Summary: Because God alone does the judging, I am freed up to encourage others in their spiritual journey.

August 2, 2001

If You Only Knew the Father – Part 2


ILLUS – At the start of the 20th Century, the world’s most distinguished astronomer was a man named Sir Percival Lowell. He had a particular fascination with the planet Mars – largely because he was sure through his telescope, that he could see canals on the surface of the Red Planet. He spent the last many years of his life squinting into the eyepiece of his giant telescope in Arizona, mapping the channels and canals that he saw. He was convinced the canals were proof of intelligent life on Mars, possibly an older and wiser race than humanity.

Lowell’s observations gained wide acceptance. In fact, he was so widely respected, no one dared to contradict him.

Now, of course, things are different. Space probes have orbited Mars and landed on its surface. The entire planet has been mapped, and no one has ever seen a canal. How could Sir Percival Lowell have seen so much that wasn’t there?

Two possibilites:

1) He wanted to see canals so badly that he imagined he did, over and over again.

2) We now know that Lowell suffered from a rare eye disease that made him see the blood vessels in his own eyes. The Martian canals he saw through his telescope were nothing more than the bulging veins of his eyeballs.

In Matthew 7, Jesus refers to something similar. Judging others. Over and over we see faults in others perhaps because we don’t want to believe anything better about them. And so often we think we have a firsthand view of their shortcomings, when in fact our vision is distorted by our own disease.

Judging is not my business.

Big Idea: Because God alone does the judging, I am freed up to encourage others in their spiritual journey.

After talking about a Christian’s character, influence, righteousness and ambition, it seems quite logical that Jesus should concentrate on relationships.

TRANSITION: This is made evident when we apply Jesus’ words by examining three truths in Matthew 7:1-6. #1…

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

Well known, but often misunderstood. I read somewhere not too long ago that outside the church, Matthew 7:1 is the most often quoted verse of the Bible. Don’t judge – in other words who are you to tell me this or that is wrong.

But Jesus isn’t telling us to put our critical faculties on hold and turn a blind eye to sin. If we did that, we’d fall for just about anything. That’s why the message of the Sermon on the Mount is be different – do not be like them.

The word Jesus uses and the context reveal the meaning…


Verse one reads like this in The Message:

Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults

Being judgemental means….to be pick people apart harshly. It means being a fault-finder who forms critical opinions, is negative and destructive toward people, and enjoys actively seeking out their failings.

Someone who is judgmental makes quick interpretations of a person’s motives, questions their sincerity, and is ungenerous toward their mistakes.

A judgmental person reads between the lines, assumes the worst and jumps to inaccurate conclusions.

I don’t know about you, but unfortunately, at times that sounds a lot like me. It’s easy to make unwarranted assumptions, simple to look at the externals and make hasty judgments.

Someone once said, “Nothing is easier than faultfinding: no talent, no self-denial, no brains, and no character are required to set up in the judging business.”

But Jesus says, “Stop it! It’s wrong.”

ILLUS - When I was a boy I enjoyed climbing onto the driver’s seat of our family car and pretending to drive. I’d sit behind the steering wheel of that 1970 Forest Green Ford LTD and act out what it would be like to drive. Waving to my friends, and of course, occasionally honking the horn. It was fun.

Now my parents only let me do this when the car was parked and the keys were out of the ignition. Could you imagine what might have occurred if I had actually attempted to drive?

For one, I wasn’t qualified. I didn’t have a license and didn’t have the slightest idea how to operate a car. For another, I wasn’t able. I was so little that my feet wouldn’t reach the pedals. I couldn’t even see over the dashboard. And also, if the car started up and began moving down the street it would have been very dangerous for everyone else on the road. Here would be this out of control car driven by a kid who couldn’t see where he was going – other cars would be heading for the ditches, pedestrians would be diving out of the way. Mailboxes would be flying. It would be a mess.

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