by Stephen F. Olford
"Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matt. 7:1, nkjv; read also vv. 2-5).
Thought: Here is a word directly from the lips of the Master on the subject of "judging others." Constructive judgment is always healthy and helpful, whereas destructive criticism is unspiritual and harmful. The first five verses of this chapter teach us three important lessons:
We Must Be Cautious in Judging Others: "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged" (vv. 1,2). No one can understand the full significance of this statement without being made cautious in his judgment of others. How many wrong thoughts, words, and acts would be curbed if we took these words seriously!
We Must Be Correct in Judging Others: "With the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you" (v. 2). We must measure our judgment of others in terms of the measure we want to be judged ourselves. When we judge, ask: "Is it true?" "Is it fair?" "Is it necessary?" "Is it kind?" "Does the Bible support such a judgment?" "Is our attitude Christ-like?"
We Must Be Considerate in Judging Others: "Why…look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?" (v. 3). To be considerate we must first cast out the plank that is in our own eye, then we will see clearly to extract the splinter from our brother's eye. Considerate judgment always begins with self-analysis and self-adjustment.
Judge not, lest you be judged as well,
For fallen sinners we are all;
Seek first the grace of God to tell -
As humbly at the cross we fall.