Focal Passage: Matthew 7:1-12
In my lifetime the best-known Bible verse has shifted from John 3:16 to Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” I saw this trend displayed on a custom-made car plate that read, “Only God can judge me!”
No doubt many unbelievers have added Matthew 7:1 to their arsenal as a way of saying, “You can’t tell me I’m wrong.” However, the context of the verse reveals that Jesus is warning against harsh, self-righteous judgment, not calling for an end to all judgment.
Jesus tells us to take the logs out of our own eyes, so that we can see clearly to take the specks out of our brothers’ eyes. We fulfill this verse by making righteous judgments on sin according to the Bible, but we must start with our own sin!
To further clarify the necessity of righteous judgment, Jesus warns us of spiritual “dogs” and “swine.” Such people walk on the gospel and seek to destroy God’s messengers. In response to them we must take the gospel and move on.
I once tried to argue with a drunk man about the necessity of preaching the Word of God, then I remembered this verse. Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet at any house or city where the people reject the gospel (Matthew 10:14-15) as a sign of judgment upon them.
Such action provides a warning to unbelievers and allows us to spend our time taking the gospel to people who are willing to receive it.
Just as Jesus’ followers are to make right judgments about sin, they are also to make proper judgments about God’s generosity. Asking, seeking, and knocking are examples of one ultimate command: Persist in prayer! If we give good gifts to our children, how much better are God’s gifts to His children? Jesus completes this passage with the Golden Rule to remind us that just as God has been a gracious giver to us we should be the same to others.
If you think a particular form of treatment is good, others probably will too! Let us be a gift to our neighbors.