Today, the Governor of Maine signed a bill that changes Maine law to read that marriage is between two persons, not just a man and a woman. It’s certainly a hot button issue, and not really one that I want to get into with this post. In the discussions I’ve seen online and had with people, I’ve run into the “Judge not, lest you be judged” argument. Specifically, that’s what I’d like to talk about.
First, let’s look a the passage of scripture specifically. It comes from Matthew 7. This is Jesus speaking.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
Seems simple enough. The problem is, no one goes any further. They stop there. Let’s go on to verse 2.
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Here’s how I read that. “Be careful how you judge someone, because that very same yardstick you use on someone else will also be used by you.”
Jesus continues in verse three:
3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Italics mine.)
Jesus isn’t telling us to not judge at all. If he were, he would of said something like “Don’t worry about the speck in your brother’s eye, for you have no right to judge him anyway.” No, instead he warns us again to make sure we ourselves have our own house in order before we go about passing judgment. It’s not right for us to condemn something if we ourselves are doing the very same thing! So before we judge someone’s actions, we’d better be sure we’re not guilty of the very same thing upon which we’re about to pass judgment. (See also Romans 2.)
And besides, whose judgment are we passing, anyways? Are we allowed to say murder is wrong? If we’re not supposed to judge, then who are we to say murder is wrong? Here’s the good part: we don’t have to say it. God did. God’s word already tells us murder is wrong. We’re not passing judgment, really, as much as we’re agreeing with the standard already set up by God himself. He’s already judged murder as wrong. We’re merely agreeing with him.
Someone on Facebook posted this one: “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother?” That’s from Romans 14. And it’s taken WAY out of context. Look at the passage. The passage is concerning 1) believers, and 2) “disputable matters.” The Apostle Paul is talking to two different sets of believers: one set doesn’t eat meat, another group does. What Paul is saying is “Don’t get worked up over something that isn’t a big deal. Decide for yourself if a ‘questionable matter’ is right or wrong. Then stick with that. And if another Christian doesn’t subscribe to that teaching, so be it. Don’t get bent out of shape about it. Love your fellow Christian just the same.”
People are not going to agree about this topic. I understand that. My hope today is that people will become a little more informed, and not just throw out the “Don’t judge” argument. It’s not really valid.