Christian Relationships (Mat. 7:1-12)

Publié le 6 février 2021 dans Traductions

Sermon by Pastor Vincent Bourrel

Introduction

Jesus’ saying « Do not judge » seems fashionable today. Our society abhors any form of moral judgment, any behavioral assessment. At school we try to replace the grades with colors or a + or a smiley face. The fashion in raising children is to let them do what they want; they decide if they are tired and whether they should go to bed or not, they eat when they want and what they want. Our society wants to be very tolerant, very morally permissive. Seems like the only thing that is immoral and bad about our society is to pass a moral judgment on it.

Why does this idea of ​​not judging find a certain echo in our hearts?…

I believe that, on the one hand, we would like there to be no judgment because deep down we know we are guilty of certain things and we don’t want to be condemned. On the other hand, we want judgment because we have been the victim of certain injustices and we would like them to be repaired.

I won’t keep you in suspense. Jesus says here and throughout chapter 7 that there will be judgment. v.2 “you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”. So there will be judgment. And basically it relieves us, knowing that there is perfect justice in the end, that every man, woman (powerful or miserable) will appear before God, the just Judge. That must have an influence on our way of living here below. And especially in our relationships with each other.  And with that in mind Jesus said « Do not judge ».

Let’s stop criticizing

Does this mean that we should no longer exercise our critical faculties towards others, close our eyes to what we know to be wrong? By renouncing all reproach, all correction, by accepting truth and lies in the same way… NO. God created us in his own image, capable of making good judgments. In v. 6 he commands us not to give holy things to dogs or pearls to swine which prompts us to exercise judgment on holy things and those which are not and also on certain people whose behavior seems bestial. In v. 15 we must beware of false prophets. So Christ asks us to pass judgment on what is true, according to his word, and what is not. And to keep away from false teachers.

I had to fill out an assessment for our trainee in the past few days, have I broken what Jesus said « don’t judge »? No.

God expects us to exercise our judgment. 1 Samuel 2 reports the bad behavior of the sons of the high priest Eli. These men Hophni and Phinehas did not know God, they took the holy things that belonged to God for themselves, they abused their authority to sleep with women who served in front of the tabernacle. Eli learns all this and takes no disciplinary action towards his sons. God said to him 2.29 « Why do you honor your sons more than me  » and God judges Eli, responsible for not having corrected his sons.  The judgment will be the premature death of those of his household and in particular his two sons who in v.34 « will die on the same day », the reason invoked by God 3.13 « For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. « .

In the New Testament God has the same expectations from his people. Paul denounces the tolerated debauchery in the Corinthian church. A man lives in sexual disorder, everyone knows it and nobody says anything 1Corinthiens 5.2-5 (delivered to Satan = excluded from the church, abandoned to his sin). « And you are swollen with pride! « That is, you are no longer in the service of God and his church, you think of yourself as the boss. You should do what God asks you to do in such a situation. 1Corinthiens 6.2-4 Paul reminds Christians that they should be able to settle disputes among themselves since they are called one day to judge angels?

As there was no judgment of evil, many men, a people, Israel and churches have been very severely reproved, chastened by the Lord!

So what does Jesus mean by “Judge not”? 

It is the illustration he gives in v. 3-5 that enlightens us.

Jesus protests against the hypocritical and accusatory attitude of demolishing others in order to appear better oneself. He does not call us to close our eyes to the actions of others, but to show humility and good judgment. He condemns hypocritical judgment that is hard on others and soft on oneself.

Why do we tend to judge this way?

It is often to protect ourselves. By being hard on others, we make it look as if we are totally foreign to this sin. And we end up believing it ourselves.

Illustration: In 2 Samuel 11, King David, who had several wives, commits adultery with the wife of one of his most faithful soldiers who was fighting for him at that very moment. The woman becomes pregnant and David orders the murder of Uriah, her husband. A year passes and David has taken the woman and child into his home, and Nathan the prophet visits him on behalf of the Lord. 2 Samuel 12.1-7

David has a strong sense of justice, but he is blind to his own condition. He has a critical mind, severe towards others. He seeks to reassure himself by condemning others.

This is the hypocritical attitude that Jesus denounces. Too often we pursue a diploma in examining other people’s sin but we don’t have junior class level when it comes to our own sin.

