Today, when someone says, “Don’t judge me,” that basically means, they want unlimited approval of everything they do. Every thought. Every belief. Every bad decision. Every moral decision. Accept me for who I am. Approve of me, no matter what I do. Validate me, no matter how badly I perform. And if you don’t, you are mean. You are judging. You hate. Any negative feedback, anything less than 100% approval, is called judging and it is offensive and it hurts. It makes people feel bad. So be careful what you say and how you say it.
I remember when our girls were younger. One time I was sharing my dad thoughts on something one of my daughters did in school. Actually, it was what she didn’t do in school, like homework. She said, “Dad, you are making me feel bad.” I thought about it and said, “Good, that’s the point. When you do something bad, you should feel bad. That, I feel bad icky feeling, is God’s way of saying, you need to change.”
What is common today? If we have a bad feeling, that’s not a trigger to make changes any more. Today, our feelings and emotions rule. If we have a bad feeling, that means, whatever made us feel bad, is bad. If you have a bad feeling, find others, for example; who don’t do their homework, then they will validate you.
Just as a reminder; we have taught for years that our emotions are important. They are like the check engine light of your heart. Pay attention to them. Process them. They are real. However, our emotions shouldn’t rule over us or define us.
What is the, ‘Don’t judge me’ culture all about? We are making ourselves gods. Truth and morality is inside us. Truth and morality is not outside of us. We decide what is right and wrong. God is irrelevant. Scripture is irrelevant. Moral standards of holiness are irrelevant. Church is irrelevant. What matters is how I feel. I am truth. I am god. Anything that makes me feel bad is bad.
What does scripture say?
Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! MSG Proverbs 3:7-8
Look at our culture. Look at how so many good people are dealing with so much pain and confusion. Do you think maybe, this explains why we have so many great young kids feeling negative emotions, depression and confusion? When you believe you are god and there is no truth outside of you, it leads to massive confusion and depression. When you believe you don’t know it all, when truth is outside of you and you search for it by running to God, it brings health and life.
So, our culture says, “Don’t judge me.” And anyone who has been around church knows that Jesus said,
“Do not judge others.” Good News Translation [GNT] Matthew 7:1
That’s what we talk about today. We are walking through the Sermon on the Mount this summer. And it came with a warning. Jesus says some crazy stuff. Stuff like, it’s better to cut your hand off than go to hell. You are spiritually blessed when you lose what is dearest to you. Love your enemy. Store your treasures in heaven. It’s almost like Jesus is speaking a foreign language.
Truth is, Jesus is speaking a foreign language. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is introducing God’s kingdom to us. Our kingdom and His kingdom are in complete conflict with each other. As we work through this sermon verse by verse, it can really rattle you. Part 1 of this sermon was what it looks like if our hearts are transformed. Everything is different. Our understanding what it means to be blessed changes, how we live out the law changes and how we live with others changes. Part 2 is about how to have a real, authentic relationship with God. Jesus talked about prayer, giving, fasting, money and worry. Part 3 is what we walk into today. In this part, Jesus talks about, how we treat others. Let’s read it.
1 “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, 2 for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others. 3 Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? 4 How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,’ when you have a log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs – they will only turn and attack you. Do not throw your pearls in front of pigs – they will only trample them underfoot. Good News Translation [GNT] Matthew 7:1-6
To understand what Jesus is saying, we need to understand who Jesus is talking to and the context. Jesus just left Matthew 6 and He addressed how fake the religious people where. They were fake in giving, praying and fasting. They were greedy in their view of money. They lacked faith and trust because of their fear and worry of tomorrow. Jesus continues to move into Matthew 7 and is telling the religious; you are awful in how you are treating people. You are hypocrites.
How? They were putting people down while they were building themselves up and feeling a sense of pride. They made others feel awful while they praised themselves. The standard they used to judge others was high but the standard they judged themselves with, was low. They were comfortable being arrogant and critical. They were okay with weighing and measuring others. An example of this is in John 8
3 The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery, and they made her stand before them all. 4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5 In our Law Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death. Now, what do you say?” 6 They said this to trap Jesus, so that they could accuse him. But he bent over and wrote on the ground with his finger. 7 As they stood there asking him questions, he straightened up and said to them, “Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her… 10 He straightened up and said to her, “Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she answered. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again.” GNT John 8:3-8, 10-11
They were so focused on trying to judge this young woman, they completely missed their sin of having a hard, critical, superior hearts. And notice, Jesus accepted her and loved her, but He didn’t accept her sin. He didn’t say, feel free to continue living in adultery. Jesus was saying, I forgive you, now stop sinning.
