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.”
Are we to judge? Are we not called upon daily to make judgments? Do we not have to decide what is sinful and what is right? How else would we know which path to take, or which people to spend time with? We have to make judgments in order to make right decisions.
We can know a person by the fruit that they produce (Mathew 7:16) for even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right. (Proverbs 20:11)
What then did Jesus mean when He said, “Do not judge?” Are we to never make judgments or form opinions? Of course not.
We must look further than the first few words of Mathew 7. For it does not say that we should never judge, but that we must remember that when making judgments of others we are setting the standard by which we too will be judged, so judge fairly.
We must all be accountable for our actions. A society would quickly crumble into anarchy without judgment and the law. Judgment must be made before forgiveness can be enacted. So without judgment there would be no mercy, no grace, no forgiveness.
Forming opinions should not be done harshly or in haste, without allowance to circumstances. Our judgments should not be based on our fears, hurts, past experiences, but on the facts alone.
“‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” (Leviticus 19:15)
“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” (John 7:24)
It is said you cannot judge someone else unless you have walked a mile in his shoes, but even then, you do not have his feet, so your vantage point is askew. Truly no one can judge the actions of another, for we cannot fully understand his motives.
“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:1-4)
It seems to me, we are all walking a difficult path in this world. We are all making a journey on our own road, the one appointed to us by God. We walk in the light that is given to us, and that Light is only for our next step. How then can we clearly see our brother’s path whose light shines only before his feet? There is no way we can rightly view his journey from our vantage point even as they cannot see ours.
So when you make judgments or form opinions on how someone else is doing, be careful, for God gives us this warning: that with whatever measure, with whatever standard we hold up to someone else, that too is the standard that God will hold us to. So if you desire your Heavenly Father to judge you with mercy and love, then we ought to also judge our brethren with the same measure.
“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,
'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.'
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” (Romans 14:10-13)
Susan Van Volkenburgh