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Amplified: Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Judge not, that ye be not judged.
NLT: "Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: "Don't criticise people, and you will not be criticised. (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: Stop pronouncing censorious criticism, in order that you may not be the object of censorious criticism, (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Judge not, that ye may not be judged,
|Do not judge so that you will not be judged: Me krinete, (2PPAM) hina me krithete; (2PAPS) ( Isaiah 66:5; Ezekiel 16:52-56; Luke 6:37; Romans 2:1,2; 14:3,4,10, 11, 12, 13; 1Corinthians 4:3, 4, 5; James 3:1; 4:11,12)
Spurgeon encourages us...
Here are some other translations...
John Lightfoot writes that...
Oswald Chambers writes...
This is not completely accurate however and in fairness to Chambers he does speak to the "quality" of this judgment noting that Christians can be exceedingly critical individuals. God is the only One Who can be justifiably and perfectly (in turns of motive) critical, for He alone can tell us what is wrong without destroying us. And so Chambers is not saying don't ever make a judgement, but be careful about the spirit in which you pass a judgement. If you are going to judge with a critical spirit - Don't. Citizens of the Kingdom of heaven are challenged (and empowered by the Spirit and grace) to cultivate an uncritical temperament. They must ever be alert to the temptation to place themselves in a position of superiority over others. Superiority belongs to God's alone and He will not allow it to be usurped, subverted, supplanted or superseded! Obedience to Jesus' command is good for your spiritual health! To break this command is sin and to suffer disruption of fellowship with your Father Who is in heaven. Do you need to confess and repent of this sin (and/or this sinful attitude) even as you read these notes? Why is this so important to your spiritual health? John explains that...
Do not judge (2919) (krino related to English > critic, criticize) primarily signifies to distinguish, choose, separate or discriminate; then, to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, without necessarily passing an adverse sentence, though this is usually involved. It means to sift out and analyze evidence.
A judge observes the evidence, evaluates it, and arrives at a certain conclusion. In sum, krino has a wide semantic range that can mean to: judge (judicially), to condemn, or to discern. In context, Jesus clearly does not forbid all judging of any kind, for the moral distinctions drawn in the Sermon on the Mount require that decisive judgments be made and are even mandated (eg "you will know them by their fruits" Mt 7:20-note).
What Jesus is addressing is the spirit and/or motivation of one's judgment. The OT prophets were often very judgmental toward Israel, but the difference is that they were speaking God's words to His rebellious chosen people!
Do not judge is in the present imperative with a negative particle (Greek = "me" = negates) which calls for them to stop doing this implying that they were judging. The truth is that fallen flesh is by nature critical and condemning. And so in these first two verses of chapter 7 Jesus is telling His audience (and us) to...
He is saying cease judging others with a spirit which is censorious, carping (marked by or inclined to querulous and often perverse criticism), caviling (raising annoying, petty, trivial and/or frivolous objections), condemnatory, critical, disapproving, disparaging, fault-finding, hypercritical, scathing or severe. Why? For such judgment is harsh, self-righteous, lacking in mercy and short on love. Unfortunately the church of Jesus Christ is far from immune and as someone has quipped a few in the church even think their critical spirit is their spiritual gift! They euphemistically call it a "spirit of discernment"!
Even Shakespeare saw the light on this precept writing...
James has a similar admonishment...
In a parallel passage Luke quotes Jesus' (four) commands including...
So that (2443) (hina) introduces a purpose clause - in this case the reason we should not judge others hypocritically and/or hypercritically is so that we "cut off" a similar judgment upon ourselves. This purpose clause should serve to motivate us to obey this command enabled by the Spirit and grace.
D A Carson comments that...
Guzik has an excellent exposition of this command writing that...
People Magazine was interviewing a well-known actor who was defending the moral indiscretions of former President Clinton.
Whenever Christians warn against or condemn our society for its loss of moral moorings, it is not uncommon to have them misquote Matthew 7:1 to counter our "judgmental attitude", but as discussed in this section such a use represents a distortion of what Jesus actually meant in context (remember context is "king" in [accurate] interpretation). Clearly Jesus was not forbidding one from making moral evaluations which is the way this actor and the unregenerate world interprets this verse. They say "Do not judge. Do not make moral evaluations. Do not condemn anything." Wrong! That is not what Jesus is commanding, for all through the Gospels He teaches we are to continually make moral judgments about both issues and people (cp Jesus' moral judgment regarding adultery - Mt 5:27, 28-notes) If we interpreted Matthew 7:1 the way the world wants us to interpret it, we could not say there was such a thing as adultery... it's just an "affair" (note the world's euphemistic way of toning down evil.) Christians as salt and light are to make sound moral judgments, but we must do so with a humble, loving attitude for nothing is more harmful to the cause of Christ than believers who cry out with a shrill voice using harsh language which condemns others (there is only one Judge) with an angry, unkind attitude. The point is that believers are not to manifest a judgmental, critical, fault-finding attitude, always being negative, always carping about things, always being aware of minor problems in the lives of others while oblivious to the faults they are demonstrating in there negative, judgmental attitudes. Believers can and should make Spirit-led moral judgments, but not in an unloving, unkind manner. We are never to despise others or regard them with contempt. As we have often heard, God hates the sin, but loves the sinner, which is why He sent His Son. We are to "be imitators of God, as beloved children and walk in love." (Ep 5:1, 2-notes)
Dwight Pentecost addresses the problem of judging others by reminding us that...
Oswald Chambers writes that Jesus is charging His disciples to
The Holman NT Commentary writes that...
As alluded to Jesus is not saying we are to condone or excuse sin, for the Scriptures clearly do not forbid men to distinguish between good and evil. Yes, we are to get rid of a critical spirit, but we are encouraged to cultivate a discerning spirit as in the exhortation in Hebrews where we note that...
