Weaving together the threads that make up my passion for the written word…as an author, editor, and follower of The Word.
Human nature really doesn’t change much over time. It is so easy to find fault with others, yet not see the exact same faults in ourselves. Ironically, the people we like least are often people that exhibit the same traits we do…maybe because they remind us of what we don’t like in ourselves. Jesus calls us out on this behavior, teaching is not to be judgmental and harsh in pointing out the sins of our Christian brothers and sisters. We all have them, don’t we? And we can be awfully quick to sit on high and dish out punishment for wrongs that seem so obvious. But without Jesus, none of us can overcome even one of them. I am always grateful that God is more gracious with us than we are with each other, and that none of His children will have to endure the punishment we truly deserve.
That being said, I think this passage is also abused, particularly by non-Christians, as a way to justify an “anything goes” lifestyle. I have heard the argument before, “Your own Bible says not to judge, so you shouldn’t judge me.” But if you look at the larger context of the New Testament, Jesus doesn’t tell us to ignore sin, to just sit quietly by and watch people destroy themselves and those around them. We have an obligation to speak up for truth, to rebuke sin, to stay on the straight path and help those who have strayed to find it. Do not judge does not mean that we should remain silent and passive. Do not judge really means do not condemn. Condemnation is not in our grasp, and not our place, but God’s. Ultimately he will condemn those who have been offered life but turn their faces from Him. Our job is to get people to see sin for what it is, and to help them turn away from it, and toward God–in a compassionate, loving way–the way that Jesus continually deals with us.
God, please help me find the balance between silence and judgment so that I can reach out in love to those who are lost on the wide path. Likewise, hold me accountable for my own sins, gently correcting and guiding me to be the child of God you want me to be. Amen.
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