7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.Matthew 7 : 1-5
Recently a friend stayed over and we got into the conversation about heaven and hell and the judgment that is coming from God when we die. And while uncomfortable to even think about a loving God casting down judgment to those who don't live in His ways - I believe it's the truth.
But, I want us to take away something more than this. Of course the Bible tells us not to judge. Jesus in these verses warns us what will happen if we judge others. And goodness it's so easy to pass judgment on others. Judging involves a sense of right from wrong. And unfortunately, we (and yes I mean even Christians) place judgment all too often...sometimes without even knowing it.
One of the reasons that I feel meetings like Celebrate Recovery or a traditional 12 Step program are crucial to the sobriety of those attending, is that they feel no judgement. Anyone that attends will have shameful feelings in the beginning because of their addiction, hurt, hang-up or habit BUT will quickly see that everyone there is only there to help motivate, love and support everyone. And so we must even be careful to avoid judging ourselves. (it's why finding a sponsor or accountability partner will help with these feelings as well - because they help us sift through the lies of society/life and help place a proper framework for us to move on).
But, how often does the church pass judgment? Many churches will not welcome someone who has an addiction. Hmm..didn't Jesus call the sinners to himself. He didn't come to eat, pray and preach to the righteous. Rather He came to welcome those who were made to feel like they were unworthy.
So I guess today's message is not really to those who are trying to break the addiction but rather to those who are even quietly passing judgment. Often we do this without even knowing. Ever go by a homeless shelter and think "they are there because they just couldn't measure up in society" - that's judgment. Ever not want to be near someone in a grocery line because of how dirty they are? Judgment!
We never know the circumstances of others lives. Period! Once we can accept that everyone (including ourselves) is a child of God equally filled with sin in need of salvation, our hearts will begin to let go of ugly judgments and will begin to fill with a heart of compassion called to action.
Let's have hearts called to action today!!