Scriptures: Matthew 7:1-2, 1 Peter 3:10, Proverbs 6:16-19, Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 15:4, John 8:6-8, John 8:10-11, Matthew 5:7, 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Proverbs 11:13, Romans 2:1, Romans 2:21-23, Matthew 7:3-5, 2 Samuel 12:5-7, Matthew 7:6
Jesus is about to begin a lengthy closing to the Sermon on the Mount. Before he tells us to decide which gate we will walk through, he has one more point to make. It's about judging others.
There was a wife who tried very hard to please her ultra-critical husband, but failed regularly. He always seemed the most cantankerous at breakfast. If the eggs were scrambled, he wanted them fried; if they were fried, he wanted them scrambled. One morning, with what she thought was a stroke of genius, the wife fried one egg and scrambled the other and placed the plate before him. Anxiously, she awaited what surely this time would be his approval. He peered down at the plate and snorted, "Can't you do anything right, woman? You've scrambled the wrong one!" Judgmental people will find something to judge.
DON'T DO IT! Jesus simply said concerning criticizing and judging others, "Do not judge . . ." Let's read the first part of today's passage.
Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
Matthew 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Most people don't give a second thought when it comes to judging, talking about people, and spreading hurtful rumors. We think that it's only harming the person we are talking about, but in reality, we are doing much more damage to our own lives. Jesus said we are actually judging ourselves. We remove ourselves from God's best.
1 Peter 3:10 For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.
If we really want to enjoy life, we must take control of our tongues. If we want to see good days, we must keep our tongues from saying negative things about anybody. Notice that it's not if it's true of not. It's if it is evil or negative or judgmental it's wrong. When we do it, we are messing up our own lives and days. Don't do it.
Proverbs 6:16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:
Proverbs 6:17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
Proverbs 6:18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,
Proverbs 6:19 a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (That one is detestable to the Lord.)
Notice that three of the seven things that God hates deal with what we say about people (v17, v19, v19). Also notice that the Lord doesn't only hate dissension among people. He hates the person who stirs up dissension among people. How does one sow dissension? By going around talking about people and stirring up all sorts of doubts and trouble. It doesn't say that God dislikes it. The Lord hates it. Don't do it.
Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others upaccording to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
God wants us to only say wholesome things that build people up and benefit those who listen. If what we are saying is not lifting someone and building them up to the people listening then we should not say it at all. We should only use our words to make people feel better about themselves and to make people that are listening to feel better about people. Don't judge others.
Proverbs 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
Christ followers are to be trees of life. Our fruit and leaves should bring healing. A tongue that crushes people is a deceitful tongue. When a person is constantly crushing others with his or her tongue, we have a deceitful person. Watch out! Don't do it. It removes us from God's best. God hates it. Avoid it and get away from it.
SOMETIMES WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN WE GET AROUND JUDGMENTAL, critical, and slandering people. We don't know how to get away from them without being rude. Well, let me tell us that we can be rude. Jesus was rude when people began being judgmental. There is a story in the Bible about a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery. Jesus was teaching and the judgmental Pharisees brought the woman to him. With great joy, they told him what they had caught her doing and said that Moses said she should be stoned. They asked Jesus what he had to say. Surely he would not disagree with Moses. Get the picture? They were talking to Jesus and judging and condemning the woman. Jesus did something very rude. He ignored them and bent down and began writing in the dirt.
John 8:6 But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
(NKJV) John 8:6 . . . as though he did not hear
He refused to acknowledge their presence. He would not look at them. I believe he would have walked away, but the poor woman would have been stoned had he done that. I see two great lessons here. One is how we respond to people who are critical and judgmental and slanderous. The other lesson is that we see how Jesus responds to us when we are critical, judgmental, and slanderous. He pays us no attention. It's as though he does not hear us. He won't even look at us. If we want to turn Jesus off, be judgmental.
The Bible says the Pharisees would not stop. They continued judging and wanting to throw stones. Have you ever been around people like that? They just won't stop. They follow you around throwing judgment at people. So here is what Jesus did and what we should do.
John 8:7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
John 8:8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
We need to stand up and say, "Hey, listen! What makes you so perfect? What gives you the right to judge?"
Jesus said it was okay to judge people as long as we meet one requirement. That requirement is that we have never sinned. I don't know about you, but that takes me out of the stone throwing business.
WHERE IS THE LOVE THAT IS NOT JUDGMENTAL AND CRITICAL AND SLANDEROUS? Should it not be in church? WHERE IS THE CHURCH that sees through the eyes of Jesus? We don't know what people have gone through. It's not our place to knock people down. It's our job to lift them up and build them up. People need our help. They get enough judgment from the world. I don't want to be a part of a critical, judgmental church. I am rude to judgmental people and Jesus wants you to be rude to them as well.
You know how that story went. One by one all the woman's accusers left from the oldest to the youngest. Finally, no one was there but the woman and Jesus.
John 8:10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
John 8:11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
I think it's interesting that Jesus talked to the woman about the people who were accusing her. We need to warn one another when people are accusing us. It gives the accused the opportunity to confront the accusers.
Jesus ignores those who condemn, but gives his full attention to those who need forgiveness. Jesus did not condemn her. He forgave her. The kingdom of heaven is not made for condemnation. It is made for forgiveness.
THE IDENTICAL AMOUNT OF JUDGMENT THAT WE GIVE OUT is the amount of judgment we will receive. For some reason we don't believe that is accurate, but it is.
