The Bible is not merely a collection of quotes, or one-liners. The Bible is a perfectly cohesive collection of 66 books by 40 authors, and is divinely uniform. Despite the uniformity of the Bible, verses are all too often misinterpreted or quoted out of context. There are phrases from the Bible you hear all the time, but are they being received as they were intended? Unfortunately in our quote crazy, sound bite loving, tweet happy world, information now comes one line at a time. In the series Twisted, we are going to look at the most frequently misused “Bible verses,” that misquoted or taken apart from the context can be easily misunderstood. This week we look at “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. ”
Bottom Line: Deal with your own stuff, in preparation for dealing with your brother’s stuff.
Something To Talk About:
It may be the most often quoted and yet most misunderstood verse in the whole Bible. People who have never even cracked open a Bible have heard and quoted this verse. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1) Usually that verse is used to immediately stop any discussion about the rightness or wrongness of a person’s behavior. Almost invariably if someone claims that a certain action or behavior is wrong, someone will say, “But Jesus said we are not to judge anyone.” The clear implication is that we can never say if some behavior is sin or not because we are not to judge. But that is not what the Bible is saying.
- Judgmental people – size people up and write them off : When Christians are judgmental, it’s usually because of one or two reasons (or both). When we are judgmental we tend to look at some people and write them off for any number of reasons. The problem is we tend to recognize God’s holiness and His justice, but fail to balance that with His grace and His love. We cannot write somebody off when we consider the grace and love of God. Love forbids me to size you up and write you off. When we judge and write off people, we are overlooking the love and compassion that we receive from God. If we accept that God loves us, then we’re bound to showcase that same kind of love in our interactions with others.
- Avoiding person – sizes people up and walks away: Do we have the right to judge someone and walk away if we find something we don’t like? No. Love forbids me to size you up and walk away. Remember that when you look at the entire passage of scripture in Matthew 7, Jesus says to “take the log out of your eye before you try and take the speck out of their eye.” He is commenting on how to judge, not forbidding it. He is condemning hypocritical judgment, in which the person judging does a poor job making judgments about his own life, but thinks that he is an expert at solving the same problems in other people’s lives. Jesus says that once a person is able to make judgments about his own life, then he is competent to take the speck out of someone else’s eye. Nowhere does this passage suggest writing someone off or that we don’t the responsibility, in love, to confront a brother.
- Avoiding person – been sized up and refuses to listen: There are times when Christians are called upon to “talk to” or try to correct a fellow Christian. Our goal should always be to bring about repentance and restoration to the erring brother or sister in Christ. Ephesians 4:32 gives us the approach: “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” We should speak truth in love. But sometimes the people we are trying to correct, shut down and stop listening. They refuse to listen. The Bible outlines procedures to do in that case and we should follow them. But first, we need to double-check our motives for confronting someone. Make sure there aren’t any planks in your own eye.
- How have you judged people in the past? What were your intentions? What would you do differently?
- If we are required to remove the “log from your own eye before we remove the speck from our brother’s eye” when do you suppose it is necessary to judge our brother or sister? What is the objective of the judgements? Can you give an example? What was the outcome? How was it received?
- Discuss a practical approach to how we should “judge” all people. What is the biblical protocol to these situations? Do we treat Christians and non-Christians in the same way in all circumstances? Why or why not?
- What can you do if you have a log in your eye?
- What has God taught you in this week’s message? What action steps can you take this week as a result of what you have learned?
Take One Thing Home with You:
It may just seem that way, but it appears that John 3:16 has taken a back seat to a new favorite Bible reference: “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.” The verse often is taken to mean nobody has the right to judge anybody for anything at any time. The problem? The verse has a context. Jesus told us what He meant. Jesus spoke these words on the slopes surrounding the Sea of Galilee, He wasn’t saying never to judge. He simply warned about doing it the wrong way—by telling us how to make judgments the right way.
You have to read the next verse to understand what is meant, when He said, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” The verse that follows explains—and often it isn’t quoted. Jesus tells us exactly what He meant: “For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”
Jesus didn’t mean we should never make a judgment about right and wrong. He meant we shouldn’t make a judgement hypocritically. The verses that follow make this patently clear (Matthew 7:3-5). The Bible never gives us the responsibility of pointing out sins of the world as our priority. Our priority for life change should first be to ourselves—then to others. When Jesus said that we should not judge unless we be judged also, He was giving us a caution to make sure that we are willing to be judged by the same standard of judgment. This verse is not a warning against judging an action. It is a warning against self deception and hypocrisy.
So before you ever start to tell someone else what is wrong with their life, make sure you take a good look at your own life first.