Untying the Judging Knot
Copyright © 2004 Jeremy Myers
" Judge not lest you be judged."
In verse 38, Christ uses some marketplace terminology to illustrate what He is teaching.
William Hendriksen writes,
The underlying symbolism is that of the Near East grain market, but similar conditions are found all over the world. Anyone who had had anything to do with the sale of grains, fruits, or vegetables knows that a bushel loosely filled contains far less produce than one in which the grain or other agricultural products have been pressed down, shaken together, and added to until they run over the edge of the container.
In the context of judging others, this picture is of how God will judge us in relation to how we judged others.
In saying, "Judge not, lest you be judged" Jesus has actually taught us how to judge correctly. Jesus himself judged others, as did many Godly men and women throughout the Bible. There is a whole book of the Bible devoted to some of the human judges. If you want to judge justly, judge as Jesus judged. He came to this earth , not to condemn but to save. He came to walk in our shoes for a while. When someone is doing something sinful, try to put yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine what it would be like to be them. Try to understand what the attitude and motive of their heart is. Try to understand the circumstances in life that led them to their actions.
Then pray. Pray to see the person through God's eyes. Pray that you may look upon them with tears of sorrow, not tears of anger. Jesus, when He looked upon the rebellious city of Jerusalem full of people living in hypocrisy and sin, he did not get angry. Instead, He wept.
Judging others as God judges others will lead us to tears, not to anger. In college, Wendy went on a short-term missions trip to Amsterdam. As most of you might know, Amsterdam is famous for it’s "Red Light District." She and some friends walked through it one night to get to where they were staying. At first, she didn't really know exactly what to think of all the prostitutes and sexual perversions that were taking place all around her. She says that her first instinct was revulsion. But as she prayed, her response changed. When she looked into the eyes of one of the many prostitutes lining the streets, Wendy saw only fear, sorrow and pain. In that instant, Wendy realized how lost these poor girls really were. It was not all their fault they were in that horrible situation. The revulsion melted away. The outrage vanished. The disgust was replaced by love and sorrow. Here she was, in one of the most sinful places on planet earth, and she felt only grief and sorrow for the lost and dying women all around her.
Notice that Wendy did make a judgment. What was going on was terribly wrong and terribly sinful. She condemned the sin of prostitution. But she did not condemn the person. She loved the person. She saw the prostitutes as young girls enslaved to sin. It has them locked up in the dark chains of perversion and guilt. Wendy, in praying to see those prostitutes as God sees them, was able to condemn and judge the sin, but love the person. This is how to judge correctly.
Is abortion wrong? Yes. Is homosexuality wrong? Yes. Is adultery wrong? Yes. Is addiction to drugs, alcohol and food wrong? Yes. But we do not condemn the people who are enslaved to these sins. Instead, having made a right judgment about the wrongness of these sins, we can now made right decisions about how to free these people from the sin that enslaves them.
People say, "Do not judge, lest you be judged." Although this is what Christ seems to say, in context it becomes very clear what He is truly teaching. He is saying that we must not fail to judge, for people's lives are at stake.