And so contrary to popular opinion, Jesus is not forbidding all judgment but He is condemning hypocritical judgment of those who held others to a higher standard than they themselves were willing to live by. In fact, in the following verses Jesus clearly indicates that taking a speck out of your brother’s eye is the correct thing to do, as long as you have been careful to first remove the log out of your own eye. On the other hand, we are forbidden to judge the motives or attitudes of others for unlike God, we are not able to discern “the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (see note Hebrews 4:12). Only God can judge the heart, because only God can see the heart (1Sa 16:7). As the psalmist rightly asks...
In Proverbs we read...
And in Romans Paul instructs us that there is coming a day when...
And writing to the Corinthians Paul instructs his readers...to
The upshot is that judgment of other's motives is not our job but God's job.
To reiterate, Scripture does urge us to judge between truth and error, right and wrong, good and evil. For example, Jesus said
Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers
Clearly, God requires us to be discriminating when it comes to matters of sound doctrine.
We are also instructed to judge one another with regard to overt acts of sin. Writing again to the Corinthians, he asked...
This same process of discipline ("judging") is outlined by Jesus Himself in Matthew 18...
Another kind of judgment which is required of every believer is to examine and judge our own selves at the Lord's Table for Paul states that...
This self-judgment calls for an honest, transparent searching of one's own heart every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper. And Paul preceded this admonition by giving us ample motivation to judge ourselves rightly...
In a similar way, all other righteous forms of judgment depend on this honest self-examination which is exactly what Jesus was alluding to when He said
Hendriksen explains that...
Writing to the Corinthians, Paul addressed the issue of the church's lack of action and failure to mourn over and deal with the grievous immorality in their body...
Similarly believers must distinguish (judge) between true and false doctrine. And thus we read passages like...
We are also at times called to judge whether others are true believers, for otherwise we could never recognize the unequal yoke that Paul commands us to avoid...
Jesus is telling His audience to avoid the hypocrisy and condemning spirit that arises from self-righteousness. Believers are not in the condemning business and are to leave any necessary condemnation to God the only righteous Judge. To reiterate, we are not to judge other peoples motives for as Scripture clearly teaches...
"Speck ministers" tend to emphasize the faults of others rather than their strengths and to focus on other's faults rather than their own faults. Criticism of others is foolish because our knowledge of them is only partial at best. But even if we had all the facts, we still might misinterpret them because our judgment, unlike God's, is fallible. And such judgmentalism generally tears down rather than building up.
Stated another way, we can judge what people do or say, but we cannot judge why they do it or why they say it. How can we know the heart motives of other people when Jeremiah tells us that our...
Solomon warns us that...
Ray Pritchard elaborates on "faultfinders" ("spiritual vultures") concluding that...
H W Beecher once said that...
Richard Strauss adds that...
In Romans Paul addresses the religious person (including unsaved, orthodox Jews) who were judging the pagans for their horrible sins in Romans 1...
In Romans 14-15 Paul addresses the issue of judging other believers in the body of Christ writing...
Ryrie adds that Jesus...
Morris adds that...
Alexander Maclaren has a rather graphic explanation of "do not judge" writing that...
As the context reveals, Jesus clearly does not prohibit all types of judging (see Mt 7:5, 16). There is a righteous kind of judgment we are supposed to exercise with careful discernment...
Censorious, hypocritical, self-righteous, or other kinds of unfair judgments are forbidden. On the other hand the church is in a desperate need for sound Biblical correction. Some actually misapply Mt 7:1 to avoid correction. As alluded to in Mt 7:2-4, Jesus is warning us not to judge someone's motives, for we cannot see into their heart.
Ray Pritchard explains what our Lord does not mean by the command "Do not judge" writing that...
John Stott adds that here
John Wesley told of a man he had little respect for because he considered him to be miserly and covetous. One day when this person contributed only a small gift to a worthy charity, Wesley openly criticized him. After the incident, the man went to Wesley privately and told him he had been living on parsnips and water for several weeks. He explained that before his conversion, he had run up many bills. Now, by skimping on everything and buying nothing for himself he was paying off his creditors one by one.
Needless to say, Wesley apologized to the man for judging him unrighteously and asked his forgiveness.
Reminiscent of this is another story of the rural church member who used tobacco by dipping snuff. When the preacher thundered out in his sermon, “And God is going to judge the idolaters,” the brother shouted, “Amen!” When the preacher, waxing more vigorous, shouting “And God is going to judge the adulterers,” the brother followed with “Amen!” But when the preacher then bellowed, “And God is going to judge the snuff dippers,” the unhappy brother in a barely audible voice responded, “Now he’s done stopped preachin’ and gone to meddlin.’“ Sinning Davids are always unhappy with Nathan's proclamation that "Thou art the man!" (Ed comment: I do not consider snuff dipping a sin. As a physician, I think it is very harmful and deleterious to the health of one's oral mucosa, but in and of itself is not a sin...in my opinion.)
Pastor Ray Pritchard presents a practical checklist to assess whether one is prone to judging with a critical or condemnatory spirit...
Hughes gives an illustration of this critical spirit in the experience of a young bachelor...
D L Moody - You may find hundreds of faultfinders among professed Christians; but all their criticism will not lead one solitary soul to Christ. I never preached a sermon yet that I could not pick to pieces, and find fault with. I feel that Jesus Christ ought to have a far better representative than I am. But I have lived long enough to discover that there is nothing perfect in this world. If you are to wait till you find a perfect preacher, or perfect meetings, I am afraid you will have to wait till the millennium arrives. What we want is to be looking up to Christ. Let us be done with faultfinding.
