Judging

June 4, 2017 Matthew 7:1 – 6   Judging 

 

  I think we all have incorrectly judged someone.  I know that I have.   Ever get critical what a person has bought with food stamps?   A grocery store cashier wrote to advice columnist Ann Landers to complain that she had seen people buy birthday cakes and bags of shrimp with their food stamps.  People on welfare who treated themselves to such non-necessities were “lazy and wasteful,” the writer said. A few weeks later, Landers’ column was devoted entirely to responses to that letter.  One woman wrote, “I didn’t buy a cake, but I did buy a big bag of shrimp with food stamps.

   So, what? My husband had been working at a plant for fifteen years when it shut down. The shrimp casserole I made was for our wedding anniversary dinner and lasted three days. Perhaps the grocery clerk who criticized that woman would have a different view of life after walking a mile in my shoes.”  Another woman wrote, “I’m the woman who bought the $17 cake and paid for it with food stamps.  I thought the checkout woman in the store would burn a hole through me with her eyes.   What she didn’t know is the cake was for my little girl’s birthday.   It will be her last.  She has bone cancer and will probably be gone within six to eight months.” You never know what other people are dealing with.  — Terrie Williams, The Personal Touch (Warner, 1994)

    Jesus said Do not judge, or you too will be judged.   For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  I don’t know what you think about that but that is pretty scary to me.  I do not want to be judged as harsh as I have judged.  I am glad he is the judge.  Jesus said do not judge.  James 4 tells us there is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.  But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?     The bible does tell us to judge with the mind of Jesus.   The problem is that we judge and are critical and do not base it on scripture. We judge and do not know all the details.    Or we judge so much we do not pray.  Instead of being critical of that person at work or that driver that just cut you off pray for them.  Don’t let a judgmental spirit take your joy away. 

    Word Pictures by Baker of this verse writes judge not.  The habit of sharp, unjust criticism.  It means to separate, distinguish, discriminate.  That is necessary, but prejudice (pre-Judgment) is unfair captious (meaning quick to find fault) criticism.    The Greek word is called krino and in the Strong’s Concordance it means to distinguish, decide, condemn, punish- avenge, conclude, damn, decree, determine, esteem sue at the law, call to question, sentence to and judge.  The same Greek word is used 11 times in John.  The word judge, judges, judgment and etc. is used over 700 times in the bible and I want to cover every verse today.  Ha.  Vines Expository Dictionary wrote primarily denotes to separate, select, choose hence to judge pronounce judgment.  An example vines writes is found in Matthew 7:1 to assume to office of a judge.  Jesus said basically don’t do it.   Do not set yourself up as a judge.   It seems that people like to be critical.   

    I think some people think they are righteous because of their thoughts about others and life.  They feel they are correctly judging the situation.  They believe they have the answer.  They think I know the truth and those other guys are wrong and I am right.  I would say that being judgmental does not make you righteous. Jesus said judge not.  Being critical does not make you right.  Being judgmental does not make a person holy.   Only God is right.  If there is pride involved that does not make us righteous.  We can walk in a mountain of pride.

   If a person walks in a mountain of pride because they think they have the answers they are wrong.  Pride does not bring person close to Jesus.  Hungering and thirsting after righteousness makes me righteous.  Being in Jesus presence makes me Christ like.  When I am connected to God to Jesus to the spirit then I am right.  When I am critical I am not right.   It is not so much the other person who is wrong which they could be wrong but certainly I am wrong.  Can we all see our need to be close to Jesus today.  We need to pray Lord show me my sin.   Convict me of my sin and not gloat in what someone else is doing or not doing.  Paul said at one point I do not even judge myself.  In places Paul wrote the church has to judge.  I get a sense of what Paul is saying here.  Only God correctly sees all things.  Only God can really judge.  Spouses be careful of being critical of each other.  In Galatians 5 we read if you keep on biting and devouring each other watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 

    JoHannah Reardon writes When our children were young, my husband and I decided we wouldn’t watch R-rated movies. We made this decision in good conscience and never regretted it.  I found, however, that it made me feel judgmental toward other parents who watched R-rated movies.  I began to feel they weren’t fully committed to Christ because they watched things I’d decided not to watch.  I realize how ridiculous it is to judge someone’s relationship with God by what movies he or she watches, but my evaluation was so subtle at the time.

    As I made this judgment, I never thought about my own sin or all the things the person I was judging was doing right.   Instead, I focused on this one thing I thought they were doing wrong.  Being a Pharisee is so easy.  It’s great to make rules to guide our own behavior, but when we extend those rules to everyone around us, we’re in danger of becoming like the Pharisees, whom Jesus denounced as hypocrites.  — JoHannah Reardon, in newsletter.  ChristianBibleStudies.comThat is not to say you never address sin in another person.  If we want to be Christ like we will accept correction. That is very hard to accept criticism and I am not very good at that.   I guess I am too insecure or immature.   Iron sharpens iron.  God allows people to grate on us to perfect us.  There are ways to correct people and there are ways not to correct people.  Galatians 6 tells us to do it gently.  Bear their burden. 

    Most of the Pharisees never came to Jesus.  They thought they had all the answers.  Unfortunately, they could not see their need.  They could easily judge others but not themselves.   In Luke 18 Jesus shares this parable.  To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.    The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.   I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’   “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’   “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.   For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  Don’t walk in pride. God hates pride Proverbs chapter 6.  In fact, pride is an abomination.  

