Judging

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure; it will be measured to you.”

Today, I was lucky enough to be present for Jon Quitt’s sermon on Judging at The Vineyard in Tuscaloosa. For scripture reference, he spoke from Matthew 7: 1-5.

We are quick to judge others — without looking inward at ourselves first. I know that I often judge others without truly realizing what I’ve done. Today’s sermon was a humbling reality check. No matter how many good deeds we do … no matter how good of a person we perceive ourselves to be… We fall short. How humbled I was this morning.

Look within ourselves first and examine our own conduct and motives. Jon explained that others often irritate us because we see something in them that we dislike in ourselves. My study bible expands on this:

Our untamed bad habits and behavior patterns are the very ones that we most want to change in others. Do you find it easy to magnify others’ faults while ignoring your own? If you are ready to criticize someone, check to see if you deserve the same criticism. Judge yourself first, and then lovingly forgive and help your neighbor.

Again. This is something that resonated with me. Even after we judge ourselves, we must then forgive and help the person that we want to judge. I even have to show compassion to the slightly annoying guy upstairs and his little kid who stampedes around the house at all hours. 

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” — Matthew 7:3-5

Jon physically illustrated this by taking a log out and sticking it up to his eye. Funny? Yes, but it also got the point across that Jesus was trying to make. How foolish do we look while pointing out a petty flaw of someone else while we have a big log in our own eye? Take care of ourselves before we try to fix someone else’s problems. God is aware of your neighbor and YOUR sins. Before we criticize, remove the log from our own eye first.

Jesus’ statement “Do not judge” is against judgmental attitudes that are meant to tear others down, but not against critical thinking. It is a delicate balance, but one that really made me reexamine my thoughts. I will work to judge myself the next time I start to judge someone else. I pray for the strength from God to criticize in a loving, discerning way and not be negative.

Jon also mentioned that Matthew 7: 1-5 was leading up to verse 12:

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

The Golden Rule. Even as a manager, I try to exercise this as much as I can. As a manager, you make plenty of “enemies” by trying to uphold the standards of the workplace, so I should try to respond in more of a loving manner when I lose my temper occasionally. But there is also a delicate balance of standing your ground and not allowing yourself to be trampled on. Which is why I like verse six from Matthew 7:

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

Jon closed out by saying: “Heaven is for people that love God.” Not by how many times we attend church. Not by how many acts of service we do on earth. God is the ultimate judge and He will judge everyone (1 Corinthians 4: 3-5). The only path to Him is through Jesus Christ.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” — Matthew 7:21

Other key points from Jon’s sermon:

  • We judge and we have been judged.
  • Operate out of grace.
  • God wants to set you free from your own shame — to set you free to love other people.
  • What are some areas of sin/rebellion that God wants to deal with in my life?
  • What areas have I already been a recipient of grace for?
  • From my study bible: Think of a good and merciful action you can take today.

Other suggested passages by Jon:

  • Jesus warns against looking down on others: Matthew 18: 10-14
  • Bear one another’s burdens: Galatians 6

Here’s the link to the sermon (also available on iTunes): http://tuscaloosavineyard.com/sermons/yolo-judging/
Here’s the link to the website: Tuscaloosa Vineyard Community Church

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