“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
I Don’t Judge You, You Dog!
If we are not to judge one another, how can Jesus say not to give things to dogs and pigs? Dogs were unclean animals that scavenged in the ancient garbage and could spread sickness and become vicious. Pigs were unclean animals that might even feast on rotting flesh. When angered wild pigs would sometimes kill small children. If we are never to judge, how will we decide when someone is a dog or pig?
The key is the difference between discernment and condemnation. To condemn anyone is not really a disciple’s job. To judge in that sense is off limits. However, we are to discern. The problem with much of our discernment is that it is skewed by a desire to deflect from ourselves or elevate ourselves above others. This is why Jesus talks of a plank or beam being lodged in someone’s eye. We should pause and question our motives in discernment. Do we really want to condemn? Are we free from the sin we have identified in others. I know some people who hate bossiness, yet they do not see how bossy they are. I know of others who police sexual sin with a passion, but deny their own innuendo and obsession with sex in a suppressive way. It is not that we should not deal with bossiness or sexual sin. It is that we need to stop and check our heart on the issue. Are we lovingly correcting someone or are we protecting ourselves?
People who show a pattern of rejecting truth in their lives are a waste of time and resources. This does not mean that they are less human and we should write them off as people. It just means that we should use the majority of our time and efforts on those who are appreciative. In fact, the people who are antagonistic to the gospel probably want you to leave them alone. Constantly trying to share God’s love with them isn’t as condemning as it is foolish. It is like poking a wild pig or a rabid dog with a stick and expecting them to love you in return.
So we should discern people’s actions as godly or foolish, but we should check our motives first.
- What are disciples not to do?
- How can Jesus then go on to say some people are dogs and pigs?
- What is the general rule for how to treat others?
- How would you like to be treated?
- How do you treat those closest to you? Those with whom you disagree?
2. As you explained, there is a difference between giving judgment and being discerning. We are to be discerning…as we saw over and over again in Proverbs. We must discern wisdom from foolishness.
3. Do to others what you would have them do to you.
4. With respect and compassion and grace and patience.
5. Unfortunately, it’s our family who usually has to endure the worst of us. I know I take my husband for granted. I struggle with impatience with the kids. Etc. etc.
The “do to others” principle strikes me as an important one to apply to parenting as well. In a conversation with other moms of preschoolers, one mom shared that she recently realized that her son probably shouted “no” to her so often because she shouted “no” to him so often. Our kids will treat us and others the way that we treat them. They will do as we do much more readily than they will do as we say.
This is a passage which God brought to my remembrance several times in the last two weeks. On the one hand, I realized how judgmental I often am. I was condemning (in my heart) certain friends/neighbors whom I thought were being selfish when I was struck by how I was selfishly looking for what they could bring to the table instead of how I could serve them. To top it off, several of these people proved my assertions wrong–I was both wrong about them and guilty myself.
On the other hand, I found myself in several situations where I was on the receiving end. At work I was taking a beating (figuratively) from a few regulars who thought my faith ridiculous and Christianity a hypocritical religion based on silly myths for children. I was reminded again of this passage, but this time the part about not casting our pearls before swine.
I agree that motivation for why we “judge” and whether it is truly loving the person is the key to this passage. We should not be hypocrites, but we are clearly called to be discerning and to love one another. Part of love involved gently correcting. However, we must submit ourselves first and foremost to our Heavenly Father for correction.