Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 7:1 Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
This is found in the last part of the Sermon on the Mount. This speaks against rash, harsh, and uncharitable judgements. It can be in the form of thinking there is evil where it is not, or in elevating an evil to a level way beyond reality. The Jews of this time period were highly guilty of charging people of wrongdoing that did not actually exist. They would do this to elevate themselves above others, thus giving them advantages over them.
In the next verse, Jesus gives an additional warning to them. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2. This was a Jewish proverb that expressed this truth in a form they would understand and ultimately agree with. The idea is that those who are severe in the way they see others will naturally produce the same severity against themselves. And, as Albert Barnes states in his comments on verse two, “It refers no less to the way in which people will judge of us, than to the rule by which God will judge us.”
He then gives the example of the speck and the log. “Why do you look at 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,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3-4. The word translated ‘speck’ is the word ‘mote’ which means an extremely small object such as a bit of barley or wheat. The beam or log is a large piece of squared timber. The meaning here is that we are more likely to judge a small offense of another than a larger offense of our own. And, as with judging, we are more likely to try and remove the speck in another than the beam in our own. Jesus says this is not the way it should be. “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.” Matthew 7:5. Jesus here directs them, and us, to the correct way of forming an opinion of others, and reproving and correcting them. It is done by first addressing our faults, then we can consistently advance to help others in correcting theirs. By not addressing the beam in our eye, how can we accurately and fairly address the speck in another. The best way to address the imperfections of another is to free ourselves from greater ones.
We need to be careful in the way we view and judge others. This is not speaking of judges or magistrates in a court of law or forming an opinion of the conduct of another. What is referred to here is forming a judgment hastily and harshly, without looking at how we may be incorrect in our judgement. Also, it speak of judging wrongs that we know ourselves we indulge in. Paul put it this way, “Therefore you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” Romans 2:1.
If someone needs our help in addressing a wrongdoing or overcoming a temptation, we should first address it in our own lives if we have the same problem, and then lovingly and patiently work with them to remove it from their life. We should keep it between ourselves and the one we are helping, and not tell others through gossip or candid conversations. We must remember that how we judge the person we are helping is how we will be judged. Our goal should be to help those who need our help, and if we are unable to, then recommend someone who can. Remember, all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. And we have to include ourselves in this statement and act accordingly.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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