Riverside Community Church

Judging Others

Matthew 7:1-5

I beg of you and plead with you to hear these Words of Christ as if He were here Himself speaking these very words aloud while looking at you.

Why do I say that? Because He is truly here, and He absolutely speaks through His words, and surely Christ’s gaze is set upon you, the one He loves.

As I was reading this week, some of the Words from Christ Himself, I was overwhelmed and overcome by that very thought, this is Jesus speaking to me, Christ is conversing with me personally. My Saviour, my Christ, my Lord, my Redeemer speaks in these written words to me personally and to each of you. Our Teacher, our God communes and relates and speaks privately to each of us.

Let us open our spiritual eyes and ears to assuredly know Christ is among us, and that He speaks, and that we make sure to hear Him.

‘Come o Christ and awaken Your words in me.’

Jesus speaks now. Matthew 7:1-5 NIV

7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “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? 4 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? 5 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.

Don’t judge. Now you may think that this topic of judging is unrelated to the previous topics of giving, prayer and fasting in Matthew 6 but they are related by the thought contained in each of these topics, with ‘don’t be hypocritical’.  


As to giving-showing off your giving for others to see, -hypocritical.

-Don’t be like that, be seeking only God’s approval when giving to others.

As to praying-praying publicly for others to revere you,-hypocritical.

-Don’t be like that, be seeking only God’s attention when praying.

As to fasting-showing off your suffering by fasting-hypocritical.

-Don’t be like that, be solely devoted to God in your fasting.

And now, as to Judging others, Jesus says:don’t, stop it, cease from it, desist, call a halt to it, end the practice, quit judging others.

Q -why should I stop?

A -have you looked in a mirror? Are you without fault, weakness, sin or default???

For right or wrong Christians & the Christian church have a bad reputation as a bunch of judgmental hypocrites. I’ve had too many conversations with people who have been hurt by the church because of the unfair judgments and condemnation they have felt. And there are way too many people out there who have vowed to never set foot in a church because they don’t want the first thing to do with such a group.

I’d say that this passage of scripture, more than any other, is familiar to unbelievers, -DON’T JUDGE. And it is used by all sorts of people who accuse Christians of being wrongly judgmental. “How dare you say my actions, my lifestyle, my choices are sinful? Didn’t Jesus say ‘do not judge’?”

-the Pharisees were, in fact, judging Christ and finding Him inadequate, Christ was not offering the kind of ‘Kingdom’ they anticipated nor the kind of righteousness they were exhibiting.

What the Pharisees were doing, how they were behaving and even how they were thinking -well, they thought theirs was the correct way. Call it pride or arrogance or false over-confidence, Jesus took issue with it because it was hypocritical.

-it is the same way with judging others we shouldn’t be proud or arrogant about our sinless life, our perfect conduct. Rather we need to, as Jesus started His Sermon on the Mount with, be poor in Spirit.

-being poor in spirit is to be humble, it is to know one’s own sin to be very slow to cast the first stone and point out someone else’s sin.

There is an old expression that is so appropriate to Jesus’s point of ‘don’t judge’. Let me give you some background. 

-in the pioneer days here in Peterborough County people would cook their meals in a fireplace on blazing wood or coals. They would place their kettles & pots directly on the wood or on a pot stand in the fire or on a hook directly over the fire and coals.

-I’ve done this very same thing when I go camping and cook food over an open flame. Like the pioneers I’ll put a kettle for coffee and a pot over the flame to cook the food. I’m hoping no ashes get in the food but inevitably all the kettles & pots get blackened on the exterior. Really black.

-and the saying is ‘the kettle shouldn’t call the pot black’.

-it may be true that the pot is black, but the kettle shouldn’t judgmentally condemn and look down it’s nose and critically find the other pot guilty of being black. It’s black too, that’s hypocritical.

‘the kettle shouldn’t call the pot black’

Or as Jesus said, don’t judge, don’t look down on the other person with a speck in his eye because you have one too, and it’s a whopper.

I’ve heard people say that they don’t ‘believe’ in Christ because Christians are a bunch of hypocrites. To which I reply, ‘Yes, you’re right, we don’t always do what we preach, our standards sag sometimes, we don’t love others as we should all the time, sometimes we get angry when we shouldn’t and even speak unkind words and think bad thoughts.

Yes, for sure you are right, we Christians have been known to swear, lust, be proud, love money at times and fail to reach the standard for which we strive, to be like Jesus. Please forgive us.

-that’s a good way to answer someone judging you or other Christians.

-our pot is black, there is a speck in all our eyes, so be poor in spirit.

Our righteousness is of Christ and certainly not our own.

-I’m tempted to defend myself and other Christians when judged by saying to the accuser –‘well, don’t join us Mr. perfect, you’ll just mess it up.’WRONG WAY TO RESPOND. 


-in all of this, don’t judge others when they fail to hit perfection.

Don’t condemningly judge others, be very careful.

The Bible uses different words in Hebrew and Greek for judge, which are:

Judge to be a discerner. Not this one

Judge to be a sifter. Not this one

Judge a judicial position, one who executes judgment. Not this one

Judge a critic. Not this one

Judge to manifest reason. Not this one

Judge to judge afresh, to judge thoroughly. Not this one

Judge to think. Not this one

Finally, the last one:

To judge (Gr Krino)    means to judge as in Jesus words ‘don’t judge’.

-this word judge isn’t about -looking for the truth, thinking carefully or sifting information to discern what is correct.

-no, the word judge that Jesus uses in its context is to self-righteously criticize and condemn other’s actions or words with an attitude, I’m good, nothing wrong here, no speck in my eye.

Without knowing all the facts, we all make judgments about people all the time. And - really unfortunately - such judgments are all too common in the church.

How do we respond? Is this teaching of Jesus really meant to keep us from saying anything is right or wrong? Should we join our culture in buying into the new definition of “tolerance” which means accepting all opinions, thoughts, actions as equally valid?

NO! But if we’re to know when it is appropriate to judge and when it is not, let’s look at other passages in the New Testament to understand these Words of Christ more deeply.

I believe that an understanding of this issue will lead us to recognize that the Christian’s “default” stance toward others is to be one of forgiveness and mercy, not judging and condemning.

There are times when Christians are to judge and times we are not to judge.

So, when are Christians NOT to judge?

  1. Christians are not to pass judgement on people for their moral failures. 

Rom. 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

When Jesus was in the house of Simon the Pharisee and the sinful woman anointed his feet,

Simon said, "This man, if he were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." (Luke 7:39). The Pharisees, in their self-righteous arrogance, had created a special class of people called "sinners," as if they themselves were not such.

God’s way of leading people to repentance is through kindness, and patience.

So, let God be their judge. God doesn’t need our help.

Instead of passing judgment on people when they fail - Jesus clear command is that we forgive them and that we offer the same mercy that God offers us.

  1. Christians are not to judge other Christians regarding disputable matters. 

Romans 14:1-4

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

You see, our relationship to each other is horizontal - but our relationship to God is vertical. And as such, each of us answers to God as our one and only master and judge.

  1. Christians are not to judge people’s hidden motives. 

1Cor. 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

  1. Christians are not to judge unbelievers. 

1Cor. 5:12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?

1Cor. 5:13 God will judge those outside.

When are Christians to judge?

  1. Christians are to use the mind of Christ to make judgements about all things

1Cor. 2:15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, …

1Cor. 2:16 “… But we have the mind of Christ.

The spiritual man - that is - the man, woman, or child, who is filled with the Holy Spirit through their relationship with God - walks through life constantly seeking the mind of Christ for what is right and wrong. We know what is right and wrong because the Holy Spirit guides the consciences of those who are truly “spiritual”.

  1. Christians are to judge themselves. 

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, (judge yourselves).

We are to judge ourselves. To examine the things we do, say, and think, in the light of God’s word, and in the light of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

This is what I believe Jesus was getting at when he said “get the plank out of your own eye before you go around pointing out the sliver in other people’s eyes!” The focus of our judging is to be on our own actions, rather than the actions of others!

  1. The church is to judge unrepented sin among those who claim to be Christians. (1 Cor. 5:1-5)

In 1Cor. 5:1-5 someone who is claiming to be a Christian and is engaged in sexual relations with his step-mother is used as an example. Such activity clearly comes under those things that God has already spoken about. And it is wrong.

Here’s the point. There really is right and wrong. The Bible gives us clear guidance about how we are to live our lives. The 10 Commandments give clear guidance about things like stealing, worshiping idols, and coveting. There is no need for further debate about such things. God has spoken. And when people claim to be Christians and yet go against the clear law of God - discipline is necessary to bring them back into the fold. At such a time, it is our loving responsibility to do so. Always in love and with restoration, not punishment, as the goal. 

Some of the marks of an authentic Christian community are:

*mutual accountability - keeping each other on the right track when it comes to clearly delineated sin.

*forgiveness and mercy - when people in our fellowship have moral failings, and when people who are unbelievers act like unbelievers, we are to allow God to be in charge of their judgment, and we fulfill our role as dispensers of grace, mercy, forgiveness and love.

*freedom – we are allowed to disagree on disputable matters, and to allow people to form their own convictions about how they will practice their faith.

That’s what we’re all about at Riverside. And I want you to know if you’re a believer who has been beaten down by the condemnation of a church or other Christians, or if you’re an unbeliever who has been afraid to be yourself around Christians in the past, please forgive us and I hope you’ll be able to find a home here. A place where you will experience healing, growth and love through the kindness of God’s people.

I pray that I, and every person here, will contribute to creating such an authentic Christian community.

As Jesus looked at the religious situation of his day, he saw that judging others had become a great religious problem. The Pharisees and scribes sat in the place of the critic. They were quick to pass judgment on those who didn’t live up to their expectations. 

As Jesus looks at you what does He see, a judge or a dispenser of His forgiveness or grace?

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