by Tony Nester

Judge Not?
Tony Nester
(Matthew 7:1-5 NRSV) ""Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. {2} For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. {3} Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? {4} Or how can you say to your neighbor, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' while the log is in your own eye? {5} You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye."

What does Jesus mean by telling us not to judge people? Is it true, as some people claim, that Jesus was never judgmental? Is it also true that the worst thing about the Church is its udgmental attitude that turns people away from its doors as well as its message?

We are a church of open hearts, open minds, and open doors. Does that mean that we're open to anything and anyone no matter what? How do we maintain the integrity of the Gospel while accepting all sorts and kinds of people? Open doors are needed, but so are walls that give it its shape and create its sanctuary of sacred space.

I've found that most of the people who quote Jesus' words, "Judge not that you be not judged," have never studied the Sermon on the Mount. They just like the sound of "Judge not."

Look for even just a moment at the rest of the Sermon on the Mount and you'll see that Jesus doesn't mean "Don't ever make judgments about people."

This same Jesus who says, "Judge not," is the same Jesus who says in the same Sermon that believers who no longer act as the salt of the earth are good for nothing (Matthew 5:13).

This Sermon also tells us that men who look at women with lust have already committed adultery in their hearts (Matthew 5:27).

One last example (although there are more): Jesus tells us that people who call attention to themselves through the practice of their religion are perfect hypocrites, and that if re ...

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