Our society detests moral absolutes - A recent poll estimated that 72% of Americans between the ages of 18-25 do not believe in absolute truth or in moral absolutes. Daniel Taylor, a professor at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, put it this way: "(Relativism) takes the clearly observable fact that we have a multitude of views and values and practices in the world--pluralism--and draws the illegitimate conclusion that there is no justifiable way of choosing among them. Truth is merely opinion, goodness only what the majority says it is." In one public high school, the sociology textbook being used says "Everything is right somewhere, and nothing is right everywhere." Translation - There are no absolute moral standards in the universe. Everything is relative.
The mantra of "No Absolutes" causes many to shy away from the exclusivity of the Christian message for fear of backlash. The Wall Street Journal had a story on Reverend Bruce Robbins the ecumenical staff leader for the United Methodist Church, who was explaining that Methodists are encouraged to share their faith but qualified this statement with the caution to be very careful about trying to target other groups for evangelism, explaining "We have to honor diversity. We believe that God's call through Jesus is universal and that other people know God through their religious traditions."!
HASTY CONCLUSIONS - The folly of snap judgments of others is well illustrated by a story the last Bishop Potter of New York used to tell on himself.
He was sailing for Europe in one of the great trans-Atlantic liners. When he went on board, he found another passenger was to share the cabin with him. After going to see his accommodations, he came up to the purser's desk and inquired if he could leave his gold watch and other valuables in the ship's safe. He explained that ordinarily he never availed himself of that privilege, but he had been to his cabin and had met the man who was to occupy the other berth and, judging from his appearance, he was afraid that he might not be a very trustworthy person.
The purser accepted the responsibility of caring for the valuables, and remarked, "It's all right, bishop, I'll be very glad to take care of them for you. The other man has been up here and left his for the same reason."
One is reminded of the lines of Robbie Burns,
It is very easy to form snap judgments, only to find out afterwards that they are utterly unfounded. Love "believeth all things, hopeth all things." (Harry A. Ironside)
It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.
F B Meyer has a chapter entitled "TO THEM THAT ARE WITHOUT" (Matt. 7:1-6.)
Along as we are in this mortal life we shall necessarily come into contact with those whose lives are godless and evil. Evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse. People will always abound who will not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is according to godliness. There will always be perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth, and enemies to whatever is pure, lovely, holy, and of good report. In this paragraph of the Sermon on the Mount our Lord sets Himself to show us how to act towards such. It is clear that the Master had no desire that His servants should retire from human society, but should live amongst men as salt and light arresting the progress of corruption, and abashing the evil deeds that hide under the cover of darkness; but, in addition to the quiet influence of our character, there will always be scope for a further exercise of Christian principle. In what direction, and to what extent, is this to take effect, and by what laws is it to be governed? In answer to these questions our Lord lays down a general principle, which is removed as far as possible from that which obtains among men. He says: Whatever you do, think, or say about others must be in precise accordance with what you would like them to do, think, or say about yourself. Judge not, for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged. With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them; and all things whatsoever ye would not that men should do unto you, do ye not so to them.
It is clear that there are three circles in this paragraph of men with whom we are constantly thrown into contact. First, our Associates and Neighbours, whose characters and conduct are constantly passing in review before us; secondly, the Erring Ones, whose motes trouble us; and, thirdly, the Dogs and Swine, which stand for the notoriously vicious and profane.
As to our Associates and Neighbours, Our Lord says:
(1) "Judge not." We need hardly say that there is a sense in which we are bound to form careful judgments on those around us. The judgment is one of the noblest faculties of our moral life, and our surest safeguard from the sharks that infest the seas. The young girl must use it of the man who is seeking to engage her affections; the young man must use it of the man who offers him a partnership; the seeker after truth must use it of the teacher who professes to be able to lead him. There is no prayer that we need more often or more fervently to make than that God would give us right judgment in all things. "He that is spiritual judgeth all things."
But the judgment prohibited by our Lord is altogether different from this, and is that spirit of censoriousness and unkindness which is always lying in wait for others, and making strong and uncharitable statements on the most superficial view of their words and actions, without trying to understand the motives by which they have been actuated or the difficulties of their position.
The natural man is proud, haughty, and self-opinionated. He has a great contempt of and a great prejudice towards those who do not belong to his own sect or party. He is, therefore, very censorious of them, making faults where there are none, and aggravating them where they are. When he has formed, however hastily, his judgment, he is not content with contemplating it for himself, but takes every opportunity of venting it in word and act. If such men can win another to their party, they are perfectly willing to condone his faults; otherwise they will not scruple to extinguish him and his influence by poisoning the minds of his neighbours and contemporaries. This sin of censorious judgment is a constant peril to us all, and one against which we need to watch and pray.
Beware lest you have a secret joy in seeing that another who had borne an irreproachable character has failed! Beware lest you form your estimate of another on idle stories, suspicions, suggestions, and surmises, and without sufficient evidence! Beware of seeking after a reputation for quickness in estimating the true worth of others, since the desire to maintain such a reputation is fraught with temptation! Beware of speaking of the faults of others, except you have prayed about them first! Beware of uttering your criticisms unless there is some end to be gained in warning others! Beware of speaking of others till you have looked at home! Remember the proverb about glass houses!
There are some who seem unable of forming a generous estimate of any. According to them there is always some evil motive behind apparent goodness, which 'detracts from all merit or virtue. "Yes, he does seem religious and humane, but then, you know, there is a rich old relative in the background, and it is all-important to keep in touch with him, and that sort of thing goes down well in that quarter." Or, "Yes, he is religious enough just now, but, you know, there is a lady in the question, and he is perfectly right in the way he is taking to win her." Ah, it is a sad and miserable state of mind to have no eyes but for wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores, and to find these beneath the surface when they do not appear to the eyes of others. There are many young men and women amongst us in society who can hardly indulge in any language but that of depreciation.
