Daily Thought for: 5th May
JUDGE NOT, THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED
Matthew 7. 1-5
The key exhortation in this meditation is given in the very first verse of Matthew chapter 7 -‘Judge not, that ye be not judged’. Clearly, there are times when scripture would require us to judge matters, e.g. 1 Cor. 6. 1-5. But what is referred to in our reading today is the kind of judging that is unnecessary, unkind and hypocritical. The Lord gives several reasons why we should desist from this kind of judging. First, those who judge others must expect to receive the same judgment themselves, both as to its nature and severity, v. 2. In other words, before dealing out the medicine to another, we must ask how we would like to be on the receiving end ourselves. This might cancel the judgment altogether, or at least soften the approach to be taken. Secondly, before we correct others, we must look critically at our own selves to ensure that we are not guilty of the very same offence, or even worse, vv. 3-4.
David is a prime example of both these faults, 2 Sam. 11-12. After his adultery with Bath-sheba, and the murder, by proxy, of her husband, he was so angry when the prophet Nathan told him the story about a little pet lamb. It had been stolen from its poor owner by a rich man who killed it to feed his guests. David swore that a fourfold judgment would fall upon the perpetrator. Imagine his horror when the prophet Nathan pointed his finger at him and said, ‘Thou art the man’, 2 Sam. 12. 7. Indeed, David had pronounced his own judgment. The fourfold judgment he had called down on the imaginary slayer of the little lamb was visited upon his own household, and he lost four of his family. The child born to Bath-sheba died and his sons Adonijah, Amnon and Absalom died. He received exactly the judgment he himself had given, and in the same measure. It is so easy to be judgmental of what we see in others but to excuse these selfsame things in ourselves.
Finally, to be hypercritical of others is hypocritical; as it implies that we are on a much superior spiritual plane. Therefore, in matters of personal conscience, and excluding critical doctrine, we must follow the instruction given by the apostle, ‘Let us not therefore judge one another any more’, Rom. 14. 13.