The discussion around judging others, often distilled into “judge not, that you be not judged,” is frequently misunderstood when taken out of context. Let’s delve into what Jesus is truly teaching in Matthew 7:

Contextual Understanding of “Judge Not”

  1. Misconceptions and True Meaning:
    When Jesus says “judge not,” He isn’t advocating for moral relativism or tolerance of sin. Instead, He warns against hypocritical judgment—condemning others for faults while ignoring our own. This is emphasized by the metaphor of unjust weights and measures, where we use different standards for ourselves and others.
  2. Fair Judgment:
    Jesus teaches that the measure we use to judge others will be used against us. If we harshly criticize others for their shortcomings while excusing our own, we act unjustly. God, who sees all hearts, will judge us with the same standard we apply to others.

Jesus as Judge and Savior

  1. Final Judgment:
    Jesus reveals His authority as Judge, not just instructing but stating that many who claim religious activity will not enter the Kingdom if they lack true obedience and relationship with Him.
  2. Call to Obedience:
    Entering the Kingdom isn’t about mere religious acts but aligning our lives with God’s will—doing His will, not just professing faith outwardly. This underscores the need for genuine repentance and submission to Jesus’ lordship.
  3. Hope in Christ:
    Despite the condemnation of sin, Jesus offers hope through His sacrificial death on the cross. He who lived sinlessly offers righteousness to those who trust in Him, becoming their advocate before the Father, interceding on their behalf.

Conclusion

Matthew 7 isn’t a prohibition against all judgment but a call to humble, fair judgment. It exposes our need for a Savior and highlights Jesus’ role as both Judge and Redeemer. Embracing His righteousness and grace transforms us from self-righteousness to humble recipients of His mercy, enabling us to live as His disciples in truth and love.