7:2 For with whatever judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and with whatever measure you measure out, it shall be measured to you again.
Matthew 7:1&2 tells us that the way we judge others is actually, literally the way we ourselves are judged.
These verses are obviously not talking about knowing God's laws. We know what a sin is. If you steal, if you see someone else steal, you know that is a sin. That isn't really judging, that is knowing the laws of God. That is recognizing sin. And of course, these verses are not talking about someone that is actually employed as a judge in a court of law. Just like you know God's laws on sin, a judge in a court of law knows the law of the land, he can recognize when someone does something against the law.
Here, in Matthew 7:1,2 the sense of judging is in condemning someone or forming an opinion on something they have done, or the reason they did it.
How does this work? How can you be judged in the same way you judge others? How is it possible? Is it some kind of God's magic? Some kind of spiritual law that God put in place?
It is like there is only one standard. One standard by which things are judged, that is the standard you use. You personally.
Sound strange? You are probably thinking "how can i set the standard for judging everything?". Well, actually you do, What you determine to be right and wrong mostly only affects you. (I am not speaking of identifying sin, you can do that quite well, the things we have problems with in judging are things that are not quite a sin, they are usually things we think are "not nice" or "inconsiderate" or "rude").
Think about it, if you see someone doing something that you think is wrong, your view of it being wrong doesn't affect the other person. They don't even know you think it is wrong. Unless you let them know. If you decide to tell them that what they are doing is wrong, they will compare what you say against what they believe, and if they decide your judgment is wrong, they dismiss your opinion AND they decide you are wacko too.
So your judgment really only affects yourself. You can try to convince people that your judgment (on one particular area) is right. You can use all kinds of logic. But if you succeed in convincing them that you are right, they then adopt the same judgment as you. Then they use what they think is right and wrong to guide their behavior, not what you think. You convinced them that you are right in how you judge the situation, but the judgment, the decision on how to handle this particular situation has now become their own.
Say you convince someone that downloading movies without paying for them is illegal, immoral and wrong and they finally agree with you. Then when they are tempted to download another movie, what YOU think, is not what is going to stop them from doing it. It is what They think that will stop them. Unless you are in a position of authority your judgment can't stop someone from downloading movies. Only their judgment on that action will stop them.
So in practice, only your judgment on things matters. And the inverse of the above is true too. If someone doesn't agree with what you are doing, but they never tell you, it doesn't matter, it makes no difference to you. If they do say something to you like "I think when you take three extra sugar packets from the restaurant when you leave, your are stealing", it doesn't change your behavior, unless you agree. Their judgment is that taking sugar packets that you don't use in the restaurant is stealing. You consider their judgment of that issue when they tell you. Then you decide if you think they are right or wrong. If you decide taking sugar packets is stealing then you stop doing it. But the reason you stop is not because someone else thinks it is stealing, but that you think it is. Your judgment on what is right in this situation has changed.
So in that sense, there really is only one standard used in judging.
So when verse 2 says you will be judged by the same standard you use, how does that fit in?
If my theory on their only being one standard of judgment, the one we, individually use, then we are going to judge ourselves on the same standard we use for everyone else. And it is really only our judgment that matters to us. If someone tells us they don't like us it does bother us. But we judge their statement of not liking us against what we think of ourselves. We decide if we believe the opinion of others.
So if we are usually strict in what we expect from other people, we will be harsh on ourselves. If we are gracious with others we will usually be gracious with ourselves. In most areas of life, not all. How we judge the actions of others is the same standard we use to judge ourselves. We don't think no one else should download movies and then do it ourselves. We don't think all our co-workers should work a bit harder unless we think we are working harder than them already.
Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you may not be judged.
7:2 For with whatever judgment you judge, you shall be judged;
We only use one standard for others and for ourselves.
Therefore how we judge others should be a warning sign to us. If we find ourselves being too harsh on other people, it should be telling us that we are being too hard on ourselves.
Matthew 7:1&2 tells us that the way we judge others is actually, literally the way we ourselves are judged. So let's watch how we judge others, let us monitor our opinions and realize those opinions affect us more than they affect those we think we are judging.
All Shall Give an Account
So we have taken a look at judging, and we looked at what Jesus said about that. How there is really only one standard, the one we use on other people, ends up being the one we use on ourselves.
But why do we judge one another?
Or to state it another way "why do you judge your brother?"
Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or also why do you despise your brother? For all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
14:11 For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
14:12 So then each one of us will give account concerning himself to God.
14:13 Then let us not judge one another any more, but rather judge this, not to put a stumbling-block or an offense toward his brother.
For me, the most common reason I am judging someone is because I think they are getting away with not following the rules.
Or they are doing something I can't get away with doing. And I think "that just isn't right" "they shouldn't get away with that, they should have to pay for that action".
For me the most common reason I am judging someone is because I think they are not going to have to face the consequences of their actions. They are going to get away with it.
If I am driving down the road and someone passes me going a lot faster than I am, I think "they should get a ticket for that" or "where is a policeman when you need one?". I am thinking that they are arrogant and reckless and are completely disregarding the safety of other people. I am thinking they think they are above the law.
But have you ever been in that situation? Then you drive on a bit further and you see the guy pulled over on the side of the road and a policeman is giving him a ticket?
