Drinking Deeply

Friday, October 28, 2005 at 1:19 AM

Judge lest ye be judged (2)

So I haven't had the time to post other thoughts so I thought I might just summarize my thoughts on Matthew 7 before moving on, some because some people might be too lazy to read the articles, some because I think Frank's comment was insightful where he said:

" And sometimes we don't even need to do the judging... usually scripture does a pretty good job of that."

I think this is an important thing to notice. In fact, we never need to do the judging. It is God who is judge. We are merely vessels through which He shares His judgments in granting us illumination of Scripture to convict us, and to share with those around us. Scripture does a complete job of judging us and finding us guilty. We read, and if God opens our eyes, we find ourselves condemned of all the law claims. We can also read, and if we so choose, we can find everyone else guilty as well. This is why Jesus talks about judgment.

In context, Matthew 7 comes right after Jesus' words on how we've committed adultery in our hearts, we've committed murder in our hearts. The truth is, to God, we've all broken the law, and are all under condemnation. Thus Jesus isn't saying "don't judge people" in a universal sense simply because he has just finished quite possibly the most judgmental section of the Sermon on the Mount. All have fallen short!

Instead, if we look at the context, we see that Jesus is speaking against hypocrisy in judging. He is actually answering the possible question "well, if we're all guilty, how are we to treat other people? How are we to judge?"

The answer is fairly clear from the text: We are to judge only after judging ourselves. We are to judge only after inspecting ourselves, because we know that the same Law that we use to judge others, is capable, and in fact, used, to judge us.

This is why Jesus says: "3Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? 5You 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."

Verse 5 is important: first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's. We judge ourselves first, and this will allow us to see all the more clearly to rebuke and correct (with grace as always) when necessary.

A few caveats about this:

1) One does not need to be perfect before rebuking someone. A rebuke from a murderer, is still, (if biblical), binding upon our consciences. The purpose of the "judge self first" idea, is that often we cannot put together a biblical rebuke if we are being hypocritical. But that doesn't mean it never happens. It is rare, but not impossible. Plus we still have the whole "God uses broken jars of clay" idea, where God uses us as His tools, even though we are sinful and broken. Sometimes that tool involves godly and gracefilled rebuke.

2) When rebuking someone, we must always keep in mind the Law-Gospel dichotomy. With the Law comes death, and without the grace that is extended through the Gospel, we are doing those we are rebuking a disservice.

3) Though oftentimes it is necessary to present the rebuke in kinder terms/tone, the force of the Gospel should never be diminished. If a person is offended by the Gospel, then they are offended by the Gospel. If they are offended by me, however, then I've done them a grave disservice and should be rebuked in turn.

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