“Judge not, lest you be judged” (Matthew 7:1).
As Christians, we are often far too quick to jump to conclusions about another person.
As J. Vernon McGee once said, “The only exercise some Christians get is jumping to conclusions and running down others!”
We will say that we can see a person’s heart and condemn them. This is not right, because Jesus said, “Judge not, lest you be judged” (Matthew 7:1).
However, when Christ made that statement, He did not mean that Christians are not to make judgments about situations and people. After all, in other passages, the Bible tells us we are indeed called to judge (see 1 Corinthians 6:2; 1 Peter 4:17).
In other words, we have to make assessments and value-judgments in life.
Don’t try to judge a person’s heart or motives.
So what does it mean then, when Jesus says, “Judge not?” The Greek word means basically to “separate, choose, select, or determine.” In this passage Jesus is dealing with motives, which no human being can know of another. Jesus is saying, “Don’t try to judge a person’s motives in the sense of passing final judgment on them.” In short, “Don’t condemn, lest ye be condemned.”
We are to refrain from hypercritical condemning judgment. There is a big difference between being discerningly critical and hypercritical.
A closing thought:
An unknown poet of times past wrote:
“Judge not the workings of his brain,
And of his heart you cannot see.
What looks to thy dim eyes a stain.
In God’s pure light may only be
A scar brought from some well-won field
Where thou wouldst only faint and yield.”
Let’s be discerning, but not condemning!
The story of Johnny Cash’s life and spiritual struggles offers hope to anyone who has had trouble staying on the straight and narrow path—and reminds us that God redeems broken lives and makes them whole again. My new book, Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon is a fascinating look at a unique and talented musician and follower of Christ!