Matthew 7:1-5
Mat 7:1 (KJB)
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
(John 7:24 KJV) Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Before we delve into the meaning of 7:1, we must understand that judging is a necessary part of the Christian life. In John 7:24, we have an admonition and a principle to judge by. The Pharisees had judged Jesus guilty of violating the sabbath by making a man whole but when proper analysis was made of the accusation, the Jews were guilty of doing the same thing, that is, they were working on the sabbath by doing circumcision. This is why quick and biased judgments are dangerous. The very ones who accused the Lord Jesus Christ of violating the law were doing it way before He was even born and none of them were ever stoned to death for that crime.
This verse is not stating that Christians should never judge a situation but that the judgments must be made righteously with all information. For example, a man should not accuse another of committing adultery when he, himself, has his eye on his neighbor when she is sunbathing by the pool. That would be as hypocritical as the Pharisees working on the sabbath and then accusing Jesus of doing the same thing. It would be like the manager of an open Burger King calling up McDonalds 11 AM Sunday morning and accusing them of being open on Sunday. Christians must make judgments all the time because we are to test the Spirits or the teachings we hear. No true Christian would go into a Mormon Church or a Roman Catholic Church because they know the doctrines are false and misleading. Judgment is necessary for our own spiritual good but it must be done properly and not in haste or in a biased manner.
Now back to 7:1. As noted above the Pharisees and Sadducees would always be judging others, especially if they were poor. If one was sick or crippled, they would judge them as being under God’s judgment for some type of sin that either they committed or a family member. Remember in John 9 when Jesus and His disciples came upon the blind man and the question they asked Jesus? (John 9:2 KJV) And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? They were asking this question because they were under that type of teaching and they believed that anyone in the condition was being punished by God for their sins. Jesus quickly refocuses their mind to the proper answer. (John 9:3 KJV) Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. In reference to the man’s blindness, it was not caused by a sin in his life or his family’s. This man was created blind so Jesus could heal the blindness and the glory would go to God. So here is a great example of making a judgment without the right information.
In 7:1, Jesus is warning his hearers and us that we are not to make scathing judgments against anyone. We are never to make condemning judgments against someone else simply because it is not our place to judge the person since we do not know the motives and the reasons why a person is doing something. For example, a man comes to church in old clothes and is unable to put money in the collection plate because he never seems to have any money. So some people start saying that he does not have any money because he spends his money on alcohol and other evil things and that is why he never comes out of his house either. Then that story starts spreading around the church until everyone actually believes it because if you tell a story enough times, it gets embellished with more lies. Then someone from the church goes and visits this young man and he welcomes them into his home. They were going to speak to him about his drinking and his appearance until they were shocked to see what they found. In another room is a hospital bed and in that bed was an elderly man who had cancer. The elderly man was the father of the younger man and he was taking care of him. The reason the younger man did not seem to have any money was because he was spending it all on the care of his father. So the younger man was sacrificing his own life and appearance to care for his father. They then went back to the pastor and told him what they found and the whole church was ashamed at what they thought. You see, one person made an erroneous judgment on another person and it mushroomed until it became the standard story and then the whole church was ashamed.
This was only a story but it is what happens when we make scathing judgments about someone without knowing the whole story. God is the only one who has all the details and can make a proper judgment and that is why we must steer clear of making railing judgments.
Mat 7:2 (KJB)
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Mete - To allot, measure, distribute or apportion
Here is a warning to anyone who chooses to make erroneous judgments. Eliphaz the Temanite had this one correct. (Job 4:8 KJV) Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. It is confirmed in Galatians 6:7. (Gal 6:7 KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Those who live their lives judging others will also be judged and there will be no relenting on the severity of their judgment. Unkind judgments made upon others will be returned to us. This was the maxim which was taught that it was an eye for an eye and a judgment for a judgment. If a person judges another wrongly and harshly, then they will find themselves in a similar situation being judged with the same severity. In modern times, there is a saying, “what goes around comes around.” If you look at a Merry Go Round, you watch the horses go in one direction and come back in another direction. It is the same with harsh judgment against others. It may go from us in one direction but it may unexpectedly come back to us from a direction we are unprepared for. If a person is unsaved and constantly judges others, on judgment day, all the secrets of their heart will be judged. (Rom 2:16 KJV) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. If a person is saved, then they too will receive the same measure of judgment but in a different way. If a believer loses their testimony and credibility as a Christian, then it may never be regained and to a Christian that can be devastating since no one will ever again confide or seek counsel from them. Other Christians will be afraid to be in ministry with them, if they are still in the ministry. God may remove them for a long time until they are broken of the habit.
Mat 7:3 (KJB)
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Jesus now uses a tremendous example to illustrate the point that He has just made concerning judging. Jesus points to the comparison of us and the one we are judging. First, He states that there is a mote in the eye of the brother. A mote is a very small speck or piece of wood. He then compares it to the beam which is in our eye. The beam is akin to a log of wood. The lesson here is that compared to the blindness of our own shortcomings and propensity to sin, the situation we are judging in our brother is very small. Every one of us sins and are susceptible to be carried away by any of those sins into the world of addiction. Therefore, before we judge the motives and reasoning of others, we need to do serious introspection of our motives and reasons.
Mat 7:4 (KJB)
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
In good conscience, how could one who has sin in their life actually go to another and tell them about their sin? The reason why many people make railing accusations and judgments is to exalt themselves or to divert from their covert sinful life. A person rebukes another person for their sin and has the same type of sin they do. It is a situation of total hypocrisy.
Mat 7:5 (KJB)
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
Jesus is stating here that Christians are able to help each other when it comes to sinful situations. We must be careful that we are not hypocrites when it comes to that. We must carefully examine our own lives and weaknesses to see if we are entertaining any type of sin in our life. Once we can judge ourselves and deal with our own sins and problems, then we can help another brother to overcome their sin. To see clearly is to have nothing obstructing the view and if the beam is in our eye, then our eyes are completely covered and unable to see our sin but once it is removed, then our eyes have a clear path. (Gal 6:1 KJV) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Galatians 6:1 gives us a serious warning that we must be cognizant of the fact that if we help another brother in a sinful situation, we too as flesh wearing humans, can also be subject to the evil lure of any sin.