(2) Our ignorance of most of the facts should give us pause before passing harsh and censorious judgments. Take this, for instance: A merchant was thought to be very selfish with his money. He was known to be very rich, and yet when asked for subscriptions he gave always a small sum (5 Pounds) where his neighbours thought he ought to give 20 Pounds. He was therefore in ill odour for miserliness and greed. This went on for years, and many closed their hearts against him. One of his friends, however, who felt that there might be some other explanation, set himself, with careful inquiry, to ascertain the facts. It was with some difficulty that he finally discovered that this much-abused man was supporting handsomely a large family of poor relatives. He educated them well, and put them out in life with no niggard hand. They lived in another town, and no one knew of the source of their income. Their benefactor never allowed his left hand to know what his right hand did. Here was a man whom all were misjudging because they did not know all the facts. Is it a solitary instance?
(3) The fact that we cannot judge others adversely without revealing ourselves may also make us pause.
The man who imputes low motives to the conduct of another is probably conscious of their presence within himself. He is already actuated by them, or would be if he were in the place of the man he criticises. He has no higher standard for another than that which rules in his own breast, and almost unconsciously in his criticisms he is revealing his own soul.
(4) It is inevitable that our harsh judgments of others will come back on ourselves.
A man receives back what he gives. There is an automatic law of compensation in society. Kindness begets kindness, censoriousness begets censoriousness. Ishmael's hands were against everyone, and every man's hand was against him. Adonibezek cut off the thumbs and great toes of seventy kings; and as it was done by him it was done to him. Haman was hanged on the gallows which he had erected for Mordecai. The Jew, who banned all men as heathen dogs, is himself banned. The world may fitly be compared to a vast field in which each man drops his seed, and it comes back to him, not just the same that it was when he dropped it in, any more than in the autumn you reap from the earth the black berry which you hid in its broad bosom in the spring, hut something which has its true correspondence and proportion to it. Every gift has its return, every act its rebound, every voice its echo. The Lord states the alternative in another discourse, closely corresponding to this, when He says:
"Give and it shall be given unto you' good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
"Wherefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts, and then shall each man have his praise from God" (1 Cor. 4:5, R.V.). Especially guard against prejudice, that is, pre-judgment. Remember that there are dogs and swine in the makeup of your own heart, and you must see to it that their presence does not trample under feet what is purest, noblest, and best, and rend men and women who, if you did but know and understand them more fully, would attract your loving veneration. Remember the words with which our Lord prefaced His warning against censorious judgment: "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful."
As to the Erring,
(1) Consider the beam that is in your own eye.
The beam is, of course, a log, rafter, or joist, and is the extreme contrast to the chip or splint of wood which is light enough to float in the air; and a child can understand what our Lord means when He employs a well-known Jewish proverb to give the flavour of homeliness to His speech.
(2) By nature we are extremely prone to put other people right.
We behold the mote that is in our brother's eye till we can think of nothing else. All the good qualities he possesses weigh lighter than swansdown against that one inconsistency that presents itself to us at each mention of his name. Finally, we go to him with the fixed resolve of ridding him of his mote, saying, "Let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye." Now in all this there would be nothing to condemn, indeed, there would be much to commend, if it were done lovingly, humbly, and after the due confession and putting away from our own life of all inconsistency and sin; but it is the height of absurdity to attempt to extract the mote when your own vision is distorted by the presence of the unextracted beam. How dare you presume to deal with the faultiness of others when your own faults have not been corrected! It is like Satan rebuking sin. Well may men cry, "Physician, heal thyself."
(3) It is evidently a very delicate operation to correct the faults of others.
Our Lord compares it to the extraction of a little piece of grit, or dust, or a minute insect, from an inflamed eye. A clumsy hand may well make the matter worse. Only the tenderest, strongest hand can be trusted for the operation; and, if I might choose, let me have one who has himself suffered, being tempted. It is only He, who has been tempted in all points like as we are, though without sin, who can be trusted to deal with our inner temptations, inconsistencies, and failures. It is the man whose own transgressions have been forgiven according to the multitude of God's tender mercies who can teach transgressors His ways.
(4) First cast out the beam out of thine own eye.
There is a beam there, if you only knew it. We look, it has been said, at our neighbor's errors with a microscope, but at our own through the wrong end of a telescope. We have two sets of weights and measures, one for home use and the other for foreign. Every vice has two names; and we call it by the flattering and minimizing one when we commit it, and by the ugly one when our neighbour does. Everybody can see the hump on his friend's shoulders, but it takes some effort to see our own. A blind guide is bad enough, but a blind oculist is a still more ridiculous anomaly. The more we know of ourselves the more pitiful we shall be of others; the less likely to form rash and harsh judgments; the more sweet and tender we shall be in trying to make men better.
(5) Then thou shalt see clearly.
Only the pure heart sees; and when once some heart-sin is put away a flood of light pours on all things in heaven and on earth. We see sin as we never saw it, and the love of God and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Heaven above is softer blue,
As to Dogs and Swine, Use a wise discrimination Suppose a priest, on coming out of the Temple, encounters a hungry dog, one of those yelping, voracious, unclean animals, which are the scavengers and pests of Oriental cities, would it be seemly for him to return to the Temple and take a piece of the flesh which was reserved from the sacrifices for the use of priests, and therefore holy, and give it to the dog for food? He might relieve the creature's hunger, but not with such food as that. Or suppose a man, carrying a bag of pearls through a forest, were to encounter a hog, would it be wise or seemly for him to place the pearls before it, when it needed acorns?
