08.04.03 Lk. 6:37-42 (See also Mt. 7:1-5)
37 “Do not judge,
and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn,
and you will not be condemned.
and you will be forgiven.
and it will be given to you;
A good measure –
and running over –
will be poured into your lap.
For with the measure you use,
it will be measured back to you.
39 He also told them a parable: “Can the blind guide the blind? Won’t they both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
41 “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck in your brother’s eye.
08.04.03.Q1 Are we to judge or not to judge others (Mt. 7:1 vs. 1 Cor. 5:12, etc)?
Matthew 7:1 and Luke 6:37 clearly say “do not judge,” but other passages such as 1 Corinthians 5:12) indicate otherwise. By definition, the phrase judge (Gk. katadikazete) as found in Matthew and Luke refer to sharp unjust criticism but could also be rendered as condemn not. Since all of humanity is a fallen race, no one has the right to condemn another or to be a “faultfinder.” In fact, God will either judge us or have mercy on us, depending on how we either judge or have mercy on others. The Hebraic poetry in this passage sets the parameters of the meaning of the word. The meaning is restricted to this use and does not have reference to discernment or general decisions that need to be made in human affairs. Jesus did not forbid the discernment between truth and error in doctrine or in the life of another, but He meant that one should not judge others self-righteously or condemningly (cf Mt. 23:13-39; Rom. 2:1). In addition, Scripture as a whole directs believers to carefully discern false or real prophets, as well as the fruitfulness of others. Based on careful judgment (meaning discernment), there are several situations were judgment is commanded:
- Concerning those who are sexually immoral (1 Cor. 5:9),
- Concerning those who masquerade as purveyors of truth (2 Cor. 11:14),
- Concerning those who preach a false gospel (Philip. 3:2), and
- Concerning those who are false prophets (1 Jn. 4:1)
Persons who reflect one or more of these and other characteristics or behaviors are to be avoided and, in some cases, they are to be excommunicated from the local church. This type of judgment or discernment was not what Jesus taught in this passage. He was specifically speaking of unjust criticism. Scriptures provides these considerations:
- God will judge us by how we judge others (with mercy?) (Mt. 7:2)
- Do not judge by appearance (Jn. 7:24)
- Mercy triumphs over judgment (Jas. 2:13)
- God alone is the ultimate judge
Yet care must be taken because one does not always understand all the events that occurred in another’s life. That is why the famous Rabbi Hillel once said,
Do not judge your brother until you have come to his place.
Mishnah, Aboth 2.4
Furthermore, there are two important phrases that are to be considered: “Give and it will be given to you.” This passage is frequently used in terms of tithing to the church. However, note that the context is a discussion on forgiveness, not tithing. Jesus said if we forgive much, He will forgive us abundantly. This same principle of giving forgiveness can be applied to other areas of life such as giving tithes, offerings, and alms. The second phrase suggests that divine forgiveness “will be poured into your lap.” Men’s clothing at the time were loose like women’s dresses are today. Since a belt was worn around the waist, the garment could be folded to create a large front pocket that could be used to carry a huge amount of goods, such as grain. The blessing of God that would be “running over,” is potentially far more than what could have been placed on one’s lap or pocket.
Concerning proper judgments, Jesus made an exaggeration when He said, “First, take the log out of your eye.” The phrase is a hyperbole, a ridiculous contrast, a statement of over-emphasis involving a word play of “speck” and “log/plank” to dramatize a point. In essence, Jesus said that we should take a tree or large piece of timber out of our own eye before taking a toothpick or splinter out of the eye of another, meaning that before attempting to help someone else, one had to clean up his own life. No one has the right to judge another’s conduct or motive until his own life has been cleaned up, then righteous men and women are to use discernment in their judgments of others. Therefore, there are times when judgments according to divine principles are in order.
. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament. 60.
. Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 159.
. Liefeld, “Luke.” 8:895.
. See the discussion on hypocrites/hypocrisy in 08.03.04 (Mt. :5-15) and in “Pharisees” in 02.01.14.
. Liefeld, “Luke.” 8:895.