Judging the Sin of Others

As I read through this past week’s passage, Matthew 7:1-6, the DBS question that stood out to me was “What does this passage tell me about creation and God’s sense of order?”. Sometimes this question can seem confusing, but what it’s really asking us to look at is how God created things to be. What does this passage tell me about how people are to interact with Him, with one another, or with their surroundings? Is there any particular sequential order of things that God desires or is calling for?

If you were just to look at verse 1 from our passage, it’d be easy to say, “Well… Jesus is telling me to simply not judge–“Judge not”. But when I look at the entire passage all together, verses 2-5 lead me to see that it’s not just a command telling us not to judge (period), so much as it is a warning to be prudent or wise if I’m tempted or called to do so. And in His warning, Jesus shows us what our primary concern should be: checking our own hearts/lives and our sin, or shortcomings, first.

To pass judgement or to judge is simply solidifying an opinion on what we think is right or wrong. We make judgement calls throughout our lives on various things, like where we work, what we should eat, what we should do. Matthew 7:1-6 calls us to focus on how we judge others. Let’s take a look at how this passage tells us how God desires us to interact with Him, and with one another.

(I left out verse 6 in this devotional as I think our guest speaker, Jordan Parr, did a wonderful job in helping us to understand it fuller in his message from this past Sunday, “Pigs & Pearls”. You can find the reflection questions he left us with in the Sunday post as well.)

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”
In verses 1 & 2, I notice that Jesus calls us to remember that the standard, way and magnitude we judge others will be how we will also find ourselves being judged by, too. His warning calls us to consider things fairly. Not only that, but I remember listening to a women’s podcast called ‘Thou Shall Not Judge‘ that reminded me to consider if I’m judging others (& myself) based on what culture & society says is good/just, or by what God’s Word says is good & righteous. I’ve found that cultural rights & wrongs will constantly change & evolve, whereas the Word of God endures forever (Isaiah 40:8). Now with the Gospel in mind, and other passages in the Bible like the unforgiving servant or even looking further into Matthew 7 at verse 12, I think it’s safe to see that if we have received mercy and grace by God, who is the Ultimate Judge, then we should also consider giving that same mercy & grace as we judge, or consider others’ faults. This passage calls me to be cautious & proceed with wisdom and charity when I do judge (which I’ll get to more later).
When I judge someone else for their actions or their sin, am I upholding them to the Word of God and judging them with a perspective of grace?

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?”
When I consider verses 3 & 4, I then see how God calls us to first reflect on our own lives and our own sin before looking at another’s. What I’ve learned over time is that sin that really seems to bother me or stand out to me can often times be sin that I’m struggling with or have struggled with in the past. I want to note that often when we consider sin, we ought to look not just at the sinful actions, but deeper into the root of the sin. Perhaps the sinful actions of a brother or sister doesn’t look exactly the same as my own. But at the heart of it, perhaps their pride (for example), stands out to me because I am struggling with pride in a different way. In this passage, Jesus is telling me that the way God desires us to live is to first judge ourselves and to consider our own sin & bring it up to Him before we should point out a brother or sister’s sin to them. It reminds me to search my heart & ask God to help purify my own heart as well.
Am I personally struggling with this same sin in my own life?

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Verse 5 is the verse that tells me that purposeful and right judgement is permissible. If Jesus’ command was to not judge (period), then why would He go on to tell us to take out the log from our own eye (repent of our sin) first, so we can actually help remove the speck from our brother’s eye? This passage reveals to me that the point of confronting a brother or sister in Christ caught in sin is not to point it out or shame (and definitely not to assert our own righteousness), but to lovingly exhort and encourage them to follow Christ closely (check 2 Corinthians 13:11). But again, throughout this passage we see that the order in which God calls us to do this is to first humbly judge and look at our own hearts before doing so to another. Verse 5 helps us to remember that the purpose of addressing a sin, which is to help a brother or sister turn from their sin. It shouldn’t come from a self-righteous or self-glorifying heart, but from a humble one.
Is my desire in addressing this sin to truly help them become aware of or overcome it?

So, as a whole, “what does this passage tell me about creation and God’s sense of order?” Well, simply put, this passage tells me that if I’m to judge anyone, it should first be myself. And if I feel called to judge another person and to confront them with sin, it should be done with grace and come after I first reflect on if that sin exists in my own life and how I’m working through it if it does.

Now, there’s a lot of other extra things you can consider before voicing judgement on another person (or lovingly confronting them with their sin). This includes things like: praying and seeing if God actually wants you to be upfront & talk to them about it; considering if you’re close enough to that person or in an appropriate relationship with them to talk with them about it; or being sure that you have an unbiased and full enough picture to see if it’s truly a sin they’re struggling with and are unaware of. But ultimately, I think Jesus is clear in this passage in reminding us that if we feel any need to confront another person in judgement over their own sin, we are to humbly check our own hearts with Him first.

REFLECTION

Take a moment to reflect. Is there anyone you have passed judgement on recently, or even in the past? Reflect on it even if you never spoke out about it, but kept that judgement over that person within your heart/mind. Take time to pray and reflect on how God’s Word in Matthew 7 may be calling you to act or respond…

A recap of the questions from above:

  • When I judge someone else for their actions or their sin, am I upholding them to the Word of God and judging them with a perspective of grace?
  • Am I struggling with this same sin in my own life?
  • Is my desire in addressing this sin to truly help them become aware of or overcome it?

1 thought on “Judging the Sin of Others

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 − four =