Similarly, it is unseemly to offer the sacraments of our holy religion or the forgiveness of Christ's Gospel to the notoriously unclean and untrue, or to discuss the sacred mysteries of the Epistle to the Ephesians with those who are set on coarse and carnal pleasures. First, their natures must be changed. They must be born from above. Old things must pass away, and all things become new. Then, when the heart of stone has been removed and the heart of flesh substituted, the soul will hunger after the Divine mysteries, and will be able to appreciate them in such a way as to justify us in presenting them. The raven may feed on carrion, but the dove will return to Noah's Ark until she can find her natural food.
For all this we need something which was not fully revealed when our Lord was speaking, but has been revealed since. The soul which stands before this high ideal is filled with despair until it remembers, first, that the precious Blood cleanses from all sin and shortcoming; and, secondly, that the Holy Spirit longs to make possible and real these heavenly ideals. May that Blood cleanse and that Spirit renew and perfect thee and me! (F. B. Meyer. The Directory of the Devout Life)
Amplified: For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
NLT: For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: and the measure you give will be the measure you receive (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: and with that standard of judgment with which you are judging, by that standard will judgment be passed on you. (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for in what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and in what measure ye measure, it shall be measured to you.
For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you: en o gar krimati krinete (2PPAI) krithesesthe, (2PFPI) kai en ho metro metreite (2PPAI) metrethesetai (3SFPI) humin (Judges 1:7; Psalms 18:25,26; 137:7,8; Jeremiah 51:24; Obadiah 1:15; Mark 4:24; Luke 6:38; 2Corinthians 9:6; 2Thessalonians 1:6,7; James 2:13; Revelation 18:6)
For (1063) (gar) introduces the explanation of and gives the grounds for the danger of wrong judging.
Jesus explains that a judgmental critical spirit is like a boomerang in that whatever measure or standard you use to measure others with, that same standard will be used to measure you. The idea is that when we criticize someone, we are usually insisting on a high standard for that person, who will use the same standard to judge us. And worst of all God will use the same standard. That is the measuring rod we use for others may become God's measuring rod for us. Why? Because we usually do the same things we accuse others of doing (see discussion of Romans 2:1-2 in previous verse, Mt 7:1).
Be aware that every judgment that a person makes becomes a basis for his or her own judgment. (Now believers won't be judged for sins for they are forgiven but they will be judged for "rewards", cf 2Cor 5:10). It is interesting that Jesus did not say here who would judge us with this "judgment in kind", which leaves open the two possibilities of judgment by other men in this life and of course judgment by God (which could be in this present life if it took the form of His loving discipline or chastisement or it could be at the Judgment Seat of Christ, 2Cor 5:10)
James has a similar stern warning for teachers writing...
James also writes that...
The phrase "measure...measure" may have been a proverbial saying for Jesus makes a similar statement in Mark declaring...
The general concept of "measure for measure" has already arisen in the sermon...
Kent Hughes explains that Jesus is giving us a fearful warning in this verse for...
Thomas à Kempis summed it up well when he said...
F B Meyer has the following devotional entitled CHRIST'S TEACHING ABOUT JUDGING OTHERS- "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged."--Matt. 7:1-2.
OUR LORD evidently does not, in these words, condemn that honest judgment which, for our own safety and for the good of society, we are compelled to form of men and women with whom we come in contact. Such judgments are inevitable. But He condemns that censorious and uncharitable judgment which is always finding fault, always neglecting the good and dwelling on the bad, always spreading unfavourable and inaccurate reports, which are often founded on very superficial and insufficient grounds.
How true it is that we are measured by the measure we use for others. There is a remarkable Nemesis in life, which is the judgment-seat of God. The evils we inflict on others, like the Australian boomerang, which becomes almost a speck in the sky, come back to ourselves. If you are generous in your estimate of others, you will be estimated generously. If you are mean and stingy, others will treat you in the same spirit.
We are all would-be oculists! (Ed note: Not occultists!) Nothing pleases us better than to try our hand at recovering motes of sawdust, as well as splints, from the eyes of others, while we are indifferent to the beams of timber which obstruct our own vision. Christ is always saying to us, "Cast out the filthiness from the holy place"; and as His light falls deeper and deeper into our nature, it must reveal hidden evils which need to be put away. "Let us be true to the inner light, and then with tender and chastened spirits, from which all consciousness of superiority has departed, we shall help others to be rid of their own obstructions."
In Matt 7:15-20, Christ gives us the infallible test. He suggests that in every age there will be those who care for the fleece more than for the flock, and who come into the fold under a most winsome and bewitching guise. Beware of such people, and judge them, not by their doctrine, but by their fruits. The Devil is the most orthodox theologian in the world: "I know Thee, who Thou art, the Holy One of God."
"By their fruits ye shall know them." You cannot judge what a man is by hearing him repeat a creed; but as you observe his character, his disposition, his behaviour; not in public, but in private; not for a day, but for a year, you can come to an almost certain judgment as to whether God or sell be the ruling consideration of the inner being.
PRAYER - Make us merciful, O Christ, in our judgments of others. May we think no evil. May we forbear and forgive one another as Thou dost forgive us. AMEN. (F. B. Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
WITH WHAT MEASURE YE METE,
THIS is an invariable principle. Christ did not make it true by saying it; He said it because it was true. There are at least three policies of life--that of the churl, who never gives unless he is compelled; of the niggard, who metes out from the tiniest measure on which he can lay hands; of the bountiful man, who is ever meting out his stores with lavish hand. If he gives, it is to his uttermost; if he loves, it is with all his heart; if he forgives, he crowns the forgiven one with loving kindness; if he puts his hand to constructing aught, every part of it bears trace of the wealth of his taste, and gift, and self-sacrifice.