When I see that I think that driver got what he deserved. But what is interesting is that after I pass him I am no longer judging him in my mind because I know he is going to have to pay for what he did. And the traffic fine will probably be pretty high.
I actually stop being in judgment of the guy because I have seen that he is facing the consequences of his actions.
And I don't judge people who have been divorced or are getting divorced. Having been divorced myself I know they are not getting away with anything. I know they are going to pay, and pay financially, emotionally, mentally, for their actions, for their decision.
So if I know someone is, or will, face the consequences of their actions I don't judge the person. In fact, if I know they will have to face the consequences of their actions I actually have compassion for them. It is funny, knowing that the person will have to pay for the choice they have made gives me a totally opposite reaction. If I think they get away with it I am judging them, if I think they will have to pay for it, I am compassionate.
My brother-in-law has a saying "no one gets away with anything". He is a pastor so one day I asked him about that, I ask him to back it up scriptually. "no one gets away with anything"
One of the passages he used is:
Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and Him sitting on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And a place was not found for them.
20:12 And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
20:13 And the sea gave up the dead in it. And death and hell delivered up the dead in them. And each one of them was judged according to their works.
20:14 And death and hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death.
20:15 And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.
So when that day comes we will all be judged by our works, by the things we have done, but we Christians, because of Jesus, our names are in the Book of Life. We will be judged by the things we have done but we will not be going to hell.
None of our works will get us into heaven, we know that it is only because of Jesus that we are going to heaven, but that passage does say we will be judged for our works. All of us. We will be judged for the things we have done, the things we do.
So doesn't that mean "no one gets away with anything?".
If we will be judged is there going to be a consequence? I suspect the consequences of being judged by God will only mean something to us. We are going to heaven. Maybe we get a bigger crown for the good things we do. But what happens for the bad things?
I don't know.
But my personal belief is that something will happen. I have no scripture to back that up. And I do believe it will be a personal thing, I believe we will come face to face with the things we have done wrong, when we are judged by God. That makes sense to me because what is the point of judging? Why have two books? Why not just shorten up the line a bit and open the book of life first, send all those people to heaven and then judge the rest?
But the Bible tells us that is now how God plans to do it.
There is no way to prove what I believe.
But wow, the Bible tells us very often about this coming judgment. This idea that we will be judged for the things we have done.
Romans 2:14 For when the nations, who do not have the Law, do by nature the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves;
2:15 who show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and the thoughts between one another accusing or even excusing one another,
2:16 in a day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God, and keep His commandments. For this is the whole duty of man.
12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether evil.
Acts 17:30 Truly, then, God overlooking the times of ignorance, now He strictly commands all men everywhere to repent,
17:31 because He has appointed a day in which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He appointed, having given proof to all by raising Him from the dead.
1Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts. And then shall each one have praise of God.
2Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive the things done through the body, according to that which he has done, whether good or bad.
Ephesians 6:5 Slaves, obey your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Christ;
6:6 not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
6:7 with good will doing service as to the Lord and not to men
6:8 (knowing that whatever good thing he does, he shall receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or a freeman).
Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men;
3:24 knowing that from the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance. For you serve the Lord Christ.
3:25 But he who does wrong shall receive justice for the wrong which he did, and there is no respect of persons.
Isaiah 3:10 Say to the righteous that it is well; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
16:27 For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He shall reward each one according to his works.
Romans 2:5 But according to your hardness and your impenitent heart, do you treasure up wrath for yourself in a day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
2:6 who will render to each according to his works;
2:7 indeed to those who with patience in good work are seeking for glory, and honor, and incorruptibility, everlasting life.
2:8 But to those who indeed disobeying the truth out of self-seeking, and obeying unrighteousness, will be anger and wrath,
2:9 tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man who has worked out evil; of the Jew first, and also of the Greek.
2:10 But He will give glory, honor and peace to every man who works good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap.
6:8 For he sowing to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But he sowing to the Spirit will reap life everlasting from the Spirit.
Rev 2:23 And I will kill her children with death. And all the churches will know that I am He who searches the reins and hearts, and I will give to every one of you according to your works.
Revelation 22:12 And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each according as his work is.
That is 14 passages in the Bible that talk about being judged for the things we do.
I liked this quote by the commentators Jamieson, Fausset and Brown:
"We are justified by faith, but judged according to (not by) our works. For the general judgment is primarily designed for the final vindication of God's righteousness before the whole world,..."
So there can be no doubt that we will be judged for the things we do, all of us. That means that "No one gets away with anything".
Why then, do we judge other people?
They aren't getting away with anything. Each of us will answer for the things we do. Therefore when we see someone doing something we don't agree with, something we think is wrong for them to do, we should feel compassion, not condemnation. God's Word tells us that we will all be judged for what we do. Doing wrong things will bring some kind of consequence.
So judging other people is actually pointless. Or worse than pointless because Matthew 7 tells us we will be judged by the same standard as we use for other people. I stated my theory on why that is, but my theory doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how it works that we get judged by the same standard we judge others, Jesus said it is true.
How cool would it be if we just stopped judging other people?
We now know there is no point in it. We know the only thing we accomplish by judging others is to make life harder on ourselves.
How about if we leave the judging up to God? It is clear (in 14 passages) He will do it.
So let's stop judging other people, let's trust God, and make life a bit easier on ourselves.
Author: Mike Pritchard
That's my theory on "one standard", what do you think? Leave me a comment: