Judging Others

Matthew 7: 1-5
Gen 12: 1-9 / Psa 33

For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
(Matthew 7:2)

If we must judge others for their sins,
Pray to the Spirit for discernment,
That the Lord may provide us the means
To lead them to the light and repent.

“Judge not, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 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? You hypocrite, remove the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)

Reflection

Our Lord did not mean it literally when He said we should stop judging. After all, we cannot help but judge in order to make the right decisions. Judging is a mental process by which we evaluate facts and perceptions in order to reach a decision or opinion. We are given free will, and with the gifts of knowledge and discernment we can make the right decisions with regard to what is good, proper and true. With these gifts, He expects us to think and behave with acumen and good sense.

What Jesus meant first of all was, we should “Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly” (John 7:24). God has given us the privilege to make wise judgments, and in fact it is incumbent on us to point out the error of others. We must take care, however, because, being human, our scope of perception is usually limited to the externals, is often subjective, and may even be biased, hardly adequate to judge the character of others. It is almost impossible for us to make an impartial opinion. As a result of past experiences, we carry prejudices that color our judgment. We can never see the real person as God does. He alone has unlimited wisdom and insight to see the character flaws and malicious motives of men.

Secondly, Jesus taught us to stop being judgmental, because too often we may have a greater flaw than the person we are judging. “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye but do not perceive the plank in your own eye?” If we must be the judge of others for their faults or omissions, let us examine ourselves first, and see if we are living up to the standard of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will be our Final Judge. Therefore, it must be from the perspective of love that we judge as we will surely face the same standard that we are using.

The third point against judging others is having the wrong intention. The leaders of the Jews judged Jesus unfairly because they felt threatened by His teachings and wondrous works. Imagine accusing Him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul! By accusing Him this way, a judgment of damnation fell on their heads, as “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven” (Mt.12:31).

Jesus wants us to judge wisely for our own sake. As His followers, we also have the responsibility to use good judgment in shepherding others. St. Paul said, “Brothers, if a man is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct him in a gentle spirit, looking to yourself so that you also may not be tempted.” (Gal.6:1). St. James echoed the same message: “Brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 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” (Ja.5:19-20).

Lord God, in regarding others, help us to ‘put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another… putting on love, which is the bond of perfection’ (Col. 3:12-14) so that we may receive the same. Amen.

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