It might be supposed that such a policy would lead to bankruptcy of resources and speedy impoverishment; and for fear of this most refrain from adopting it. They either do not give, or give stintingly and fearfully. But the remarkable fact is, that when a man is using this large measure toward others, they catch it up and fill it with their bountifulness toward him. They mete out their love and gifts according to the measure of his giving. This is an invariable principle: begin serving men with a miser's hand, and they will do the same to you; begin, on the contrary, by serving men without stint, and they will do the same to you.
Live a royal life, child of God, as becomes such a Father. Give, expecting nothing again, with full measure, pressed down, and running over. Give, not so much money, as love, and tenderness, and human sympathy: give as one who is always receiving from the boundless resources of God. And, provided always that thy motives are pure, it will come back to thee. God will see thee bountifully rewarded. (F. B. Meyer. Our Daily Homily)
WE sometimes criticize others unfairly. We don't know all their circumstances nor their motives. Only God, who knows all the facts, is able to judge righteously.
John Wesley told of a man for whom he had little respect because he considered him to be miserly and covetous. One day when this person contributed only a small gift to a worthy charity, Wesley openly criticized him.
After the incident, the man went to Wesley privately and told him he had been living on parsnips and water for several weeks. He explained that before his conversion, he had run up many bills. Now, by skimping on everything and buying nothing for himself, he was paying off his creditors one by one. "Christ has made me an honest man," he said, "and so with all these debts to pay, I can give only a few offerings above my tithe. I must settle up with my worldly neighbors and show them what the grace of God can do in the heart of a man who was once dishonest." Wesley then apologized to the man and asked his forgiveness.
Judgmental attitudes spring from pride and are offensive to the Lord. A critical Christian is not operating from the principle of love. That's the real fault with faultfinding!—H G Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
For some reason, it is easier to jump to negative conclusions about people than it is to assume the best about them. When we do this, we ascribe to them bad intentions and evil purposes that may not be true. We also reveal something about ourselves, for the faults we see in others are usually a reflection of our own.
Bishop Potter "was sailing for Europe on one of the great trans-Atlantic ocean liners. When he went on board, he found that another passenger was to share the cabin with him. After going to see the accommodations, he came up to the purser's desk and inquired if he could leave his gold watch and other valuables in the ship's safe. He explained that ordinarily he never availed himself of that privilege, but he had been to his cabin and had met the man who was to occupy the other berth. Judging from his appearance, he was afraid that he might not be a very trustworthy person. The purser accepted the responsibility for the valuables and remarked, `It's all right, Bishop, I'll be very glad to take care of them for you. The other man has been up here and left his for the same reason— (H. A. Ironside, Illustrations of Bible Truth).
We need to make sure we have all the facts before we speak and guard ourselves against making snap judgments about people. The standards we use to judge others will be used to judge us. —D. C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.—Disraeli
A GROUP of residents in a Connecticut town were terribly upset about the reckless driving on their suburban streets. So fifty-three of them signed a petition calling for tighter traffic control in their neighborhoods. The sheriff responded by setting up a watch a few nights later. He caught five violators in all—and each of them had signed the petition! They themselves were guilty of the very transgressions of which they were so critical.
Many Christians are like this. They see themselves as self-appointed correctors of the wrongs of their brothers and sisters in Christ. They see clearly the shortcomings and faults of others—and they are quick to point them out. But they are often blind to the same deficiencies in their own spiritual lives (see Romans 2:1).
Sometimes other Christians need correction, and we have a responsibility to help them. But before we undertake this delicate and challenging task, we must be honest about where we stand. When the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian believers, he urged them to take steps to confront and restore a sinning brother (Gal 6:1). But he also called for it to be done in "a spirit of gentleness." Why? Because any one of us could fall to temptation and be found guilty of the same crime.—D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Bread And Butter - A small-town baker bought his butter from a local farmer. One day he weighed the butter and concluded that the farmer had been reducing the amount in the packages but charging the same. So the baker accused the farmer of fraud.
In court the judge asked the farmer, "Do you have measuring weights?"
"No sir," replied the farmer.
"How then do you manage to weigh the butter that you sell?"
The farmer answered, "When the baker began buying his butter from me, I thought I'd better get my bread from him. I have been using his 1-pound loaf as the weight for the butter I sell. If the weight of the butter is wrong, he has only himself to blame."
Making hasty, unjust judgments about others is sin. The Pharisees of Jesus' day seemed to be especially adept at this. They would try to elevate themselves by tearing down and slandering people's character. Not only is this a sign of pride and self-satisfaction, but it is certain that we will be judged in a similar manner. Jesus said, "With what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you" (Mt. 7:2).
What is the measure you use? —Henry G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Don't be too hard on the person who sins,
Beware Of A Judgmental Spirit - A young married man began going to a pornography store. When his parents learned of this, they gently and tactfully confronted him, but made no accusations. The son responded with anger and said that he saw no harm in what he was doing. He accused his parents of being judgmental. With broken hearts they had to stand by and watch him as he left his wife and family, lost his job, and eventually ruined his life.
Many people today would say that his parents had no right to imply that he was doing wrong. They may even quote Jesus' words: "Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 7:1).
But the Bible makes it clear that we are responsible to humbly confront fellow believers when we see them caught in sin (Galatians 6:1, 2). These parents were lovingly doing just that.
Jesus wasn't saying we shouldn't confront sin. He was saying we must be very careful in making judgments. Paul wrote that love thinks no evil (1Co 13:5-note). We must give others the benefit of the doubt, recognizing our own limitations. And we must reject any feeling of spiritual superiority, lest we also fall into sin.
Confronting someone is a serious responsibility. Exercise it carefully, and always beware of judging.—Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Your Word instructs us not to judge;
BREAD AND BUTTER - A small-town baker bought his butter from a local farmer. One day he weighed the butter and concluded that the farmer had been reducing the amount in the packages but charging the same. So the baker accused the farmer of fraud.
