To Judge or Not to Judge?
Do you think this culture understands Matthew 7 as well as they pretend? Many want to demand that “you judge not” However, how should this be understood?
I think two things must be done. First, I want to give a brief explanation of this passage and its context. Second I want to talk about the Law and the Gospel.
Christ positively commanded this. Jesus declares we are not supposed to judge. “Judge” can mean: decided, prefer, evaluate, hold a view, make a legal decision, condemn, or rule. However, the meaning must be determined by the context, and in this passage the context is this little illustration that Jesus gives.
Here I am with this giant 2×4 sticking out of my eye. I can’t get dressed, I can’t sleep. I can’t walk through a door normally. I can’t sit behind the wheel to drive my car. I can stand at the sink to brush my teeth. Just how am I supposed to take a spec out of someone else’s eye? But the illustration continues. Jesus demands of the hypocrite to remove the LOG and THEN get the spec out of the eye of the brother.
Now if you can’t tell the connections, let me draw them for you. Judging someone else is the same as getting the spec out of their eye. So, if we go back to “Judge not, lest you be judged” I think it is obvious that we see two types of judgement.
- Removed the plank already type of judgment
- Not removed the plank type of judgment
So judge not is not all types and kinds of judgment, but it is a boastful, proud, unaware type of judgment.
And Jesus even demands that you pull the log out first and then pull the spec. In other words, there is a command to judge and a command to NOT judge. So don’t judge in this manner, but judge in this other manner.
We can apply this truth as we think about the Law and the gospel and parenting. Without a clear view of the law in my mind and heart for my own heart – the gospel is nothing.
How will I know what sin is if I don’t see the law clearly? Most would define sin as break God’s law. So if I don’t judge myself and my heart by the law, then I cannot know sin and if I cannot know sin, I cannot know the Gospel. The law gives no life, instead the law kills. The law slays; the law flays open the conscience to the reality that we are wicked law breakers before God.
And this is when the gospel needs to be preached. This is when we need to declare that by Christ we are saved from the wrath of God. Jesus’ substituted himself for us on the cross. He died FOR us, in our place, and the wrath of God covered him for us. He who knew no sin, became sin for us. That which is punished and destroyed by God, Christ, became punishment for us.
So, in raising children, it takes both the law and the gospel. When our child rebels against our authority, refusing to do what we have said, then that child stands condemned by the law of God that commands children obey their parents.
If we take the route that says, judge not lest you be judged, meaning I never point out sin, then I will never confront their sin. If I do that, then I can never offer that child the hope of the gospel. I must just let them go and do what they want, and I must offer some weak gospel that says, “Dear, Jesus loves you and wants to be your best friend.”
What a shock it will be when one day she learns, “if I don’t become friends with Jesus he will punish me? why? I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Pointing out what is wrong in the manner that Jesus commands is like the gentle surgeon who gentle tells his patient he has a terminal illness. He is fearful, but he has the truth and perhaps some hope.
Parents, we must call out our children’s sin so that they can hear the gospel. However, we must do so only with the log pulling attitude. If you don’t think you have sin, then you have no business correcting your kids.