Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 7:1
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” – Matthew 7:1
All of us make judgements from time to time, and not all judgements are bad. For instance, Jesus does not prohibit civil judgement of the courts upon those who commit evil. We are called to maintain justice in our lives. In the Old Testament we see the following, “You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” Deuteronomy 16:19-20. He also is not referring to judgement by the Church, through its officers, upon those who are walking in sin. A good example was Paul correcting Peter. “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” Paul corrected Peter regarding his hypocrisy of eating with the Gentiles until certain men from James came, and he would not eat with them anymore because of how he felt they would think about it. Paul judged the actions of Peter, went to him and corrected him.
What we need to be careful of is negatively judging others rashly, not having all the information but assuming that what we think is going on is going on. Without all the facts, how can we make a valid judgement? One way this happens is when we hear someone say something and deem it to be a negative statement when that is not what the speaker was trying to get across. However, we have already decided it was negative and we accept our judgement accordingly. Or we assume knowledge regarding others and decide someone is not being truthful or is being duped when they speak about them.
Jesus goes on in the next verse to state, “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 proverb among the Jews. It basically referred to how people will judge us, that being by how we judge. We should not judge rashly, for this could cause others to judge us rashly as well. This goes along with another saying Jesus said which covers not only judging, but many other actions as well. “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12. In this, we will be loving others as we love ourselves. If we do not want something done to us, we are not to do it to others. And vice-versa.
Let us be careful how we judge others. If we have to make assumptions in order to conclude the truth, we are not judging correctly. It is important that we give the benefit of the doubt. This is alluded to by Paul. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Let us always think the better of each other, which Paul says here is what love is all about.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.