Matthew 7:1

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.

John 3:17

Verse of the Day Devotion: John 3:17

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” – John 3:17

This verse comes just after probably the most famous and well-known verse in all the Bible.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.  God loved the whole world.  He loved us and gave us a way that we can be reunited with the Himself.  And we know what that was, it was through the death, burial and resurrection of His only begotten Son.  And it is because we believe in the Christ, that we are saved.

In Genesis we read the following, “The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:14-15.  In the very beginning God told Adam and Eve that there would come a seed of Eve that would defeat the serpent, which is the enemy that rebelled before God created them.  And this is what happened when Jesus came.  Through His work on the cross, He defeated him and provided a way that man may be rectified with the Father.  This is important, for there was no final condemnation for anyone here during His first coming.

And this is what our focus verse is saying.  God did not send Him here to condemn the world.  He was not sent here to judge or pronounce judgement on anyone.  His whole purpose was to provide a means by which man may be saved.  He was the sacrificial lamb presented as a sin offering for us, since our own sacrifices were insufficient to restore the relationship broken in Genesis 3.  For, according to the Law, the lamb that is sacrificed must be perfect with no blemishes at all.  We are far from perfect.  Therefore, anything we would do, even in dying, would not be recognized.  And this was why He had to come.

We now have the opportunity to be reconciled and have a very loving relationship with Him if we simply believe.  When He comes the second time, it will not be to provide a means of salvation, but it will be to condemn those who did not believe and chose the worlds ways rather than God’s, and to take to our final home those of us who truly believe.  There are many in this world who still have not believed, and many who have not heard.  It is important that we show them the love of God through the sacrifice given.  For now is the time for people to hear and believe.  Sometime, and I believe soon, that time of reconciliation will be over.  We must go out and tell the world.  It is our calling down here.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Luke 6:37

Verse of the Day Devotion: Luke 6:37  

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” – Luke 6:37 

This is an important idea that many find difficult to apply, not because it is hard to understand but because it is not something we think we need to deal with.  In order to see what Jesus is saying here, we need to see what He is actually speaking against.  Matthew puts this same teaching in a clearer way.  “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2.  Notice the wording here, ‘in the way you judge’.  He is not saying we are not to judge, for John records the following words of Christ. “Jesus answered them, “I did one deed, and you all marvel. For this reason Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses will not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 7:21-24.  In essence, Jesus was saying follow the law, but understand that mercy and love subordinates some other parts.

So, how does what John said relate to our focus verse?    If we judge only by what we see, we often are missing the truth behind what is taking place, and this can lead to a false understanding.   For instance, back in the 1960’s and 70’s, a famous Christian rock singer named Larry Norman would often go into the streets and spend time conversing to those who were deemed the dregs of society, namely prostitutes and drug dealers.  Many would see him and determine he was seeking their services, when in actuality He was witnessing to those that many would have nothing to do with.  They were, in essence, condemning him for doing the work of God by introducing Jesus to people no one else would take the time to even acknowledge.  They were making a rash judgement believing he was sinning when in reality he was introducing them to Christ and the truth of the gospel.

Now, there is another idea expressed here that is just as important to understand.  We see this farther down in Luke 6.  “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, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” Luke 6:41-42.  This deals with hypocritical judgement.  How can we judge someone for excessive drinking when we  ourselves get drunk?  And how can we condemn someone who tells dirty jokes when we tell them ourselves?  If we judge someone for sins that we ourselves do, how will they take us seriously?  How can we help them to give up any wrong doing when we continue in the same actions? 

We, as Christians, need to apply wisdom when we look upon the actions of another.  In the first instance above, we do not know the hearts and motives of another.  We need to be careful that we do not judge what appears to be problematic or downright wrong when actually they are doing the right thing as God called them but not necessarily in a way we would do it.  As in the Larry Norman example, he reached out to those no one else would reach out to, giving them the opportunity to accept Christ as Lord and Savior.  And in the second instance, we need to address any sin in our own life before we judge another for the same sin.  If we do not stop the sin ourselves, how can we clearly help another to stop?  And if they know we continue doing the same thing, why would they stop when we address it with them?  Be wise in all judgements, and God will be pleased.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Matthew 7:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 7:1 

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” –  Matthew 7:1  

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.