“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use.” Matthew 7:1-2 (CSB)
No statement from the Sermon on the Mount is quoted more often today than “do not judge.” What is viewed by many as a prohibition – an absolute one no less – is actually more sobering than that. Jesus is issuing a warning to his followers. To judge is to pronounce one guilty before God. This is more severe than identifying sin and inviting someone to repent (something Jesus graciously did and expects his followers to do). This is about putting ourselves in the position of God in relation to others. When we do this, we are violating the first commandment and making ourselves worthy of judgment by God.
Most of us don’t think we do this. It’s an unconscious process. But if we examine the beam in our own eye long enough, we will see it. Every time we think, “I can’t believe a Christian would do that,” or “there is no hope for him,” we are playing the role of God. We are deciding how far his mercy and grace is allowed to extend. That’s not to say we affirm or overlook the sin of others. We should always graciously invite repentance for that which God has clearly revealed as sin. More importantly, we must model repentance in all areas of our life.