Judge Not

By Terry Wardle

April 15, 2012

I have been re- reading the sermon on the mount of late. Powerful stuff. In some sections it is clear that Jesus was not pulling any punches as he laid out the standards of the Kingdom. As he said to his listeners, the standards of God's Kingdom go way beyond any righteousness even the strictest of Pharisees were trying to live.

I was captured afresh by the Lord's teaching in Matthew 7 about judgment. Jesus first lays out a rather shocking principle of kingdom economics: the measure of judgment you use with others will be the measure used with you. He then talks about the whole speck in someone's eye and log in your own eye matter. Both statements are there to get us to take seriously how mistaken it is to be quick to judge others.

Stated simply, Jesus is reminding us that we are not in the place to be quick to judge other people. That job is way beyond our pay grade and best left with God. Our responsibility is to practice self examination rather  than "everybody but ourselves" examination. Jesus is pretty much telling us that humility and generosity of spirit are important characteristics of Kingdom people.

Judging other people is not always easy to recognize. I know with me, it can be subtle, but no less wrong. At times judgments are clearly formed statements about someone else. But at other times, it can be more of an internal feeling or attitude that is less than honoring, understanding, or compassionate.

I always leave the sermon of the mount knowing that I need the Lord help . . . and most certainly his mercy.

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