Posted by: gbake783 | July 6, 2011

Luke 6:37

A study in 2006 revealed that the most quoted Bible verse in American media is no longer John 3:16, but “Judge not and you will not be judged” (Luke 6:37; Matt. 7:1). Although the study’s finding can be variously interpreted, one point is clear: too often God’s people provide unbelievers excuses to continue in sin because of an unbiblical, censorious spirit. Visiting ladies feel sized-up when Christian women scan them up and down with appraising eyes. Young men struggling with the consequences of their sin consider seeking the counsel of a Christian co-worker until they overhear that co-worker unload a judgmental sermonette condemning similar behavior. Do believers regularly forfeit witnessing opportunities because of loose, inconsiderate words? Christians far too often assume motives, criticize character, and ignore mitigating factors. It might be fun to listen to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or whomever the conservative talk-radio host de-jour may be, but it’s hard to imagine that God is pleased when His children imitate the conservative shock-jock shtick.

True, many people use Luke 6:37/Matt. 7:1 as a club to beat back any criticism of their unbiblical lifestyle. But perhaps our response to these inappropriate uses of Luke 6:37/Matt 7:1 is a proper gauge for a judgmental heart. Do we grieve over a resolute sinner that will go so far as to use the Bible (of all things) to justify his behavior? Or do we grow frustrated that they rebuff our counsel? Do we find ourselves thinking, “If he would just listen to me?”

A few months ago a seasoned pastor gave me some advice – The church is a hospital, not a police station. He’s right. Our job is neither to judge nor to condemn. Our Heavenly Father is more than capable of filling those roles. Our lot is love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. True, believers sometimes must hold an unflinching stand against unrighteousness (1 Cor. 5:1-2; 2 Thess. 3:10). But the spirit behind that stand will either earn us a hearing or poison people against whatever we have to say.

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Responses

  1. Well said, Pastor Baker. With the way some individuals have explained Matthew 7:1, you would think that our Lord had commanded believers to engage in judging others, not to avoid it. Whenever anyone assumes the place of judge, he usurps the office of Christ with no thought of the high price He paid to merit such a right. Point me to One Whose love moved Him to suffer and die to save me from my sin and I will most willingly surrender to Him the right of absolute magistrate, for I know that I can trust such a One to be both a just and a merciful judge.

  2. I was just studying through James 4 and was reminded of the same need to relinquish judgment in vv. 11-12. Thanks, Greg!


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