That’s why Jesus said vs. 1: Do not judge others. He meant, don’t be so quick to hold people to a standard that you don’t hold yourself to. If God has transformed your heart, if you have experienced His grace, you wouldn’t treat people in this arrogant way. What you would do is this; view people through a different lens. You would put yourself in their shoes. You wouldn’t act superior. You wouldn’t view yourself as if you are above others.
Do you see the context? ‘Do not judge others’ meant, don’t be a hypocrite in how you treat others.
If someone took this out of context, what would they say? Jesus said you can’t judge me. I expect unlimited approval of everything they do. Every thought. Every belief. Every bad decision. Every moral decision. Accept me for who I am. Approve of me, no matter what I do. Validate me, no matter how badly I perform. And if you don’t, you are mean. You are judging. You hate. Any negative feedback, anything less than 100% approval, is called judging and it is offensive and it hurts.
#1. Jesus did not mean, you can’t have a rule at home, in school, or in the community.
4 The policeman is sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for he will have you punished. He is sent by God for that very purpose. 5 Obey the laws, then, for two reasons: first, to keep from being punished, and second, just because you know you should. TLB Romans 13:4-5
Break a rule and that means what? Judgement. You do bad things, you will be judged. What we are seeing in many homes is a miss understanding if Matthew 7. I child behaves terribly. The parents try to hold them accountable. The child says, ‘You can’t judge me, you are making me feel bad.’ Then the parent is concerned because they want to hold them accountable but not crush their child’s heart.
Let’s be clear; Jesus did not mean, you can’t have rules.
#2. Jesus did not mean, you can’t have a thought, an opinion and share it. Paul told Timothy the following.
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work-which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. NIV 1 Timothy 1:3-7
Timothy was told directly to address people who were not telling the truth. Was that hateful? No, Paul said that’s love. If you love someone, you will tell them if what they are doing is outside of what scripture says.
Jesus did not mean, you can’t have a thought, an opinion and share it.
#3. Jesus did not mean, church can’t have moral teaching on holiness. Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthian church, let’s read some of it.
1 I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you, something so evil that even the pagans don’t do it. I am told that you have a man in your church who is living in sin with his father’s wife. 2 And you are so proud of yourselves! Why aren’t you mourning in sorrow and shame? And why haven’t you removed this man from your fellowship?
3 Even though I am not there with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit. Concerning the one who has done this, I have already passed judgment 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus. You are to call a meeting of the church, and I will be there in spirit, and the power of the Lord Jesus will be with you as you meet. 5 Then you must cast this man out of the church and into Satan’s hands, so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved when the Lord returns. NLT 1 Corinthians 5:1-5
Paul judged someone walking in sin. Actually, Paul was surprised that the people around this person didn’t say something sooner.
When Jesus said, ‘Do not judge others,’ Do you see the context? ‘Do not judge others’ meant, don’t be a hypocrite in how you treat others, don’t put others down to make yourself look good. That doesn’t mean you can’t have rules. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a thought or opinion. That doesn’t mean the church can’t have a moral teaching on holiness.
Why shouldn’t we be critical, arrogant and judgy? Jesus continued.
…for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others. Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,’ when you have a log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Two reasons really. First, the standard you use to judge, God will hold you to that standard. Secondly, because you have heart work to do. Before you point the finger at someone else, before you point out their flaws and it increases your pride, you better start with yourself and do a heart check on you. Don’t be a hypocrite in how you treat others.
Then Jesus says the most interesting thing.
Do not give what is holy to dogs – they will only turn and attack you. Do not throw your pearls in front of pigs – they will only trample them underfoot.
Most people think, this means, don’t waste your time on trying to correct someone who has such a hard, selfish heart, they will reject God.
How do we close this talk down? I took a long time explaining the simple words from Jesus that can be completely misunderstood. The main point I want you to pull from this is to understand how to treat people out of love and humility that serves and builds them up. We don’t ever treat someone from the view point that we are better, more superior and walk with a sense of pride. That doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t correct and hold your kids accountable. Or have an opinion. Or the local church shouldn’t talk about God’s holy standards.
The questions I would leave you with.
When people are around you, do they feel like you weigh and measure them which makes them feel like they are walking on egg shells? If you don’t know, ask others. Chances are, if you are filled with pride, you don’t see it.
Do you wrestle with balancing judgement with love and grace? With people, kids, friends? Chances are you have messy relationships and you will have to pray about how you can love the person like Jesus did and yet not accept the sin, like Jesus did.
When people are around you, do they feel loved, accepted and encouraged?
Lastly, are you that person Who says, ‘Don’t judge me’? You want unlimited approval of everything that you do. Every thought. Every belief. Every bad decision. Every moral decision. You want others to accept and approve you, no matter what you do? Or validate you, no matter how badly you perform.
Be careful, you are not god. Truth is not in you, truth is only in God.