In court the judge asked the farmer, “Do you have measuring weights?”
“No sir,” replied the farmer.
“How then do you manage to weigh the butter that you sell?”
The farmer answered, “When the baker began buying his butter from me, I thought I’d better get my bread from him. I have been using his 1-pound loaf as the weight for the butter I sell. If the weight of the butter is wrong, he has only himself to blame.”
Making hasty, unjust judgments about others is sin. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day seemed to be especially adept at this. They would try to elevate themselves by tearing down and slandering people’s character. Not only is this a sign of pride and self-satisfaction, but it is certain that we will be judged in a similar manner. Jesus said, “With what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Mt. 7:2). (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
What is the measure you use?
Don't be too hard on the person who sins,
A CURE FOR CRITICISM - A church bulletin had a clever poem about criticism that began:
A little seed lay in the ground
The seed could then be heard saying, “I don’t care to be a rose. It has thorns. I have no desire to be a lily. It’s too colorless. And I certainly wouldn’t want to be a violet. It’s too small, and it grows too close to the ground.”
The poem concludes with this verse about that faultfinding seed:
And so it criticized each flower,
The apostle Paul indicated in Romans 12:3 that we are not to think of ourselves too highly. Rather, we are “to think soberly.” To the church in Philippi he wrote, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil. 2:3). When we fail to follow these instructions and begin finding fault with others, we are actually passing judgment on ourselves (Mt. 7:1-2; Ro 2:1, 2, 3). (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
A good cure for a critical spirit is an honest look at ourselves—not at others.
When you see faults in someone else,
In discoursing on the words before us, we must notice,
I. The prohibition—
The prohibition, though given in general terms, must of necessity be limited: and it is of great importance to have its limits clearly defined. We shall therefore,
1. Point out what is not included in it—
[It does not forbid the exercise of magisterial judgment. Magistracy is of God’s appointment. It was ordained by him for the restraining of iniquity; and those who are invested with it are “not to bear the sword in vain&&.” They must hear, must judge, must determine, must enforce and execute the laws: and they who fulfil their magisterial duties with zeal and uprightness, are to be regarded among the brightest ornaments and the richest blessings of a land.
It does not forbid the forming of a discreet judgment, whether of things or persons, for the regulation of our own conduct. We are rational beings, and must walk agreeably to the dictates of reason and religion. Are any things proposed to us for adoption? We must examine whether they be worthy of our choice: we must “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good&&.” Do any persons tender their advice, and profess to have their views rectified by the word and Spirit of God? We must not immediately take for granted that they are right, or yield ourselves implicitly to their direction: “Believe not every spirit,” says St. John; “but try the spirits, whether they be of God&&.”
It does not forbid our declaring of the judgments of God against sin and sinners. When we state, that “the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,” we are considered by many as violating the rules of charity. But charity does not require us to confound good and evil, or to contradict the plainest assertions of Holy Writ: it would be no charity, but rather the greatest cruelty, to act thus: and it is at the peril of our souls to do so&&. We must “in any wise rebuke a brother&&:” we not only must “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but must rather reprove them&&.” It was no violation of this law when Paul reproved Peter for his dissimulation&&: nor will it be any infringement of our duty to declare, that “the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God,” or to suspend from intercourse with ourselves, and from the communion of the Church, an offending brother&&.
Doubtless, if these things be done in an uncharitable spirit, they are wrong: but, if done with kindness, and from a sense of duty to God, they will be approved and applauded by him.]
2. Mark distinctly what is forbidden—
[The judgment which we pass on others is then faulty, when it is needless, unfounded, hasty, or severe.
We are not appointed judges over all mankind; nor have we a right to summon all our fellow-creatures to our bar. If their actions do not concern us, we should let them pass without presuming to pry into the merits of them. We are not to be “busy- bodies in other men’s matters.” God repeatedly puts the question to us, “Who art thou that judgest another?” The same question we should put also to ourselves: “What right have I to judge him? what call? what occasion?” And if no necessity is imposed upon us, we should leave the exercise of judgment to those to whom it properly belongs.
Not unfrequently do men form a judgment without any just or adequate grounds. There is a strong propensity in the human mind to indulge prejudice, and to harbour unkind thoughts both against individuals and bodies of men without any specific reason. When this is done, we readily listen to any report against the object of our aversion, and put a bad construction upon every thing he says or does. It was thus that our Lord was treated by the Scribes and Pharisees: though he “spake as never man spake,” and was altogether “without sin,” yet they always found fault with him, and loaded him with all manner of accusations. The same kind of prejudice still operates in the minds of many, especially against religious characters; so that if a person be only branded with some opprobrious name, it shall be sufficient to degrade him in their eyes, and to give validity to every calumny that malice can invent. Indeed where religion is out of the question, such “evil surmisings” frequently arise; and a mere look, or motion, or word, that was perfectly innocent, shall be construed into a grievous offence, and be made an occasion of vehement indignation. That such judgment as this is wrong, needs no proof: it is too palpable a violation of the golden rule to admit of the smallest defence. Happy would it be if religious people themselves were not too often blameable on this account. They are but too prone to lay a stress on matters of indifference, and to condemn those who differ from them, as severely as if their practice were ever so criminal. But, however this conduct be cloked with a plea of religion, it is most hateful in itself, most injurious to the Church, and most offensive to God&&.
