Matthew 7:1-6, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the splinter from your eye;’ and look a log is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First, remove the log from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before the swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."
One of the most quoted and misrepresented verses in the Holy Bible, by believers, and non believers, is the “judge not” scripture. This verse is usually quoted when we don’t want to be corrected for an action that is wrong or sinful. However, Messiah meant this scripture in a different context then how we use it. Here are some of the common phrases we use when this scripture is quoted; “Jesus said, ‘Judge not, lest you be judged,’ ‘Don’t judge,’ ‘Don’t judge me,’ or ‘if you were really a Christian you would follow what Jesus said, ‘judge not.’” We have all used this verse as an escape route to our own sins. It is used to defend ourselves against our wrong behavior. We twist this teaching and it’s meaning, to fit our lifestyle of sin. We claim any correction of sin is “judging.” This is not an accurate understanding of what Messiah stated in this teaching. Let us examine these verses one section at a time.
Matthew 7:1-2, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Jesus summarized the Law as “love for God and neighbor.”
Matthew 22:37-40, “You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
Judging someone in a condemning, unloving, hypocritical way is a sin, as Messiah stated. When we fail to love, we are actually breaking God’s second greatest law. Messiah follows up his warning against condemning judgment with an explanation; “we will be judged by the same measure that we use.” He is warning us about hypocritical judgment. If we are doing the same sin as the person we are “judging,” then we have no business applying that standard to other people. This verse is not forbidding righteous judgment, but hypocritical judgment.
Matthew 7:3-4, “And why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the splinter from your eye;’ and look, a log is in your own eye? Hypocrite!"
These verses actually condemn hypocritical judgment, not righteous judgment. Messiah confirms this by calling the accuser a “hypocrite.” We are hypocrites when we condemn others of doing something we are doing ourselves. Why did Messiah use a log for the hypocrite and a splinter for the accused? He is telling us a fault in our own life is a much larger problem than the same fault in another person’s life. Basically, we need to get our life right first before we try to help another person get their life right. We should not be hypocritical in our ways.
Matthew 7:5, “FIRST, remove the log from your own eye, and THEN you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye."
This clearly states for us to get our life right with God’s laws first, so then we can help other people. After correcting our own behavior, we will see clearly enough to make righteous judgments and help others correct their behavior. Messiah is clearly stating if we are living a righteous life, then we can help others live a better life. We are not to judge (condemn) them, but help them understand the sin and turn away from it.
James 5:20, “Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins."
We should help with loving, righteous judgment, instead of condemning judgment, as only God has that authority.
John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
Matthew 7:5 is actually condemning hypocrisy, not righteous judgment. Messiah is telling us to correct our own behavior before we attempt to help others. If we attempt to righteously judge others before doing so, our judgment will be flawed by our own “log.” This verse is in no way forbidding righteous judgment.
Matthew 7:6, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before the swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."
The lesson ends with Messiah telling us to use wisdom and discernment. Messiah is stating that it is futile and a waste of time to teach holy living to people who don’t want to listen, and who rebuke everything we say. He is not saying we should stop giving unbelievers the Word of God, but we should use wisdom and discernment if they are using us or wasting our time.
Matthew 10:11-14, Messiah teaches, “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there until you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.”
God has ordained and blessed us with the law or instruction (Torah), and Messiah came to fulfill the law and fulfill the prophets (Matthew 5:17). We have to abide by these laws or we fall into judgment. Condemning judgment is God’s sovereign right only, but he always has, and still does, and will continue to want people to righteously judge between right and wrong.
Ezekiel 33:8, "When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked man from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.”
1 Timothy 5:20, “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear."
Also, Messiah told us to make disciples out of all nations.
Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
So, if we are all commanded to “make disciples out of all nations,” how can we not teach people right from wrong, or righteously judge and help people correct their lifestyle?
2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching."
If we do not use righteous judgment, we cannot praise anything any more than we can condemn it. Righteous judgment involves making the distinction between good and bad, not simply stating something to be bad. As we all understand, it is impossible to go through life without righteously judging. Every decision we make can be considered “judging.” All societies abide by righteous judgment, or the world would have social anarchy. We fall into error by using condemnation in our judgment, instead of love. Didn’t our parents use righteous judgment when teaching us lessons?
In Proverbs 13:24, Solomon proclaims, “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”
Solomon gives us a clear example of what righteous judgment does; it produces discipline and obedience to God’s law. Also, we have judicial judges and jurors who righteously judge a court case to discern a verdict. They are righteously judging a person to correct a behavior and sin. We have presidents, prime ministers, kings, judges, church leaders, policemen, firemen, teachers, parents, and many others in all walks of life making decisions with righteous judgment. Instead of us looking at judgment as a negative, we should look at it as a positive in helping to correct sin and sinful choices by us all. How can we be forgiven without righteous judgment? Should we be allowed to do whatever we want in life? Certainly not.
Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Once the sin is corrected, we should forgive our neighbor, and they should forgive us.
Luke 17:3, "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; an if he repents, forgive him."
How often should we forgive our neighbor and our neighbor forgive us?
Luke 17:4, “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
Messiah wants us to be the “salt of the earth,” and the “light of the world.”
Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men."
Messiah states in this scripture that if we make no effort to help and change the world, then we are of little value to Him. We should influence others in a positive way, His way, just like seasoning brings out the best flavor in food.
Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but put it on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
If we live our life for Messiah and His commandments, we will shine bright and will be the “beacon,” that Messiah wants us to be, by helping others understand His laws and commandments. In doing so, sometimes we all have to righteously judge one another in order for a sin to be corrected. We should not look at this as a condemning judgment, but as a loving, righteous judgment, so we can correct our ways and live the Godly life that our Lord wants all of us to live.
John 7:24, “Do not judge to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.“ Amen, Amen and Amen!