    I think we are in danger when we start to think thank God, I am not like so and so.  I think we are in danger and in sin when we start thinking about how good we are.  Look at all the stuff I have done.  Look at all the things that I am not doing.  I am a pretty good guy.  We should not be consumed about others evil.   They will stand before God and give an account one day.   A person with a critical spirit typically is thinking and pointing how good and right they are and that they are better and smarter than those guys over there.   That kind of stuff is divisive.  It is a lot more fun to walk in Jesus presence and experience him.    It is better to do that than be critical, judgmental and negative about others.  I think we can spend more time judging than praying.   Pray for that guy that cut you off.  Pray for those that you think are wrong.  Instead of being critical or judgmental pray.  We are called into fellowship with Jesus.  Jesus wants to walk with us.  Jesus wants us to enjoy him and not waste our life on what someone is doing or not doing.

    Scripture says if we would judge ourselves we would not be judged.  Jesus said in this passage if you want to correct someone else make sure your life is not worse than the person you are correcting.  Our job is not to be a junior Holy Spirit.  Jesus why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and neglect the log in your eye.  We become blind to our sin and our issues and anything in some one else’s eye becomes all we can see.  Spouses need to be careful of that.   I remember talking to someone once I do not remember who but they said they thought they were doing most of the work.  They sat down and talked about it with the other person and more light was brought on the situation.  They were wrong in their judgment.  They did not see things correctly.   Sometimes we just see things with our own slant.  In Acts the widows were saying they were not getting treated the same as others.  We can easily see or think we are on the short end of things. 

   This is a pretty interesting illustration.  A woman is beautiful — or not — depending on who she’s with. That’s according to psychologists Sara Gutierres and Douglas Kenrick of Arizona State University, who have studied the phenomenon of beauty for the past twenty years.  We judge both our own and other people’s attractiveness based on the social situation we are in, research shows.  If a woman of average beauty enters a room of extremely beautiful women, she will be perceived as less attractive than she actually is.   If the same woman enters a room of unattractive women, she will be perceived as more attractive than she actually is. The same applies for men.

     The researchers found that this contrast effect influences many women to devalue themselves: “Women who are surrounded by other attractive women — whether in the flesh, in films, or in photographs — rate themselves as less satisfied with their attractiveness and less desirable as a marriage partner.” For the overwhelming majority of women who don’t meet these impossible standards, multimillion-dollar industries are eager to help improve their appearance.  The effects on men are also damaging.  The researchers note that “under a constant barrage of media images of beautiful women, these guys have an expectation of attractiveness that is unusually high — and that makes the people around them, in whom they might really be interested, seem lackluster, even if they are quite good-looking.”  — Michael Levine (with Hara E. Morano), “Why I Hate Beauty,” Psychology Today (July – August 2001

    We judge all the time.   We need to be careful about it.   Some of it is natural.  You can’t drive a car without making some decisions.  Somethings are wrong and we they need to be stated as wrong.  God will judge someday.  Those that rob, murder, and rape will be judged.  If they are Christians their works will be judged.  Those that do not receive Jesus will be punished in hell according to what Jesus said.  God is the judge. 

    Jesus said in John 5 I judge as I hear.  You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one.  But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.   By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.  God sent his son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world may be saved John 3.  In John 12 Jesus said   I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.   “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.  In Luke 12 someone ask Jesus to make his brother to divide the inheritance with him and Jesus said to him who appointed me a judge over you?  Then he warned them about greed.  Jesus did not get involved.  Was their injustice.  Probably.  The world is full of injustice.   I tell you there is such pain over inheritances.  I have seen the ugliness of it.  People are greedy.  We all want our share. 

    There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.   For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.  It seems to me that Jesus was very careful about judging.  Shouldn’t we be careful about judging others?   He said I did not come to judge.   Seems like if anyone could judge it would be Jesus.  Some people are around just to judge.  Some people are sharp and critical.  By the way the word critic comes from this Greek word used in Matthew 7 and used in John.  In I Corinthians 2 we read that the spiritual man makes judgments about all things.  And scripture says we have the mind of Jesus.  When Jesus was in the flesh he made judgments as the Father spoke to him.  We can only make good judgments as we are directed by the Spirit of God. 

     Long before Sebastian Junger wrote The Perfect Storm, he decided to hitchhike across the country. He writes of what took place while making his way through the aftermath of a blizzard in Gillette, Wyoming: After two or three hours, I saw a man working his way toward me along the on-ramp from town.  He wore filthy canvas coveralls and carried a black lunchbox, and as he got closer I could see that his hair was matted in a way that occurs only after months on the skids.   I put my hand on the pepper spray in my pocket and turned to face him. “You been out here long?” he asked.   I nodded.

“Where you headed?”  “California.”  “Warm out there.” “Yup.” “You got enough food?”  I thought about this. Clearly, he didn’t have any, and if I admitted that I did, he’d ask for some. That would mean opening my backpack and revealing all my expensive camping gear.  I felt alone and ripe for pillage, and I just didn’t want that.  “I got some cheese,” I said.

“You won’t make it to California with just a little cheese,” he said.  “You’ll starve.”  At first, I didn’t understand.  What was he saying, exactly?   I kept my hand on the pepper spray.  

     “Believe me,” he said, “I know. Listen, I’m living in a car back in town, and every day I walk out to the mine to see if they need me. Today they don’t, so I won’t be needing this lunch of mine.”  I began to sag with understanding.  In his world, whatever you have in your bag is all you’ve got, and he knew “a little cheese” would never get me to California. “I’m fine, really,” I said. “I don’t need your lunch.”  He shook his head and opened his box.  It was a typical church meal — a bologna sandwich, an apple, and a bag of chips — and I kept protesting, but he wouldn’t hear of it.  I finally took his lunch and watched him walk toward town.  I learned a lot of things in college. I learned things in Europe and in Mexico and in my hometown of Belmont, Massachusetts. But I had to stand out there on that frozen piece of interstate to learn generosity from a homeless man.   — Sebastian Junger, “Welcome Stranger,” National Geographic Adventure (June 2006)