“Judge not, that you be not judged,” Jesus said. “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
—Matthew 7:1-2 NKJV
Judging is forming an opinion or a conclusion about something. God has given us His Word by which we judge if something is right or wrong. But judging, when based on what we feel instead of God’s truth becomes subject to our human emotions instead of what we know is true.
There is not only a right and wrong way to judge. What we judge is also important. It is not wrong to judge if something a person has done hurts or offends us. That is just life. You cannot go through life without being offended by someone. The problem is when we judge someone’s motive. Judging the motive behind someone’s word or action is wrong. We don’t know what is in another person’s heart. And truthfully, sometimes we do not even admit the real motive behind what we do. Only God knows what is in someone’s heart and in our hearts. So how can we judge the motive of someone else?
When judging another person’s motive, you set yourself up to be judged in return. When you judge the motive behind what someone else does or says, you set yourself up to experience a range of hurtful emotions. You not only judge the motive behind their words or action, but you allow the offense to wound you and put you on the defense. And then you react out of your hurt and pain. Your emotions become subject to manipulation by the enemy. You allow the wounds of the past and the hurts of the present to direct what you do and say. Your judgment of the motive of the person who has wounded you reminds you of every insufficiency in your own life, and you see insufficiency in the lives of others. In your judgment of another person’s motive, you hinder love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in your own life.
God determines right or wrong in our lives. He gives us His Word so we can know if our actions or someone else’s actions are right or wrong. But we have to separate an action that is wrong from the person who has done the wrong. God's standard judges if an action goes against His truth. That is apparent. What isn't apparent is the motive behind an action. God knows the heart. Not us. We forgive the offense to us because Christ has forgiven our offense. The problem is when we judge the motive behind another person’s action. The problem is when we react out of our feelings instead of out of His truth. We have to separate the action that God judges as wrong from the person who has done it.
Don’t judge the motive of someone else. Don’t react out of what you feel. You become harsh. And those of us who are harsh with others are treated the same way. When you injure someone they want to strike back. But when we sow mercy, we reap mercy (Matthew 5:7). How we respond to others is what we receive in return (Matthew 7:12).
God alone knows the motive in someone’s heart—ours included. With the measure we use to judge another person’s heart, it will be measured back to us. We give away what we have freely received. We are debt-free because Jesus has made us debt-free. We hold no one else’s heart in debt to us. We forgive with the forgiveness of Jesus who has forgiven us.
© 2023 Lynn Lacher