Summary: Almost everybody can quote Jesus' statement: "Judge not". But are they quoting Him properly? Is there something in His words that say more than most people think?
OPEN: Little Tommy was out on the playground during recess and was picking on the other children on the playground. One of his favorite ways of taunting the other kids was make ugly faces at them.
Mrs. Smith was the teacher in charge of supervising recess and she saw Tommy doing this. She took him aside and said “You know, Bobby, when I was a little girl, I was told that if I made ugly faces, my face would freeze and always stay like that."
Bobby looked up into her face and replied, "Well, Mrs. Smith, you can't say you weren't warned."
This morning we’re going to be talking about “judging”
You know, there are people in this world who know very little about Jesus or Christianity but they can quote you one thing Jesus did say on this topic. You know what they’ll quote?
That’s right: “Judge not lest ye be judged.”
They may not know anything else Jesus said but they do know He said that.
And the reason people remember that comment is that they get very uncomfortable about other people judging them. In fact, our culture is so troubled by this idea of being “judged” that we have several proverbs warn us about it.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”George Eliot
“God doesn't propose to judge a man until he’s dead… so why should you?”
“Only God is in a position to look down on anyone.”
And of course, God Himself said: “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (I Samuel 16:7)
Now why would this be such a problem?
Why would this “judging” stuff be so universally disliked?
Why would it be so evil that it is even condemned by God?
Well - because most everybody does it.
Most everybody judges someone else at one time or another in their lives.
Often times it’s the very people that will quote Jesus: “Judge not lest ye be judged”
What makes this worse is that most of the people who quote Jesus on this… misquote Him. Did you realize you can parrot Jesus’ words EXACTLY and still misquote Him?
How’s that possible?
You can misquote Jesus by only quoting PART of what He says.
For example, just a couple of sentences after Jesus says “Judge not…” He says this:
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6
Now… is Jesus talking here about real dogs and pigs?
No, He’s talking about people who act LIKE dogs and pigs.
People who have no respect for sacred things and who will destroy things that are precious to you. And then they’ll turn on you and chew you up and spit you out - just because they can.
So now, here’s the question: How do you know who’s a dog and who’s a pig?
You have to make a “judgment” --- don’t you?
You have to judge a person’s actions and decide whether or not you can trust them.
And that makes perfect sense if you think about it.
Let’s say you’re going on a long trip and you need someone to house sit for you. You have two friends that come to mind to do this for you. One takes great care of everything they own. Everything in their home has a place and everything is in its place. Their home is immaculate.
Your other friend is a nice person – but they’re a slob!
Now - who you gonna ask to take care of your house while you’re gone?
You have just made a value-judgment based on the character of your friends.
And you cannot live a normal life without making judgments about who you can trust and who you can’t.
Jesus didn't really mean we shouldn't make judgments about people - He just meant we should be VERY careful how we do it. Notice the entire quote on judging in Matthew 7
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
In other words – if you’re HARSH with others, God will be harsh with you.
But if you show MERCY to others… God will show mercy to you
In the same way you judge others, you’ll be judged.
James explains it this way
“Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who SPEAKS AGAINST HIS BROTHER or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is ONLY ONE LAWGIVER AND JUDGE, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you— who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:11-12