Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Judging others is self-condemnation (Matt. 7:1-5) - Lazar Puhalo

Judging others is self-condemnation. 
Seek after the Light and find life. 

MATTHEW 7:1-5: 
Why are we equally judged when we judge others?
"Do not judge or you will be judged; for you will be judged by the same judgment with which you judge others; and it will be measured out to you with the same measure you have used" (Mt. 7:1-2).
If we judge others, we confess that we have a complete knowledge of truth and righteousness and can readily discern them. Nevertheless, not one of us actually fulfils righteousness and perfection in our own lives; thus we stand condemned by our own judgement, for the Saviour says elsewhere, "If you could not see, you would have no sin; but now you say, `we see;' therefore your sin abides."

To judge, we must see sin and failings in our neighbour. Since we can see sin and unrighteousness clearly enough to judge it in others, we confess that we have perfect knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood. Since we can see these things so clearly in our neighbours, we have no excuse in our own sins, and no hope of hiding behind ignorance and oversight in our own unrighteous deeds and thoughts. If we "see" so clearly, we are obliged to "fulfil" perfectly.

The moment we see the sins of another and judge them, we have stripped ourselves of all excuse and refuge. Our own judgment deprives us of all defence.

Since we ourselves, in judging, have set the standard of judgment, we must always be judged by our own standard. When we measure out condemnation to our neighbour, it is only reasonable that the same measure be used for us, and we cannot complain, since we ourselves have established the measure.

Not all judgment is wicked, however, nor does every measure come of a prideful heart. There is an evil judgment which seeks condemnation, and there is a loving judgment which seeks to help and uphold our neighbour, as Apostle Paul says, "Encourage one another daily so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (Hb.3:13). The judgment of condemnation requires a hypocritical self-righteousness, while a loving judgment requires a humble, repentant awareness of one's own bondage. This is precisely what our Saviour means when He says:
"Why do you see the splinter in your brother's eye, but pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Here, let me remove the splinter from your eye,' while you leave the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first remove the log from your own eye, then you will be able to see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye" (Mt.7:3-5).
Here, you see, there is no condemnation of our neighbour. We confess that we see the splinter in his eye precisely because we are aware of the log in our own; we seek to help remove his splinter because we know the pain of our log and wish to spare him. We seek to help our neighbour because we know how much we need his help in return. Our own illness does not prevent us from reaching out a loving hand to others who are also ill and we can comfort them only because we know the pain of the same illness. 

If you measure out self-righteous condemnation to others, you may expect a truly righteous condemnation in return; if you measure out love, understanding, consolation and forgiveness from a humble heart, then God, seeing your sins, will measure out the same measure to you, for He says through His prophet, "Cast thy bread upon the waters and after many days it will return to you," as He says, 
"Do not curse the ruler in your heart, nor condemn the rich in your private room: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice of your thoughts, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter" (Eccl.11:1; 10:20).