Summary: Part 11 of a 13 week series Hearing Jesus Again. This message looks at how judgement and condemnation of others takes us outside of God’s Kingdom.
Jesus On Judging Others and God-Pushing
Part 11 in series Hearing Jesus Again
Wildwind Community Church
July 26, 2008
When was the last time you felt blamed or condemned or looked down on by somebody? Your boss. A friend. A co-worker. An employee at a store where you were shopping. Your spouse. Some of you are stuck in jobs or marriages or friendships where this happens to you dozens of times a week. The Apostle Paul had a great phrase for this cycle of blame and condemnation and judging.
Galatians 5:14-15 (NIV)
14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Biting and devouring. Think of bites as those little snips of judgment and blame and condemnation that fall on you. As more and more of those snips come out of you, you begin to feel like you are being devoured – eaten alive. It drains the life out of you. It steals your joy. And it leaves you feeling like you want to do one thing, and that’s protect yourself. You just want to get away from the condemnation. It is at this point that work relationships and marriages and friendships often end. I have never once seen a couple where one of them said, “He criticized me yesterday for the first time and we’re here to make sure it doesn’t become a pattern.” By the time I see a couple, one or both of them are saying, “He/she is devouring me. I feel like I am being destroyed piece by piece and I can’t take it any more.”
Now let’s not go into this as victims! Each of us, in addition to being bitten and devoured, has also done our fair share of biting and devouring others! C’mon, we’ve all done it. We’ve all cast blame and passed judgment. None of us gets off the hook. Guys, we sometimes do it through the little jokes we tell about our wives. We make our little jokes, and laugh, and hope the old ball and chain doesn’t know how serious we are. Ladies, the eye-rolling and lip-pursing that goes on among some of you screams out, “You’re too stupid to live.” Whether we’re verbal or use body language to communicate judgment and condemnation, we’re all masters of it. In fact, just like with the other topics Jesus has handled – lust and anger and faithlessness and verbal manipulation, it’s hard to imagine being able to live in the world without it. Giving up judging and condemnation will not make sense unless we have been faithful and obedient in the other areas Jesus speaks about in his Sermon on the Mount.
From Dallas Willard:
If we are still dominated by anger, contempt, lusting…and so forth – the tender areas into which Jesus now moves will simply be incomprehensible to us. We must start at the point Jesus himself chose – the nature of true well-being or blessedness – and follow his order through the setting aside of anger, contempt, absorbing lust, manipulation, and payback, and on to the forsaking of dependence on reputation and material wealth. Then we will be ready for what comes next. For as the Master of knowledge, he here deals with personal and moral reality as it really is, and it really does have an order. We omit that order at our peril.
[But] could we successfully negotiate personal relations without letting people know that we disapprove of them and find them to be in the wrong?...
At least we need the choice of giving others a good dose of blame and condemnation when it seems appropriate, don’t we? We have great confidence in the power of condemnation to “straighten others out.” And if that fails, should we not at least make it clear that we are on the side of the right?
Let’s look at what Jesus said. Only five verses, but they pack a lot of power.
Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)
1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
4 How can you say to your brother, ’Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Continuing with Dallas Willard: