“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
— Matthew 7:1–2
Which describes you better: “the swift hand of judgment” or “the patient heart of grace”? If you’re like most of us, you relate better to the former. For some reason, we feel better about ourselves when we see something wrong in others.
But Jesus said, “Judge not.” Does that mean that we should never find fault with anyone? We need to see others with clear eyes, and if someone does wrong, we should lovingly identify it to help that person get back on track. But we shouldn’t make a habit of finding fault. The tense of the Greek verb used in the passage above means “do not be always, continually finding fault and judging one another.” That type of continual judgment reaps its own consequences. Take, for example, the wife who constantly reminds her husband to wipe off his shoes before entering the house or the husband who over and over harps on his wife’s driving skills. While each may succeed in getting his or her spouse to change behavior, the harsh comments will come back in a thousand different ways. “With the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” That is a divine guarantee. No one is more miserable than a henpecked spouse, except for the person heaping such harsh judgment upon him or her. People who judge like this don’t even know why they feel so miserable, but it’s because their judgment comes back to them with the same measure they used.
In his classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie writes: “Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.” Although we might not live out this philosophy on a daily basis, we can still strive for such a positive ideal.
We all make mistakes, and we all deserve judgment. But fortunately for us, Christ doesn’t judge us as harshly as we often judge each other. Christ is the friend of sinners. Instead of pointing out our faults, He took them upon Himself once and for all. He who has the right to judge says, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” He offers to take us into His family and to make us His own just as we are.
Let that truth sustain and inspire you. Remember that Christ has chosen to forgive you, not to judge you. And because of His sacrifice and example, extend the same grace to those you interact with today.