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  • Kerri S. Wilson

Judge Not!

Jesus said, according to Luke 6:37, "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven," (ESV).

Though many apply these words to mean that I am not to judge another against my own way of living or my personal perspective of biblical teachings, Luke's context of these words is focused on a different point. Read Luke 6:27-38. Verse 37 is telling me to not judge my enemy.

Who is my enemy? Jesus clarified in Luke 6:27-29 that my enemy is the one who hates me, curses me, abuses me, strikes me, and takes from me.

Though none of us like to feel the judgment of others, we all engage in judging each other. Even so, it's easier to jump on the bandwagon against judging our neighbor or our brother than it is to refrain from judging our enemies. It seems the one who behaves hatefully towards another, kills another, takes from another, or abuses another deserves judgment from the one whom he or she has harmed.

But Jesus made it very clear in Luke 6:35-36 that I am to love my enemy. I am to do good to my enemy without expecting him or her to reciprocate anything good back to me. And I'm supposed to do this because God is kind to the ungrateful and to the evil. I am to be merciful just like God is merciful.

Then Jesus said at the end of Luke 6:38, "For with the measure you use will be measured back to you." With the measure I use what? The measure of how I judge or don't judge my enemy, condemn or don't condemn my enemy, forgive or don't forgive my enemy, and give to or don't give to my enemy will determine how much I'm judged, how much I'm condemned, how much I'm forgiven, and how much I'm given to. So, if I can't find a way to love my enemy without judgment then I can't expect much grace from God.

It's easy to say, "Don't judge!" But I've come to the following conclusion. Before I tell someone to not judge me for whatever reason he or she feels justified to do so, I had better first make sure I've stopped judging my enemy for whatever evil they've shown towards me.

Yes, there are a lot of evil people in the world—people we can all easily categorize as the enemy—people who seem to deserve our judgment. And many of us Christians feel justified to lash out and air our judgments publicly. But based on what Jesus said, we are not justified.

I claim to be a Christian—a follower of Christ. I want to be true to who I claim to be though I certainly have not perfected following Christ. Because I realize my imperfection I have found myself engaged in self-analysis of my Christianity.

Honestly, loving my enemies is proving to be very difficult. But I know I must be obedient to Christ if I want to live in His grace. Now more than ever before I've realized my need to focus on learning how to please Him. Pleasing Him includes loving the one who is the most unloveable. But I can't love my enemy from my own capacity to love. I need His help.

I say I want to change the world, but what would most likely change the world? If you were my enemy what would make the biggest positive difference to you—me hating and judging you or me loving you and showing you mercy? Maybe neither would matter much to you, but loving you and showing you mercy would certainly change me.

I want the world to be better. It would be really nice if my enemy were better, too. I'm not sure how much impact I can make, but the best place to start is with me. If I want the world to be better then I have to be willing to be better first.

"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven," (Luke 6:37, ESV).

It seems worth my effort.

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