Free Bible Commentary
“Matthew 7:1-12”Categories: 50 Days with Jesus
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
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Judging others (verses 1-6) – This has to be the world’s favorite, most misunderstood, most misapplied Bible passage of all time. Is Jesus teaching us that it is never appropriate to judge another human being? Yes and no. In verse 6 He warns us to use extreme caution when dealing with the “dogs” and “swine” of the world. In extreme instances we obviously need to judge the character and actions of other people before interacting with them on a spiritual level. And even in non-extreme cases, sometimes the exercise of good judgment must be used when trying to help our fellow man. Just the same, God is the only Judge that human beings will ever have to answer to. So in that respect we really should never and can never judge others. But we need to try to help make people aware of their sins so they can be prepared to face the Lord on the final Day of Judgment.
What Jesus is actually condemning here is having a judgmental disposition. God doesn’t want us to be fault finders who are always taking issue with the things that other people say and do. If we are always hypercritical, we won’t be able to avoid being hypocritical. If we continually “judge” others, we will eventually be guilty of doing the same things that we condemn them for, and even worse things. Let’s not be self-righteous pretenders. Let’s not be the kind of people that pick at other people’s minor flaws, especially when we’ve got some major spiritual defects in our own lives (verses 3-5). We all need to take an honest look in the mirror and make the necessary changes before we can effectively help other people out with their spiritual problems.
The cure for a hypercritical, judgmental disposition of heart is to apply the Golden Rule in our interactions with other people: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (verse 12). Do not retaliate when provoked. Do not give people what they deserve. Do not “go off” on others when they cross the line. Before you react, stop and think of how you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed, and then respond accordingly. That’s easy right?! Of course this will take a great deal of meekness, self-control and discipline. That is why Jesus began this sermon by teaching us to instill those underlying spiritual characteristics that are required for a citizen of the kingdom of heaven to possess with the blessed Beatitudes. Blessed are the gentle (meek), the merciful, the righteous, the peacemakers. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45). Disciples of Christ have been summoned to a much higher calling.
Please read Matthew 7:13-29 for tomorrow – Sermon on the Mount – The narrow way.
Have a wonderful day!