For example: I can criticize the theological orthodoxy of my brother’s prayer when my personal prayer life is almost non-existent. Complacency is the art of being always more disturbed by the sins of others than by my own.  Do not judge this way because « you will be judged in the same way … » v.2 Perhaps it is the judgment of others who will treat us without mercy if we have not shown mercy however Jesus also evokes God’s judgment. If we are not merciful, we show that we have not known God’s mercy.  Matthew 5.7 « Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy »

If I understood how God accepts me perfectly in Jesus Christ, I no longer need to denigrate others in order to appear better than them, neither do I need to boast, as if I had to demonstrate that I am worthy.

God is the judge

We will be judged by God, we will appear before God. And although, we as Christians are not afraid of being condemned, because Jesus Christ took our condemnation, we will be accountable to God for our administration. God is not fooled, we are not fooling him. God sees our hearts and we are accountable to Him.

John 7.24 « Judge not by appearances, but judge by righteousness » Jesus is not saying that we can never remove the speck from our brother’s eye, but not to do so until we have removed  the beam that is in our eye. v.5 « First remove the beam from your eye, and then you will see how to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. » Yes we are called to help each other in our transformation to the image of Christ, to remove the speck in our brother’s eye that prevents him from seeing clearly. The church is very valuable in this area. To do this I will first examine my own heart, recognize my own failings and struggles and be grieved by them, then I will have the attitude of a loving and gracious heart, to be at my brother’s service to help him to advance in holiness, for his good and for the glory of God and not to feel better or more superior than him.

v.6 Is an invitation to discernment. We are called to judge evil and denounce certain things. But sometimes people are unwilling to hear, so this is where we need to be discerning. You may be humble and have the right attitude but they will not listen and despise gospel truths.

Leave them, you are not their judge, God will take care of them.

We need wisdom, which certainly makes the connection with the following verses.

Let’s start loving

When we are aware of our own weakness, of the beam in our eye, we need God to take it away from us. We need God’s forgiveness, his help to change our hearts. Maybe God will use a brother or sister to do this so we will need humility and meekness to let ourselves be corrected.

To truly love others we need to see God’s love for us. You will never be patient with your brother until you see God’s immense patience with you. You will never properly deal with your brother’s sin until you see how God dealt with yours and his also on the cross.  Jesus is the perfectly righteous and perfectly loving judge. He condemned all sin with the righteous judgment of death. He offered himself and carried our condemnation out of love for us.

If God is using you to remove the speck from your brother’s eye you will need love, wisdom, humility, and meekness to do this delicate task. God is our judge and he is also our Father who loves us. He wants to give us good things. We need love, discernment, wisdom, his promise is there, God gives. Ask, seek, knock, God answers. Not because he was unaware of your needs until now or that he would finally be persuaded by your repeated requests. But because, by asking, you humbly acknowledge your need and prepare your heart to receive. John Stott said   “Prayer is the way God has chosen for His children to express their needs as a sign of their humble dependence ». There is a certain persistence suggested in this verse and a progression in intensity. Sometimes it takes this time before God to get rid of that spirit of judgment, of the irritation in our hearts, to begin to truly love the person and to be able to help him in his sanctification.

Illustration: At the start of his reign, Solomon asked God for an intelligent heart to judge his people, he felt so inexperienced and God answered him. His intelligence in bringing the truth to light and delivering justice was evidenced in the verdict he once delivered for two prostitutes who each had a baby, but one of whom died overnight. In the early morning the two women were arguing over the baby and Solomon asked that it be cut in two. But the one who was his mother objected. « She’s the mother. » The wisdom of God was in him to direct him in his judgments.  

Finally, Jesus gives us a key to judge correctly. v.12 The Golden Rule, a summary of the law and the prophets. It is much stronger and much more extensive than not doing to others what we do not want them to do to us.

We want to be loved, we want others to tell us the truth, take care of us, speak well of us, show us compassion, mercy, gentleness, forgive us our faults … help us to grow in faith. As God does with us.

Let us show this generosity of God to others.

Conclusion

In the end, only one thing can uproot hypocrisy, replace the desire to criticize with an urge to encourage, kill a spirit of judgment: humility, which comes from the grace bestowed upon us in Christ. So the next time you start to climb the steps of superiority to criticize, stop in your tracks. Remember who you are: a sinful saint, a pilgrim on his way, a beautiful work still in progress. You’re not there yet. Then come back down and put your energy into pursuing your own growth rather than looking for proof that you are better than others, uplifting people and building reputations rather than denigrating them, loving them by doing for them what you would like to be done for you because that’s what Christ did for you.