(Matthew Chapter 7, Verses 1-6)
We are called to have a positive relationship with one another as brethren. In any positive relationship there is no judgement of our fellow man. At the start of this chapter Jesus points out that we are not to judge one another. The fundamental principle here is that the basis of our judgement is completely flawed for man judges according to his own perception, whereas God judges according to the heart. Man judges with only part of the facts but God judges according to the truth. Man’s judgement is clouded by a host of issues including his own limitations, biases and environment, but God looks at all things from a position of perfect knowledge and judges according to a standard based on his own perfection.
It is often said that it takes one to know one and in some measure this is what these first verses are saying. The apostle Paul spoke of this also in Romans 2:19-24 showing that in many cases those who judged others and preached about all manner of evil were actually doing the very same things themselves.
The act of judgement is not right for us to do. When we take it upon ourselves to judge another we are no longer a brother but a judge. In judging we assume a position greater than the other person and think that we are better than they are, yet we are all equal in Christ. In judging another then we assume the position of judge and the only one who has the right to judge us is God himself, so in judging we take God’s rightful position.
Furthermore, there is no-one perfect for we all suffer the same weaknesses as the rest of humanity. While the Lord is working with us and being merciful towards our faults and weaknesses, we need to be of the same mind towards our fellow brethren and show mercy towards them. We do not know at any point in time exactly which weakness a person may have that the Lord is dealing with and so it is not our position to judge. The person may have some fault we perceive and can see, but the Lord may be dealing with a deeper underlying issue that is more grave and of more importance to resolve first. The apostle John said it best in John 7:14-24 saying, “Do not judge by appearances but judge with right judgement.” Whenever you consider a matter, weigh it up not by what you think it might be from appearances but against what is right, holy and true. We are not called to judge our brethren but we do need to weigh matters and make decisions about courses of action. We may judge a deed but never judge a person for we are all beset with weaknesses and failings.
We must remember also that Jesus came to save the sinners and as Paul wrote in Romans 8:1, “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” If the Lord does not condemn us, then who are we to condemn another person through judging them? We should not even judge ourselves, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, and sometimes we are our own worst critics. We put ourselves down and condemn ourselves for some foolish thing we may have done. But when we judge and condemn ourselves we are doing something worse than the action we are condemning ourselves for. Again it is not our position to judge even ourselves for judgement rests in the hands of God.
The next section in vs. 6 gives a warning saying, “…do not throw your pearls before the swine…” There is great value and reward in Christ and the teachings that will lead us to His Kingdom. But there are many people in this world who are simply not interested and indeed are hostile to Christianity. Whenever the subject of religion arises they may ridicule, abuse, deride and belittle those who are speaking of Christianity. So not only do they fail to see the benefits, they turn and attack those who are trying to give them something of value. To these people the precious gifts of knowledge of God are as worthless as dirt. They have no concept of the value of Gods word nor any desire to know it’s value. They cannot see that it can lead to a better life now and later to eternity for they are blinded to the truth of the gospel.
Jesus said that these people would exist and he has given fair warning that if we try to give them the things of God they will reject them, in some cases violently. So what is the answer? Don’t give them your gifts. Jesus has said elsewhere that where he is there is his servant also (John 12:26) and so if He is working with these people he will have the right servant speak the right words. If these people reject his words, then their judgement is upon their own heads. Why should you continue to bang your head against the wall only to be ridiculed and have your good spoken of as evil. In the final analysis the Lord said at the very end of Revelation to, “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” (Rev 22:11) Let them alone for if the Lord is working with them he will put it upon their mind to seek, and if they reject the Lord there is nothing you can do about it.