Judging others seems to be one of the greatest pitfalls that each one of us has fallen into. We also seem to have great difficulty in guarding ourselves against it. It is so easy to find fault in other believers and other Churches, and look down on them for it.
Jesus dealt with this issue head-on, and we need to take His words seriously. He said, in Matthew 7:1-5:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it shall be measured back to you.
“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and, look, a plank is in your own eye?
“Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Notice Jesus is talking about the faults that we see in others. He said it is a tiny speck in a person’s eye, compared to the plank of self-righteousness we can have in our own eyes.
The hypocrisy that Jesus is referring to is the fact that we ALL have faults. To find fault in others, as if we have no faults of our own, is hypocrisy in God’s eyes. We need to spend more time judging ourselves, and seeing the faults in ourselves, than judging others. When we recognize our own faults and weaknesses, then we are in a far better position to humbly help others who may be dealing with the same issues we have had in our lives.
Now let me ask you this question: Have you ever heard someone point out one little fault that they see in someone’s life, or in a particular ministry, and then completely dismiss all the good that person or ministry has done, because of that one little speck?
I am sure you will agree that we have ALL been guilty of doing that! There is a solution to this, and it is found in the words of the Apostle James, when he wrote:
“Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.” James 4:10 NKJV
Yes, the solution is simple: Do not speak evil of ANYONE! We need to guard our hearts and the words of our mouths, for our mouths speak out of the abundance of what is in our hearts.
As a child, you may have heard your parents say more than once, “If you can’t say something good about someone, than don’t say anything at all.” This also applies to us as believers who are trying to live a life pleasing to God. When we run people down with our mouths, and stand in judgment over people, it grieves the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
“Let no corrupt word proceed from your mouth, but what is good for edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, AND EVIL SPEAKING, be put away from you with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32 NKJV (emphasis mine).
Can you see how important it is, from this passage of Scripture, to be careful what you say about others? God wants us to be tender-hearted toward everyone around us, and to be quick to forgive and overlook the faults of others. He wants us to be careful not to malign other believers or ministers by judging them and speaking evil about them.
As you can see from this lesson, if you really desire to live a holy life, then you need to purpose in your heart not to be quick to judge others, and to be careful not to speak evil of others. Consider this: The reason some people put other believers, or other ministers, down is to actually exalt themselves. This is self-righteousness, and that is why it is so displeasing to God. When you learn to recognize this area of pride in yourself, you will be able to shake it off and walk in love toward those around you.
You are holy!
In my next post, we will look at, “Developing the Fear of the Lord.”