“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 7:2
Does that sound to you like God will judge me the way that I judge others?
Is that what it means?
That if I measure out wrath and condemnation, then wrath and condemnation will be measured out to me?
Because if that’s what it really means, I want to be as compassionate and gracious and non-judgmental to others as I can possibly be, so that when God judges me, that’s the way He exercises judgment on me.
I do not want to be condemnatory, insulting, and judgmental of people regarding things that I feel I understand but that they do not understand in the same way. Because I do not want God to be condemnatory, insulting and judgmental of me regarding things that He truly does understand and that I didn’t.
Truth will always be truth. Plain truth will always be plain. But when it comes to matters about which God has not specifically spoken, don’t I need to judge for myself what is right and rely on His grace … by showing it to others?
If I judge others, and do so harshly, what does that say about me? That I have the very same authority as Christ? That I have the very same understanding that God has? That I am qualified to write scripture as Paul did, or Peter, or Jude in condemnation of teachings and teachers that clearly diluted the very truth of the gospel? That I am big enough to endure God’s harsh judgment of me?
If I see my primary calling in life as one that must and should call down fire from on high upon each and every soul who does not welcome me or my viewpoints, do I do so to earn praise … or do I deserve a rebuke? Do I win souls by igniting internecine warfare? Is that what God has called me to do as my primary focus as a follower of Christ?
Whether or not one agrees with or likes the figures, The Barna Group has found that 87% of those who do not call themselves Christians perceive those who do as being judgmental. When I reinforce that perception with my behavior – especially toward other Christians – am I being winsome in spirit; attractive with the aroma of Christ in my life?
I don’t imagine that I have a reputation as a conservative Christian. But on this point, I am completely conservative. I take Jesus literally, at His word here. I think He means what He says. I believe His Spirit inspired Paul to write to Christians across Galatia: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” (6:1). I think it’s possible that the temptation he’s talking about is not so much that a spiritual person will fall into the same sin as the one he/she is trying to restore, but to fall into completely different sins of pride, self-righteousness, anger and arrogant hypocrisy.
Being found guilty of that laundry list is not how I want to be judged. By others.
Nor by God.