I’m a rash thinker. I make emotional decisions and I make them quickly. This is not one of my finer qualities in that, sometimes I just end up being flat out wrong.
We’re under attack though, from one another and from within ourselves over this word, “Judge.” And so today I’m taking it on, and I believe with everything in me, I’m right about this.
“Judge not, that you not be judged!”
You’ve seen it all over social media. They are words to live by. Our trump card against all injustice are these words spoken by Jesus Himself.
We use this line from God’s word and others like it as mantras of empowerment. We scream at one another, “You can’t tell me what to do!” We throw sin back in our accuser’s face. Accuser. That’s how we view one another. And because of that, we are more determined than ever to stand our ground. We back up our friends who shout it too and elect monthly poster children for our cause.
“God alone will judge me!” we say time and again.
Dear Friend, trust me when I say that YOU DO NOT WANT IT TO COME TO THAT!
Yes, God is a God of forgiveness and love and compassion. But, we forget that He’s also a God of wrath and destruction to those who mess with His people, to those who would lead others away from Him. He says things like, “Repent,” and “turn from your ways,” and He means it. God tolerates disobedience in no form. When we are disobedient, people die. Jesus died.
But, but, but…Jesus says!
These words from Matthew have caused much pain and anxiety. No. Our wrong interpretation of these words, that is the issue because we stop right there without reading further. We turn a blind eye regarding what the whole of God’s word really says about our sin and our need to be called on the carpet for digging our heels in and being unrepentant. We forget or flat out ignore that there is a verse three and a four and a five.
Jesus also says,
God doesn’t say, “Don’t judge.” He says, “Before you do so, you better get your own act together.” (not direct quotes)
And in response I say, Judge me. Please! Because if you do it right, if I do it right, and if we each do it in the way God intends for this judgement thing to be done, according to what His word actually says, we’ll both be better for it.
Because, here’s what will happen…
You will make certain before you come to me about my sin that that pesky log has been removed from your own eye and healed with the balm of His forgiveness. If you want to speak with me about infidelity, you’ll get your marriage in order. If you want to speak with me about gossip, you’ll put in check what comes from your fingertips and from your mouth. If you want to speak with me about forgiving others, you’ll get down on your knees and ask that God would help you do the same. Then, by all means, JUDGE ME, PLEASE!
I have no desire to be stuck in sin. None. I have no desire to disappoint my Heavenly Father. I have no desire to lead my children and others astray.
Tell me. Tell me when I’m being an idiot and am drowning in a sin that I can’t or don’t want to see. Tell me when I’m doing something that can actually harm my marriage, my children, my friends. Tell me, so I don’t find out, years down the road, in a flood of broken relationships. Tell me!
Judge me. Come and do so with the authority given to you by God, that I may gain strength and insight and self-control, and that I too may go forth forgiven, and sin no more!
You do this for me and I’ll do it for you and we’ll both be the children God intends for us to be. Well, not entirely, we’ll screw it up, every single day. But we’ll try. We’ll do it lovingly. With minds and hearts willing to change to the glory of God and for the good of our neighbor! All because we judged one another, not out of a desire for the condemnation of our neighbor, but so that God might have bountiful opportunities to be gracious and merciful and compassionate and forgiving and still working within us and a million other things.
“Judge not!” are not words to live by. They are in fact words to die by if you stop reading there.