Monday, March 8, 2010

Matthew 7:1

When you saw the title,did you immediately know what Bible verse it referenced? Perhaps not by the citation, but studies say this is the #1 verse best known by NON-Christians. And they frequently quote it to people who claim to be Christians.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

I confess I've had a lot of trouble with the "judgmental tongue" in my life. Purely from a position of insecurity, I have often evaluated others' actions, inactions, words, accomplishments, etc. from my own selfish perspective. Again though, God's sense of humor has helped me start to curb this.

He gave me children. It is SO, SO tempting when you have children to measure them against their peers. But as soon as they start talking, they start repeating things they've heard at home and in the car. They usually do this at the most embarrassing time and place possible. I can't tell you how many times I've been convicted by my children saying something judgmental and ugly - and me knowing that I set that poor example.

We all want our child to be the one the teacher likes best, or thinks is smartest. My daughter had a teacher a few years back who was terrible. Children whose parents attended the 'right' church and professed the 'correct' theology were favored. Children who asked a lot of searching questions (like mine) were troublemakers. It was an excruciatingly difficult year. We tried talking to the teacher one on one, and speaking with the administration, but nothing changed. When the time came for our second child to move up into this teacher's class, I told my husband I didn't think I could take another year with that teacher. He, very gently but very truthfully said, "no, and neither can our son. The way you've spoken about her here at home has destroyed any hope that he would have respect enough for her to do well in her class."  OUCH! I HATED TO HEAR THAT! And I was really angry because I knew he felt the same way about this woman's teaching. But after I thought about it, I remembered that throughout it all, he had never agreed with me about her in front of the kids and had never joined in the indictment.

So, now when we don't care for a teacher's approach we discuss it privately, behind closed doors. And we pray. And if absolutely necessary, we go to the administration. (An easier thing to do now that they're in public school and there's more than one teacher per grade.)

Matthew 7:3-5 says, "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?  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, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Why do non-Christians accuse us with the "judge not" phrase? Because it is very easy to do. We are humans, struggling with our sin nature just like anyone else. The difference though is that we are FORGIVEN and we have a hope of moving towards being more Christ-like and less judgmental. As we mature in our relationship with the Lord and start to care more about HIS reputation than our insecurities, perhaps we will allow his gentle hand over our mouths to stay there.

Lord, help me see those annoying people you place in my path as people that you love just as much as you love me. Give me your glasses today to see with compassion. Help me to not judge, but just love.

Added on later:  I love this song.  To look into my judge's face and see a Savior there...


Mary said...

Another one for the frig...and the computer monitor!

quilly said...

Of course from your example I am aware that you know this verse isn't about withholding judgment. It is about judging unfairly or harming someone's reputation. The whole point of this verse is that we, as Christians, will be judged with the same compassion we show to others.

Amoeba is forever reminding me of this -- especially if he thinks I have made a judgment or drawn conclusions on too little evidence.