“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”Matthew 7:1-2 NIV
A quick glance at Facebook has shown me that we need this reminder desperately.
Over the past few days I’ve read folks from all political backgrounds judging political leaders, judging neighbors, and judging complete strangers. Disagreement is not judgement. Judgement comes when intent is assigned by someone other than the key figure in question. Let me see if I can clarify using a non-political example.
Bugs Bunny stated this week that he will not be eating green beans for lunch today.
Now you may very much be in favor of everyone eating green beans at every meal. That’s fine. And you are free to express that opinion. Let me give you an example of a completely Christ-like way to do so.
“I disagree with Mr. Bunny’s choice to not eat green beans. I also realize that he has the ability to make choices for himself. Because I follow Jesus, I choose to love my neighbor, and I certainly consider Mr. Bunny my neighbor. I will be praying for him, his family and friends, and I will continuing to eat green beans at every meal. I encourage you to do the same.”
See how easy that was? We expressed our disagreement, but showed kindness toward Mr. Bunny, as well as shining the light of Christ.
Here’s an example of what not to do.
“Stupid Bunny won’t do what we all know he should do. He does this because he hates green bean farmers, hates Looney Toon Land, and doesn’t give a rip about you or me. And anyone who would support him is just as evil as he is.”
Notice how this example assigns intent to Mr. Bunny when Mr. Bunny himself never said why he isn’t eating green beans. Perhaps Mr. Bunny was simply out of green beans. Or perhaps he’s allergic. The idea that he would only do something because of the reason you have chosen to supply is judging him. Jesus says we should not do that.
Now this whole exercise might seem very childish, but it’s clear that this concept hasn’t been grasped by many, and therefore I don’t want to write anything that’s confusing. We are called to not judge.
Our job as followers of Christ is to love. Love those you agree with, and love those you disagree with. Love those you know personally, and love those whom you have never met. This is how people will know you are actually a follower of Jesus.
One last thought.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 7:12 NIV
Take a recent example from your own life. Maybe a recent conversation you had with someone. Perhaps a Facebook or Twitter post you wrote about someone. Would you want someone to talk about you the way you did in your conversation/post?
Let’s take it a step further. You will one day be judged eternally by Jesus himself (Mt. 25:31-46) And since he’s already told us that we will be judged in the same way we judge others (Mt. 7:1-2), then do you really want Jesus judging you the way you just judged someone?
As followers of Christ we are commanded to love one another (basically all of 1 John), and to not judge others.
May our thoughts, our words, our social media posts, and our conversations with others reflect the mercy we have been shown in Christ Jesus.