Some people struggle with the idea of observing without judgement. Some people have difficulty with the execution of such an idea, as they have cultivated a habit of judging and are somewhat attached to it, somewhat invested in it. Some people reject the very premise of such an idea, suggesting judgment is a necessity for survival. But those same people usually affirm the teaching of Jesus, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1, New International Version)
I have previously mentioned the Matthew Henry Commentary in this space. Henry wrote that there are people whose job it is to judge (rulers, authorities, etc.) and Jesus didn’t come to abolish those jobs. There was another occasion when Jesus told his disciples they would one day judge the twelve tribes of Israel, but that day is in a redeemed future. To judge someone is to presume an authority I don’t have.
To judge someone is to declare consent to be judged according to the same standard by which I have judged someone. Some people have not considered that consequence to be the case.
One gentleman I spoke with conjectured that, other things being equal, we tend to judge the people who we consider to be least like us.
After some pondering, I consider the command “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” to be a particular instance of the command “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31, New International Version). The command “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” could also be considered as a special case of “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31, New International Version)
Could it be that this command “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” is a trickier command to keep than it looks? Could it be that we really do love our neighbor as ourselves, but we have a certain degree of self-hatred, for we know we’ve fallen short? Could it be we would like to judge others, so we don’t seem so bad by comparison?
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