Song: Oh How I Need You
Artist: All Sons & Daughters
Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
Don’t judge. It’s often touted as an excuse for relativism. You do your thing. I’ll do mine. No judgment here. But it has to mean something other than never judge. Scripture repeatedly (even Jesus himself, later in this very passage!) encourages disciples to use discernment – to evaluate the rightness and wrongness of things – to make value judgments.
So what is Jesus aiming at here?
It’s a kind of judgmental, fault-finding attitude – that’s often blind to our own faults.
And that’s the rub. Judgment feels good – because we’re always looking at others, laying the best in ourselves alongside the worst in others. We feel better about our position – in relation to others. We’re comfortable in here, looking out the window at others to point out their flaws.
But then Jesus adds: the way you judge is the way you’ll be judged. It sounds a bit like something he says just a few verses earlier: If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
God forgives those who forgive, and he condemns (judges) those who condemn. In both cases, the motivation for our acts of mercy or judgment is rooted in how our heavenly Father treats us. These verses suggest that the orienting relationship in a disciple’s life is God-ward first.
And that means mirrors, as well as windows. Notice how Jesus continues:
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend,‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
Today, before you look out the window, take some time to look in the mirror. Remember God’s mercy (and withholding of judgment!) in your life because of the work of Christ in you. And then? See how that changes the view out the window.