"Judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you." (Matthew 7:1-2)
How we behave towards others and how we treat others has a direct relationship to how we shall be treated by Christ. Are we too quick to criticise? And, if we cannot forgive, how can we expect to be forgiven?
"Why beholdest thou the mote [speck] that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam [plank] that is in thine own eye? 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? 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." (Matthew 7:3-5)
We all have faults - not one of us is perfect. But how often do we acknowledge that? How often do we think of ourselves as better than others and quickly criticise the apparent failings of others without considering our own? I am sure we have all been in the situation of making a snap judgement and perhaps voicing an opinion, only to have to 'swallow our words' later.
We cannot, in all honesty, say we know the hearts and minds of those around us. Too often we make judgements on appearance and Samuel was guilty of just that when sent, by God, to anoint the second king of Israel:
"And it came to pass, when they [Jesse's sons] were come, that he [Samuel] looked on Eliab and said, 'Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him' But the Lord said unto Samuel, 'Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature ? for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.'" (1 Samuel 16:6,7)
God knows what is in man. He knows the thoughts and intents of the heart of each one of us. He knows and understands every situation, every difficulty, every decision made. He alone can judge rightly.
So how should we perceive others? Judgements are made, decisions taken, words spoken every day, and not always in the right way. Knowing we can have forgiveness through Christ, it behoves us to show the same forgiveness to others. We all do what is wrong and many of us knowingly do what is contrary to God's law - and it is to God we must answer, for:
"We shall all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10)
The final judgement belongs to God and it is therefore incumbent on us to make sure that what we do is right in God's eyes. We must all "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12)
"Judge not and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over... for with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." (Luke 6:37-38)
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