Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 7:1-6

If there is a passage that has often been misunderstood by many Christians, it is Jesus' first three words in chapter 7 of the 'Sermon on the Mount' where He says: "Do not judge." Why is this too often misunderstood? Because many well-meaning Christians think that we are not to exercise any critical judgment or suspend our critical faculties; nothing short of saying that Christlikeness is equated with an all-accepting blindness. In a world where a high premium is placed on the individual's opinion from politics, fashion, fine dining, arts, culture, etc., it idolizes the dogmatic as the authority on the subject! However, when the subject of morality is brought up, there's always a revolt from many quarters as tempers flare and the media frenzy capitalizes on it. The recent comment of a Christian businessman regarding his position on marriage drew a lot of ire not just from those who supported same-sex marriage but from politicians who didn't want his fast food chain to enter their city. They accused him of being a "bigot," "judgmental," and frankly, I wouldn't be at all surprised if somebody quoted these words of Jesus and leveled it against Him.

    But is this what our Lord meant? What Jesus is against is the hypercritical, condemning spirit that delights in criticizing others for its own sake. They are those who relishes in reading people's motives behind their actions. They major in the minors and take no thought to the essentials. They are like the Pharisees who instead of rejoicing that someone gets healed, grumbles at the fact that Jesus healed on a Sabbath! They are the ones who will fight for tradition and decorum instead of what the Word of God says. As someone said, "We set the standard and tone for our own final judgment by our judgmental conduct in life. And we prove by our judging of others that we know what is right. So if we do not do what is right we condemn ourselves."

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