A woman was talking to another woman about how she had to constantly be judgmental about her husband about. She said she watched him cut grass had to tell him how to do it better and quicker. Her friend asked, "Did it help." The judgmental woman replied, "Well, yes. It used to take him an hour. Now I do it in 45 minutes." Being judgmental will come back on us.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
It's that way with mercy also. When we show people mercy, God shows us mercy, but when we judge, we are judged by the same measure. There was a man that was very critical about divorced people. Then one of his children divorced. It broke his heart. If we judge someone's family, we will have problems with ours. If we judge someone's children, we will have problems with ours. If we judge someone's finances, we will have problems with ours. Please don't be guilty of judging others because it will come back on you. But if we flip that around and bless someone's home, or children, or finances, or marriage, we will be blessed. Give and IT shall be given to you.
CRITICAL AND JUDGMENTAL PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS LOOKINGfor things to judge and talk about. Those Pharisees who brought that woman caught in adultery to Jesus were not out teaching and helping people. They were out trying to find someone doing something wrong so they could judge them. The Bible calls that being a 'busybody.' They were meddling in someone's business trying to dig up some good gossip.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,
We need to learn to tell people to mind their own business. Some people have a tongue so long they can sit in the den and lick a spoon in the kitchen. This verse may not be a deep revelation, but it's some of the best advice I can give you to have a blessed and happy life. Mind your own business. We always want to give our opinions - 'Well, let me tell you what I think . . .' No. We need to mind our own business.
WRONG TO LISTEN:We know it is wrong to gossip and judge and be critical about people. But it is just as wrong to listen to it. In fact, our duty is to stop it.
Proverbs 11:13 A gossip goes around spreading rumors, while a trustworthy man tries to quiet them.
We are to stop gossip. Say, "Let's not talk about people." Your ears are not garbage cans for someone to fill with trash about people. You can be rude.
We need to cover for each other. Don't just sit back and listen to that trash. Jump in there and say, "Wait a minute. I know him or her. They are good people and I don't want to hear you talk about them."
DO YOU KNOW WHAT SLANDER IS? We think that slander is when someone says something evil or a lie about someone. No. Slander, in the Bible, is when someone says something about a person that will cause others to think less of them. Anything that casts a shadow on another person is slander and does not please God.
GUILTY OF SAME: I want to show you something that I have found to be consistently true over the years. It will give us insight about people who are judgmental and also some insight about ourselves.
Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
Romans 2:21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal?
Romans 2:22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Romans 2:23 You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?
The Bible says that when a person passes judgment on someone else on whatever point, that person is guilty of the SAME THINGS. I've yet to find this not true. When I hear someone slandering and judging others over an issue, it comes around that the judging person is guilty of the same things and often more so. Jesus said,
Matthew 7:3 "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?
Matthew 7:4 How 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?
Matthew 7:5 You hypocrite . . .
The same wood that we see as a speck of sawdust in someone's eye is a plank in the eye of the person doing the judging.
Remember King David? He had committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had Bathsheba's husband Uriah killed. The Lord sent a prophet named Nathan to David and Nathan told David a story. The story was about a wealthy man who had many sheep, but took a poor man's one little sheep and killed it. Nathan asked David what should be done to the wealthy man.
2 Samuel 12:5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die!
2 Samuel 12:6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity."
2 Samuel 12:7 Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man!"
David was harshly judging someone's taking a sheep and killing it when David had taken a man's wife and killed her husband.
Jesus is not saying that there are not specks of sawdust in the eyes of people. We all have specks. But they have become planks when we judge others. What Jesus is teaching us, if we have ears to hear, is that speck hunters have planks in their eyes made of the same stuff. When a person judges another, they themselves are guilty of the same things, except their problem is much larger.
Matthew 7:6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces."
Have you ever noticed the context of this verse? I don't know that I had. The context is criticizing and judging people. Jesus connected a judgmental and a critical person with pigs and dogs. Most likely, on the surface we fail to see the relation of a judgmental person with dogs and pigs. But once we stop and think about how devouring a pack of ravenous dogs is and how filthy pigs are, we can easily put together the correlation.
I may as well feed my holy soul to a pack of wild dogs as to give my ear to a person who talks about others and criticizes others. Their ravenous words and their ripping criticism, is like allowing dogs to tear my soul to pieces. No matter how strong in the Lord I may think I am, words of criticism about a people will rip my soul. I become critical myself. I become the person with the plank wedged in the eye.
I may as well wallow in gagging filth like a pig and eat slop as to give my ear and feed on the filth of a judgmental person. It stinks to God as does a pig to you and me. That stench only attracts large green flies that sound like jet airplanes buzzing all around. I don't want to be as a large green fly. I am holy. I want to have a holy soul and a pure heart.
A judgmental, critical person will turn on you in a moment. As surely as that critical person is judging and criticizing someone else to you, that person will judge and criticize you to someone. Jesus said, "they will turn on you and tear you to pieces."Don't give your spirit and soul to dogs or pigs. Avoid a judgmental and critical person as you would a pack of ravenous dogs or a herd of stinking, fly attracting pigs.
Let me challenge you today. If you really want to enjoy life, keep your tongue from speaking evil about people. Be a person of mercy, not judgment. Learn to see through the eyes of Jesus. See the good in people, not the bad. Only speak things that build people up to the listeners. God will bless you and honor you. Jesus won't ignore you. We can have that abundant life if we will not talk about people.