Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see 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,’ when there is the log 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 dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. ~Matthew 7:1-6 (ESV)
In the beginning of this final chapter of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus again announces that those who pronounce judgment on others are like actors playing hyper-critical roles. When we see these characters in movies and plays, we can recognize their duplicity but are often so entertained that we don’t stop to consider that perhaps their behavior is a reflection of our own.
Like Jesus, the apostle Paul also spoke about refusing to face judgmental attitudes. Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things (Romans 2:1).
If you’re like me, you don’t give up your opinions easily. But I have noticed when I set them aside and begin discerning what God is doing in my life and the lives of others around me, I am less judgmental and more free to love. The book of Proverbs says that the discerning sets his face toward wisdom (Proverbs 17:24a). Life in God’s kingdom is about discerning what is holy and holding fast to pearls of wisdom that come from living and loving like Jesus.
May you and I choose discernment over judgment and experience the blessings of living in God’s kingdom.