesus says “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement” (Jn. 7:24). It means Jesus gives us permission to judge, (and not to condemn), but He wants us to do it eHe warighteously. When we judge a brother, we must remember that we know very little about his situation. If we really knew his problem, we would be sympathetic to him and with his situation.
Apostle James says “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgement on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbour?” (Jas. 4:11-12). God alone is the just Judge and when we try to get even with our adversary, we are trying to sit on God’s throne. God, who made the law, alone has the right to judge.
Paul asks: “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand” (Rom. 14:4). As you are a servant of God, so is your brother. If he falls or stands, God is able to take care of him. Therefore, let us not judge him. But, as members of God’s household, we have a responsibility to help him. If he has fallen into sin, we must gently restore him, not with the attitude of condemnation, but with an attitude of correction. We must always remember that we too are standing on slippery ground. “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who is spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).
There is another stern warning from James to those who reject God’s command. “Don’t grumble about each other, my brothers, or you will be judged. The judge is standing at the door!” (Jas.5:9). Be careful that the Lawgiver, who is the just Judge, is standing at the door.
Brethren, let us not judge but rather learn to obey God. Let us encourage and build each other in love and compassion. “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself. If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Gal. 5:14-15)
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! Amen.
M. A. Jacob
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