Mt 7:1 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged…” 7:7 (NLT)
Mt 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again…” 7:7 (KJV)
Why do I say this is one of the most misused and misinterpreted verses in the Bible? I’ll keep the answer as brief as I can.
1. You are expected to make certain judgments about some people.
a. The children that your children are allowed to associate with.
b. Your own associates with respect to a Christian brotherhood relationship.
c. Which translation of the Bible you prefer.
d. What church teaches doctrine that you can accept.
1. Are all the others actually wrong.
e. Does your pastor stick to that doctrine.
e. Should I report my good friend for cheating on his taxes/her schoolwork/lying to their parents.
f. What if I get home and discover I was given a nickel too much in change.
g. Finally, what about the person on trial for murder, child abuse, etc. Should we not find a way to judge their guilt or innocence.
This list could go on for a long while, but I think you can get the idea from what it does list.
So, when Jesus says, “Judge not…” what does he mean? Given the rest of the passage for context will help. That is where most of us fall down. We pick out a verse we like and fail to see how it is being used.
In Mt 1:7,
A. There is the part about being judged in the same manner with which you judge. This doesn’t suggest you should never make judgments.
B. There is the part about judging other’s failings without consideration given to your own.
C. There is the part about being hypocritical when your failings or as big or bigger that his.
All of this leads me to believe that Jesus is speaking about be being judgmental, and not merely making a flat statement to never judge another. The judgmental person will always find fault in another. In fact, he will look for those faults. At the same time he will not see his own shortcomings, and will justify them when pointed out to him. That is the very definition of ‘hypocrite.’ Jesus condemns hypocrites quite routinely.
Consider this portion of His teaching: “The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged…”, or “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: “These statements don’t suggest that you never make a judgment about someone, but rather that you not be judgmental about someone unless that is the way you wish to be treated. And you will be here on earth, as spiritually.
There is a lot more to be said about this. But I have thought it through and this is my conclusion. There will be counter-arguments. Make them, but my position is clear so I’m not inclined to debate it.