Stop Criticizing Others! You Could Be Wrong!
"What was Jesus calling for when He ordered His followers to 'judge not' (Matthew 7:1)? Did He want them to close their eyes to error and evil? Did He intend that managers forego critical performance reviews of their employees, or that news editors and art critics pull their punches? And what about juries? Should they stop judging? Or should people go even further and decline any assessment of others, since none of us is perfect? No, those would all be misapplications of Jesus' teaching. He was not commanding blind acceptance but grace toward others..." - Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary
"The judgment Jesus is particularly condemning is our effort to make all conform to our standards of perfection."
- Bible Commentary
Every judgment a person makes becomes a basis for his or her own judgment."
- Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary
"He who is severe on others will naturally excite their severity against himself. The censures and calumnies which we have suffered are probably the just reward of those which we have dealt out to others."
- Adam Clarke
"What have we to do, thus to judge another man's servant? Counsel him, and help him, but do not judge him..."
"What would become of us, if God should be as exact and severe in judging us, as we are in judging our brethren; if He should weigh us in the same balances? We may justly expect it, if we be extreme to mark what our brethren do amiss.
In this, as in other things, the violent dealings of men return upon their own heads."
- both of the above quotes are from Matthew Henry
In Matthew 7:1, the Lord Jesus gave us a command - "Judge not, that ye be not judged." First and foremost, we have to remember Who it is that is talking and, secondly, we must not forget that it is a command that He is giving.
How many of us have had sinners throw this Scripture in our faces when we tried to witness to them? Or what about the backslider who is agitated because we are getting "too close to home" as we relate what the Scriptures have to say about his particular pet sin?
Was Jesus admonishing the believer not to ever call sin sin? Was He saying that anything is acceptable in today's society - hence, we should learn to keep our mouths shut and tolerate it? Was He advocating that there should never be any church discipline where offenders - Preachers included - should be "called on the carpet" for their sin and then made to step down from their position because of their sin?
Is there a Scripture in the Bible that has been more misunderstood than this one?
Is there a Scripture that is quoted more than any other - yes, even by sinners and backsliders?
Why is it that most people in our society are Bible-illiterate, yet when approached about their sin, they can quote this particular verse?
What does it say about the state of our society?
We have become a - "Judge not..." society? Or have we?
On the contrary, the opposite is true. We have become a very judging society and don't even know it. There is more judging going on than meets the eye. Most people - sinners and saints alike - are guilty of breaking this command - even on a daily basis.
On the one hand, we have become a society whose main catch word is - "tolerance." God forbid that anyone should point out another's blatant sin or shortcomings. Immediately, they will hear - "Judge not..." Yet, on the other hand, let someone take the Gospel to the streets or become bold in preaching the Word of the Lord, and the world along with the backslidden church will be the first to point a finger at them in criticism and label them as a "fanatic."
What were the Lord Jesus' intentions when He spoke these words in the Holy Scriptures? What exactly was He censoring as wrong behavior among the believers?
In issuing this command, He was censoring all rash, harsh, and uncharitable judgment. He was coming down strongly on all sharp, unjust, and unfair criticism. He was rebuking the habit of forming a judgment hastily and without any allowance for any moderating circumstance. He was condemning the action of thinking evil where no evil seems and speaking of it. He was rebuking a censorious disposition whereby one - through a jealous and envious heart - wishes that no good quality be found but in himself - for he elevates himself above others while criticizing them. His command condemned all evil surmises and precipitous judgments. It condemned the faultfinding spirit...the disposition to condemn others without examining the charges...as well as the disposition to look unfavorably on their character and actions. It included the action of making the worst of people...judging them uncharitably and unmercifully because of a spirit of revenge...or judging their motives and intentions which only God can do.
To those who want to judge people's motives - Jesus is saying - "Judge not..."
To those who want to judge by outward appearances - Jesus is saying - "Judge not..."
To those who have censorious scruples about matters that are not in themselves right or wrong - Jesus is saying - "Judge not..."
To those who want to judge the service of another - Jesus is saying - "Judge not..."
To those who judge a fellow believer by speaking evil about him - Jesus is saying - "Judge not..."
To those who evaluate others without knowing all the facts - Jesus is saying - "Judge not..."
To those who have a grudge against another because of a past hurt or disagreement and desire to get even by speaking evil of them - Jesus is saying - "Judge not..."
To those who want to look morally superior to others so they condemn what they are doing for the Lord - Jesus is saying - "Judge not..."
To those who want to criticize others and ignore their own faults - Jesus is saying - "Judge not..."
To those who want to judge people according to their own traditions and not according to the Bible - Jesus is saying - "Judge not..."
There is definitely a legitimate, critical faculty or discernment that we are all required to exercise. There is a legitimate judgment of the condition, conduct, or teaching of others. If this was not so, then Jesus would not have gone on in His teaching - instructing us to - "Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine..." (Matthew 7:6). How will we know who are "dogs" and "swine" unless we judge? He also went on to say - "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits...Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:15-16, 20). How will we ever know who is a false prophet unless we judge him by his own words and actions?
No, the Lord was not saying that we should not judge doctrinal teachings of the various teachers and preachers by the standard of the Word of God. Nor was He saying that we should not discern if others truly are believers or which men are qualified to be called ministers of the Gospel. He definitely was not saying that we should bury our heads in the sand when we see serious sin in those preaching the Gospel or calling themselves by the name of - "Christian."
His whole point in giving this command was to condemn all harsh, uncharitable, unfair, and precipitous criticism of others.
Did it ever occur to you that you might be crossing the line by setting yourself up as God - while you are judging the motives and intentions of people's hearts - which only He can do, by the way? Or did it ever occur to you that you might be wrong in your assessment of things?
Read the following three examples of bad judgment. Prayerfully, they will "hit home" and cause you to think twice before criticizing others once.
There was a fatal accident where four young girls were killed. Evidence of drink in the empty whiskey bottle was found in the midst of the dead bodies. The father of one of the girls made this statement - "If I could get my hands on the person who sold this liquor to these young girls, I would kill him." He went home and opened up a cupboard in his room where he kept his drink. There he found a note in the handwriting of his daughter saying, "Dad, we're taking along with us some of your good drink. I know you won't mind." It was signed - "Your daughter."
A six year old came home from school one day. He brought a note from his teacher suggesting that their boy be taken out of school because he was too stupid to learn. This boy's name happened to be Thomas Alva Edison - the man who in his later years invented electricity.
A young boy was sent shopping to the grocery store. When he returned, his Mom realized that he had not brought back what she asked. She phoned the grocer and explained that she sent her son James for five pounds of apples. However, after weighing them, she only came up with four and a quarter pounds. She accused the grocer of cheating her. He responded by saying - "Madam, my scales are regularly inspected and corrected. Have you weighed your little boy?"
Stop criticizing others! You could be wrong!
"Judge not..." Judge not..." Judge not..."
May God bless His Word.
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