by Lenny Cacchio
Judge not, that you be not judged. (Matt 7:1 NKJ)
A friend tells me that Matthew 7:1 is the most widely quoted scripture these days. “Judge not that you be not judged.” I’m not inclined to argue with the scriptures, but I do take issue with the scriptures being misused. In post-modern America, we’re told that we shouldn’t judge other people and what they do. Who are you to tell someone else that they are wrong? Judge not!
Yet this same Jesus also said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)
So on the one hand we’re told not to judge, but on the other we’re told to judge righteously.
You and I make judgments every day. Prudence demands it. We wouldn’t hitch a ride with any old stranger. We judge that foolish.
We don’t let our children watch certain television shows. We judge such trash sinful.
We stay away from unsavory characters because we know that bad company corrupts good morals. We judge them poor acquaintances.
What is so wrong with passing such judgments?
When people quote Matthew 7:1, they should go on to quote verses 2 – 5. Jesus tells us that we will be judged by the same standards that we use to judge others. Because God tells me that I will be judged by the law of liberty (James 2:12), it should be expected that we will make judgments according to that law.
Having said that, I would be a hypocrite to look askance on another for doing those things of which I am guilty. Matthew 7:5: “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye.” (NKJ)
So it’s okay to help your brother remove the speck from his eye – if you have first taken the beam from your own.