“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)
A recent survey found that the younger generation’s perception of Christianity could be summed up in three words: Anti-homosexual, judgmental, and hypocritical. Findings like this stir up all kinds of thoughts and emotions. It may grieve you, anger you, appall or frustrate you. But regardless of how we feel about such perceptions (or whether or not they are true), as believers, we must take pause and consider these findings.
Christians have been tagged as judgmental hypocrites from the beginning, I am sure. And there will always be people who hold these views, regardless of their merit. It is not our responsibility to be the image-police of Jesus. He can handle His own reputation. It is our responsibility, however, to make sure our lives reflect His heart and His character.
We know that Jesus hates sin. So what did He mean in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “Do not judge?” It is important to have a correct understanding of the word, judge, which means, “to discriminate or to make a difference.” In other words, to judge (in this context) means to offer criticism that is unfair or unjustified. There is a difference in confronting sin and condemning a sinner. There is also a difference between preference and a biblical command. Confusing the two often will result in the type of judgment that Jesus said to avoid.
Jesus is not saying to ignore sin. He is, however, warning that the measure you use to judge others will be used on you.
Prayer: Father, please give me Your heart of compassion towards others. Teach me how to hate sin yet still love people. Show me my own sin, Lord, and give me Your grace to repent. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.