This may not be the most earth-rattling, mind-blowing verse in The Bible, but when people ask my favorite Scripture, this is my immediate answer:
Mathew 7:1 – “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.”
Now, I’ve heard it said repeatedly that confession is good for the soul, so here goes: I can be “judge-y.”
I know, in a world full of turmoil, disagreements, bad hair and questions in faith, being “judge-y” could be considered low hanging fruit. But this is exactly why I chose to address the topic. I figure if this is something I catch myself doing on an almost minute by minute basis, there’s no way I’m the Lone Ranger on this bad boy.
I am an equal-opportunity judger. Friends, family, total strangers, random things I see and/or hear, I catch myself passing judgement on anything and everything. Of course, I never go out of my way to be a little snarky about what someone is wearing or the weird name they chose to give their kid. It just happens before I even realize it.
I was blissfully ignorant of this little personality quirk of mine until one day when I was in middle school. I was sitting with my mom in church not really paying attention to the sermon (something about a speck in someone’s eye and a tree trunk in yours – I think that was it). I decided to flip through my Bible to pass the time, and I came across that one little sentence that changed my entire outlook on life:
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.”
Actually, as a kid I had my grandfather’s King James Bible, it read a little different:
“Judge not, that ye be not judged” (I always liked the drama of the KJV).
Anyway, those seven little words stuck in my mind. I kept rolling them over and over, trying to decide what exactly Jesus meant by those words.
After pondering it all these years, my conclusion is that the short version is this: Jesus is the Ultimate Judge. He is the only One with the authority, wisdom and discernment to pass judgement. It’s not up to me to determine whether someone is condemned in the eyes of God. It doesn’t matter if it’s their make-up, their fashion sense, or anything else they choose or live out in their life and their Facebook profile. It ain’t my job.
In fact, I now try to take it one step further. I ask “what is it about this person or situation that I need to learn about? What’s the lesson?”
We are all as God made us, there was only one “perfect” One and He is NOT me…
A lot of the Bible can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. This one’s pretty cut and dry. Only He can pass judgment, and you are not Him.
Okay, I’m getting off the subject so let me put it back on the rails: next time you see your bestie from high school post a new profile picture with waaaaaaaay too many filters on it, smile and love them.
Please remember: If none of this makes any sense, consider the source. I am no Bible scholar. As the great philosopher Winnie the Pooh once said, “I am a bear of little brain”. Just a guy who loves Jesus and is trying to get along in a world I don’t fully understand.
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