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Biblical Counseling Coalition | Overcoming a Critical Spirit

Jesus has a requirement for me as I stand before Him, confessing I have missed God’s goal, I am a sinner. I don’t condemn you, He says! I forgive you, He says. I have mercy on you, He says.

Go and sin no more, He says!

I am loved. I can do that for my King Jesus.

Jesus famously said :

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

Matthew 7

So how does Jesus apply this practically to the woman caught in the act of adultery? This confounds those of us who are legalists. We are thinking, but the law says stone her.

Where is justice? Jesus says to us “I want you to show mercy and love. Have I not been merciful to you?”

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Master.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.

John 8:3–11 (NASB)

Hypocritical judgment is wrong. Jesus’ command not to judge others in Matthew 7:1 is preceded by comparisons to hypocrites (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16) and followed by a warning against hypocrisy (Matthew 7:3–5).

When we point out how others miss God’s goal (aka sin) and then we commit the same sin, we condemn ourselves.

Therefore, every one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you despise the riches of his kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Because of your hardened and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. He will repay each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; but wrath and anger to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth while obeying unrighteousness.  There will be affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For there is no favoritism with God.

Romans 2:1-11

I have to remember that Jesus has high standards. For example, Jesus doesn’t define adultery the same way the old covenant did. Jesus says it is a man’s lust for a woman.

We are guilty. We are also forgiven. That is very good news.