One of the most misunderstood passages in the Bible is Matthew 7:5. This passage deals with judging. Like all verses, we need to understand it in the light of other scriptures and its context.
“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 speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Did our Lord condemn all judging? What exactly was Jesus referring to? The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day would bind heavy burdens upon the people but found ways to avoid doing the same to themselves (Matthew 23:2-7). Jesus warned his disciples not to apply their own standards to others because God would use that same standard against them. Yes, we must never measure another brother with our personal standard of self-righteousness when we cannot measure up to our own standard. Often, we will have a greater problem than the one we are trying to correct in our brother.
But does this mean that we cannot point out error in religion or seek to correct a brother in sin? A look at the context of Matthew 7 shows that this is not the case. In verse 16 Jesus says, “you shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?” It is a known fact that weeds do not produce tomatoes. False religions, no matter how well meaning, that bad seed do not produce New Testament Christians. Marshall Keeble was once quoted as saying, “God didn’t set us up as judges but we sure must be fruit inspectors.”
In John 7:24 Jesus commanded us, “Judge not according to appearance but judge righteous judgment.” We cannot judge by the way we feel or by what we think. The new lease standard of judgment is the Word of God. The Bible contains admonitions to judge others by God’s word. Paul said, “… and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11) and “I am set for the defense of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:17) The teaching that “we should not offend those in error,” and “the gospel can defend itself,” it’s not found in God’s word. We not only have a right but responsibility to point out error.
What about when we inform other Christians of sin in their lives? We not only can but have an obligation to go to an unfaithful brother. In Galatians 6:1 we read, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” We have an obligation not to go “in the spirit of haughtiness or self-righteousness.” Our mission is the conversion of the erring Christian from the error of his way, (James 5:19-20). Yes, we must never use our own standard for judging others. Let us remember that the only standard for judgment that we may use is the word of the living God.”
Grady Scott via the Messenger , Karns church of Christ
BEFORE I CRITICIZE.
Before I engage in the arrogant practice of fault-finding, I must first do the following:
1. Pause and be sure my heart is right. Do I really want to help or hinder? Which will I be doing? (Matthew 7:1-2).
2. Examine my own life to see that everything is in order. Would I be honest in condemning another while I need correction? (Matthew 7:3-5).
3. Try to put myself in his/her place. How would I be doing if I was bearing his load? (Romans 15:1-2).
4. Remember God’s mercy towards men! How often have I asked for the mercy of God? Should I not extend it to him? (Matthew 18:21-35).
5. Consider the benevolence of others. My brethren have often borne with me in failure. Can I not now bear with him/her? (Galatians 6:1).
6. Remember how I was hurt when I was last criticized! How can I delight in inflicting that pain on another? (Matthew 5:22-28).
7. Pray for my brother and myself. I need to pray for him/her that he/she might overcome, and for myself that I might be forgiven for even considering sinning against him, (Acts 8:22).
8. Go to my brother in humility and love. There I can confess my shortcomings and help him see the need for repentance in his life ((James 5:16).
If I will do these things I will not only help another to be saved, I will avert the destruction of my own soul.”
Larry Fluitt, Via Manhattan Church of Christ
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
“If a person is a socialist or a communist, I will know within 24 hours; if he is a member of a labor union, I will know within a few days. But if he is a member of the church, it may be years before I learn about it.
“This is a rather alarming statement. Sometimes I believe it is a truthful one, however. What the writer is saying is that people are concerned about the secular ties they have rather than their spiritual ties. THINK ABOUT THIS CAREFULLY? When was the last time you talked with someone about the Lord Jesus Christ and salvation? When was the last time you talked about the church with a friend?