Monday, February 14, 2005

Disciples (14)

Disciples Know Not to Judge
Matthew 7:1-6
“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 someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say, ‘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 the other person’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 then turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:1-6 TNIV)
Grasp what Jesus is not saying here
- Jesus isn’t saying that it’s wrong to point out what we think is wrong.

- He isn’t saying it’s wrong to ever help people be accountable for their lives and their holiness.

- Nor is Jesus saying that there’s always so much amiss in our own lives that we should be tolerant of everything in the world.
What Jesus is saying is that
- Disciples are the light of the world, so they dare not obscure that light with the darkness of a condemning, judgmental, censorious spirit.

- There’s no room in the life of a true follower of God for a “write people off my list” sort of air or way about them.

- The people who seek the Lord’s way in their life practice discernment and use good discrimination skills, but also refuse to judge people harshly or live as a destructive fault-finder.
John R. W. Stott once put it like this:
“. . . the command to judge not is not a requirement to be blind, but rather a plea to be generous. Jesus does not tell us to cease to be men (by suspending our critical powers . . .), but to renounce the presumptuous ambition to be God (by setting ourselves up as judges).” *

Father in heaven, may you give me wisdom and discernment as I deal with others every day. But may I also be as generous with others today as I pray you will be merciful to me someday. In the name of Jesus, I pray you will give me courage to stand up for what I know you call holy and true. At the same time, may I never present myself as the Ultimate Decider of who is right and good, for you alone are Righteous and Good. Instead, may I simply point people to you and continue to walk toward you in my ways toward others. Amen.

* The Message of the Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5-7 by John R.W. Stott (InterVarsity Press, 1978, pb, p.177).