In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged”.
The reason is that the judgements we give must be the judgements we shall get. Also, the amount we measure out is the amount others will give to us.
A Little Explanation.
This chapter and verse of the bible are somehow ambiguous to understand.
The question we can ask here is “Does it mean that we do not have any power to correct and judge? What is Jesus trying to say here? What does Jesus have in mind when He tells us not to judge?
To fully understand this, we have to go to the Greek root of the word as the gospel uses today.
The word “judge” in Greek is krino. This is sometimes used as krineis. An example is in Roman 2:1 And 14:10. In today’s gospel, the word krinete is used.
Both words denote “to outrightly condemn and be judgemental of others”.
We have also krisis that Jesus uses in Luke 11:42 where He accuses the Pharisees of not being fair to justice.
These words denote judgement but the difference is that the last one somehow permits fair hearing especially in making decisions. But the first two by implication means to jump into judgment easily, to outrightly condemn, and sometimes to punish.
What the Commandment is Not.
Therefore, when Jesus says do not judge, Jesus is not saying we should not somehow make decisions, pass some sort of judgement or correct abnormalities.
This is not a licence for us to see evil and overlook it. In his writings, St. Paul does judge the Corinthian community. Also, in Galatians 2:11-13, Paul stands against Peter to the face to correct him. Saint Peter condemns Ananias and his wife Sapphira for falsehood. (Acts 5:1-11).
To explain this, Saint John Chrysostom says “Jesus is not saying we cannot correct a sinner from sinning; we have to correct him, indeed, though not as the enemy seeking revenge but, rather, as a doctor applying the cure”.
Therefore, we should make our judgment to correct, help and mend, and not to destroy the image of the person.
What Then Does Jesus Mean?
From the above little exegesis, we can see that when Jesus says “do not judge”, He means:
1.That we should not be outrightly judgemental of the other person. So, when Jesus says “do not judge’, He means we should not extremely condemn anyone. Therefore, let us not go into extreme condemnation of anyone without finding the truth.
Today, we easily come to a negative conclusion about another person and condemn them maybe because of what we hear about him or her. Instead of correcting and advising the person, we become the first to maim his/her image.
We go about carrying fake news and bad personality of the person, maiming his or her image as if we are the best.
Therefore, Jesus is telling us that before we do this, we should also know that we are not better. We also have loopholes to contend with. This is the reason He says “Remove the log in your eyes first”.
2. Secondly, when Jesus says “do not judge”, He is reminding us that we are not God to pass final judgment on any person. We are not omniscient to determine actually how a person is.
What we say of any person may be what we think. It may also be a judgement that we make because of a single mistake the person makes. It may not be truly who the person is.
Let us always know that true and final judgment belongs to the Lord. Therefore we do not have the supreme wisdom or power to condemn anyone and tell people how bad he or she is.
3. Thirdly, when Jesus says “do not judge”, He is reminding us that our function is to correct. If anyone needs to be condemned, God himself can take care of that. Only God looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).
Often we are quick to come to negative conclusions about others based on why we think they do something that we do not like.
We try as we can to know someone but what we see is only the outside. God alone sees the heart.
Do not be the first to jump into judgment. Let us not be the first to destroy a person’s image as if we are the best or we are angels. Only God can judge the hidden secrets of the heart.
Also, many of the negative things people say about others are just what they hear and they become fast to believe that.
Sometimes, they will even be the first to spread that false news. So, when Jesus says “do not judge”, He is telling us not to glory in destroying another person’s image.
4. Fourthly, When Jesus says “Do not judge”, He is saying that we should not be faultfinders. We should not find it hard to see anything good in the other person. There is something good in every person.
This is also when we are first to find something to criticize or complain about someone. It is also when we hardly say something good about him or her. Proverbs 11:12 tells us, “It is foolish to belittle a neighbour.
5.Finally, when Jesus says that we do not judge, He is reminding us of something. He is reminding us that coming to quick, hasty, negative conclusions and destroying the image of the other person is against our Christian value.
Therefore before you kill and maim the image of another person, remember that you also have a weakness. Before you destroy and judge people negatively, remember the person may be innocent of what you are saying.
So, take time and hear from the person first before you join the chorus of those whose happiness is to destroy another person’s image.
So, we judge to correct, help and mend the errors of the other person and not to commit personality murder. No one is a saint.
Jesus teaches these things so that we shall love one another and live in peace with another. This is what Christianity is all about.
May God help us to live the way He wants. May He continues to protect you from danger Amen.