“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 your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘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 your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:1-5

Let’s spend a little time thinking about the idea of judging as it relates to our Christian walk. Too often the above quote from Jesus gets wielded as a kind of shield against calling out sin. “Ah,” the person might say, “Jesus says you can’t judge me!” As if the word of God is a schoolyard game in which ollie ollie oxen free keeps you from losing.

“Judge not” is not a spell which may be incanted to remove unwanted Christian meddling from ones life, but it is a principle by which we are commanded to live. We could change the word slightly to give some more nuance and clarity. Perhaps saying condemn not lest ye be condemned is more salient for our daily use. We are to treat sin with the grace and mercy we would expect to be extended to our own transgression. A sinner is not a bad person to be shunned, decried and derided. A sinner is a soul in need.

That being said, Jesus follows up his admonition to control the impulse to judge another person with the instruction to know who it is you are talking to in the first place! Some things which are fit for instruction of fellow believers are not suitable for people who have no respect for you. That paraphrase is a bit sanitized, actually.

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 turn and tear you to pieces.

Matthew 7:6

So don’t condemn others to your own detriment and the weakening of their faith and don’t bring sacred principles before your enemies who will only use them against you. In all things, keep holy and be godly in character but watch your words!

Ethan Kirl