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How do I want to be treated? With respect. With understanding. I like to be given the benefit of the doubt.

How do you want to be treated? The same way, I’m sure.

Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize faults-unless, of course, you want the same treatment. ~Jesus

(Matthew 7:1 The Message Bible)

I do not want to be treated by others with a critical attitude. I should never be critical of others without having examined myself first. God’s goal is for me to love and not be judgmental in a hypocritical way.

Hard to do but through the power of His Spirit I can.

Here is the verse in ESV translation. I have included the whole paragraph to get it in context. The focus from Jesus is hypocritical judgement.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 7:1–5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Jesus can be very straightforward and direct. His suggestion on criticizing and judging others is to not do it if we have the same problem ourselves. Period. End of story. No other advice. In other places He elaborates why but the reason here is pretty compelling.

The issue, however, is not about judging but about hypocrisy. How can we judge if we have the same challenge in our lives? Jesus is clear, we can’t. We need to focus on our own issues and heart, not others.

The way I see it: I must admit, this is a tough one.  It is way too easy to be critical. At work, as managers, we are required to do it. At home, as parents, we feel an obligation to do it. But Jesus is clear. It is a “critical spirit” that is the problem. God’s goal for us that we leave the judging up to Him. It is simply not our job to do that.

Do I want to be judged? Do I want to be criticized? If I don’t judge, I won’t be judged.

Here is the other side of the issue. Christians must judge the explicitly sinful behavior of a professing Christian. Jesus is clear on this as are the Apostles.

Jesus said a “tree is known by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). When do the hidden sinful purposes of the heart reveal themselves? In a person’s explicitly sinful behavior. That’s why Paul didn’t even have to be present to pass judgment on a man who engaged in sexual immorality. And he explicitly instructed the Corinthian Christians to pass judgment on him too.

When we sin, our Christian brothers and sisters have an obligation to judge us. They must not condemn us, but they must, out of love, call us to repent. Such judgment is a grace, an expression of God’s kindness, and we only compound our sin if we take offense.

What it’s all about: If our sin is profoundly serious and our church determines that we must be disciplined according to Matthew 18:15–17, we must keep in mind that the purpose is to pursue our redemption not damnation. The focus is on reconciliation to God. It is not about us or our feelings.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Matthew 18:15–17

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 7:1–2). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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