But further, if our judgment have some foundation, yet is it faulty, if it be rash. We should give to every person an opportunity of assigning the reasons of his own conduct. It is the motive which chiefly stamps the quality of an action; and, till we have ascertained the principle from which any thing proceeded, we never can form a proper estimate respecting it. What injustice was there in the construction which Michal put on the conduct of David when he danced before the ark&&! Had she waited till she was informed respecting the reason of his gestures, which appeared to her in such an unfavourable light, she would have seen cause rather to adore God for him, than to load him with such bitter reproaches. On the other hand, the benefit resulting from inquiry may be seen in the termination of the cause between the Reubenites and the other tribes, on the subject of raising an altar on the side of Jordan. Had not inquiry been made into the reasons of that act, thousands of lives would have been lost in causeless warfare: whereas, on an explanation of the matter, the act was approved, and every heart was filled with joy&&. A similar effect was produced by Peter’s explanation of his reasons for going to eat with uncircumcised Gentiles&&. The law of Moses, and even the Roman law, required, that no man should be condemned unheard&&: and certainly the same equitable rule is proper to be observed by us also&&.
It is possible, however, that where we have cause for censure, our judgment may be too severe. The act which we condemn may have been wrong, and the principle may have been wrong also; but yet there may have been many circumstances to palliate the fault; and, if we do not take them into consideration, we shall load the offender with an unmerited degree of blame. In like manner, if because of a single act we impute to him a habit of any sin; or if because one or two persons have done any thing amiss, we impute blame to all the body or party to which they belong; this is a most unjustifiable severity, though, alas! it is but too common. It was in this manner that David’s enemies acted, when they made his sin an occasion of condemning religion altogether, and of “blaspheming the very name of that God” whom he professed to serve. And the Apostle tells us, that such would be the effect of misconduct in religious persons, whether servants or others, that “the way of truth would be evil spoken of,” and that “the name of God and his doctrine would be blasphemed&&.” But the persons who indulge such unhallowed tempers will ultimately be the victims of their own severity.]
Such are the limits of the prohibition before us. Let us now proceed to notice,
II. The considerations with which it is enforced—
There is frequently, though not always, a visible correspondence between the work and the reward of men, even in this life. “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful,” says the Psalmist; “and with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward&&.” In the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount we have many expressions to the same effect. Now this consideration should operate to guard us against indulging uncharitable censures: for if we do, we may expect,
1. A similar recompence from man—
[People are invariably grieved when they are loaded with unmerited blame: and though they may not have it in their power to punish the injurious person in any other way, they will almost universally repay him, measure for measure, according to his desert. This is a species of revenge which every man has within his own reach, and can indulge without much danger of reprisal. Accordingly we find, that a censorious and uncharitable man, though listened to on account of the fondness which all men have for scandal, is yet disliked and dreaded by the neighbourhood in which he dwells; because the very persons who listen to his censures, expect that they themselves in their turn shall be the objects of his invective. A man that is kind and amiable, and ready to make allowance for the frailties of others, will usually find reciprocal kindness at the hands of others: but the harsh, uncharitable, censorious person has little to expect but merited hatred and general condemnation. If, like Adoni-bezek, we exercise wanton cruelty towards men, we cannot hope for much mercy when we fall into their power&&. We do not indeed justify this kind of recrimination, because it is the duty of all to render good for evil, blessing for cursing: but, where divine grace has not subdued the vindictive principle, men will “measure to us according as we mete to them.”]
2. A suitable recompence from God—
[God considers the sin of censoriousness in a far different light from that in which it is generally viewed. He regards it as an invasion of his right, and an usurpation of his prerogative: and the indignation with which he addresses those who presume to judge their brethren, is perhaps as marked as any that is expressed on any occasion whatever: “He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another&&?” So again by another Apostle, “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth.” “Why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? We shall all stand at the judgment-seat of Christ. Let us not therefore judge one another any more&&.” “It is a righteous thing with God to recompense” good or evil unto men according to their conduct towards others&&: and these are solemn warnings: and, if we will not attend to them, we shall disobey them at our peril: for the express determination of God is this, “He shall have judgment without mercy who hath shewed no mercy&&.”]
1. Search out diligently your own frailties—
[Those who are most inattentive to their own faults, are most observant of the faults of others, and most harsh in passing censures upon them. If we did but see the numberless evils that we have committed, and the base motives by which our more specious actions have been defiled, we should blush and be confounded before God; and, like those who accused the adulterous woman before our Lord, should find other employment than that of casting stones at others&&.]
2. Consider what mercy you have received at the Saviour’s hands—
[How justly might he have left you, as he did the fallen angels, to receive the due reward of your sins! Yet, instead of that, he pitied your state; he came down from heaven in order to apply a remedy; he even shed his own precious blood to wash away your guilt, and to cover it from the sight of an offended God. Go now, with this mercy before your eyes, and gratify your spleen in censuring and condemning your fellow-creatures. No; you cannot do it, if your minds be suitably impressed with the mercy you have received. Go then, and imitate your Lord; and exercise that “charity that shall cover a multitude of sins.”]
3. Cultivate a spirit of love towards all mankind—
[See how you are accustomed to act towards those of your own family, or of your own party: how ready are you to veil or to extenuate their faults! Think also how tender you are towards your own faults; and how ingenious in finding excuses for any thing which you have done amiss. Deal thus then with all mankind: regard them all as your friends, and love them as yourself. Only think what, in a change of circumstances, you would judge it right for them to do to you, and let that be the rule of your conduct towards them. Would you have them manifest towards you the “love that helieveth all things and hopeth all things?” exercise it towards them. Where their conduct will admit of a favourable construction, fail not to view it on the charitable side: and where necessity compels you to condemn, still cast a veil of love over their transgressions, and hide them, as far as the rights of justice, and the good of the community will permit. If judged yourselves, “let it be a small matter to you to be judged of man’s judgment:” and be content to leave both yourselves and others to the judgment of a righteous God&&.]