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The Scriptorium

Judging Others

Make sure you do it righteously. Luke 6.37-42

Luke 6: Part 2 (4)

Pray Psalm 33.13-17.
The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.
No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

Sing Psalm 33.13-17.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
God from His throne looks down on men;
He knows our works and made our hearts.
Let not Your Church, let none depend
on strength or skill or human arts.

Read Luke 6.1-42; meditate on verses 37-42.


1. What does Jesus say about judging others?

2. What must we as disciples strive to become?

This passage is rather facilely invoked at times when an opinion is expressed about someone’s attitude, demeanor, or motives. “Now, now, we’re not supposed to judge.”

This is only partially true. We cannot live without judging – without discerning good from evil, choosing wisdom over folly, recognizing temptation and avoiding sin, and seeking to build one another up in our most holy faith. Jesus does not here proscribe all forms of judgment. Rather, it is unfair or hasty and thereby sinful judgment Jesus condemns, judgment that proceeds from a heart insufficiently circumspect about its own condition or considerate of the demands of neighbor love.

Jesus said that we must judge with righteous judgment (Jn. 7.24). Such judgment should be temporal. It does not condemn to eternal perdition, but seeks only to address a matter or condition at hand (v. 37). Righteous judgment must be charitable, so that we are giving grace lavishly to edify another (v. 38). We should judge others the way we ourselves want to be judged (v. 38). Judgment must not be blindly invoked but according to the standards of discipleship, that is, according to Jesus and His Word (vv. 39, 40). And before exercising such righteous judgment we must be clear of any lingering sin, looking to the Lord to cleanse us of anything contrary to the life of a disciple of Jesus (vv. 41, 42). When our exercise of judgment takes such a form, we will be able to help our brother “remove the speck” that is in his eye (v. 42).

We can’t not judge matters. But we can learn to judge them as disciples of Jesus with righteous judgment.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Nobody ever reads a mystery novel by starting at the end and then working their way back to the beginning. That would take away all the anticipation and joy of trying to see how it will all work out. It just isn’t done.

But in this passage I think it is helpful to start at the end and work our way back to the beginning, as gauche as it may sound to do.

Jesus said that before we judge anyone we should “remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye” (Lk. 6.42). In other words, first deal with your own keeping of the Law, and make sure it is sufficiently kept, before schooling someone else in its intricacies.

When we are in the Word of God daily, praying fervently for our own sanctification, keeping the Law, and loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving others as we love ourselves, if we have any time left over, we are free to take up the task of speck removal.

Jesus said to them and says to us: Don’t unjustly judge or condemn others; but please do forgive them. Do give, in every way possible: With your money, your time, your prayers, and your life. And by the way, “with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Lk. 6.38). There’s always a catch.

“Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD, but the blameless in their ways are His delight” (Prov. 11.20). And we want, more than anything, to bring God delight because of His great love and sacrifice for us. And how do we do that? Jesus was trying to teach His disciples and us how.

Paul wrote to the church in Philippi to “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Phil. 2.14-16).

We long to be that light. We long to follow God’s Law. We long to love and forgive and give as He would have us do. And lest we ever think that all this Law-keeping is not for us, we have only to hear what Jesus said about that very thing, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matt. 5.17).

Judging and condemning the things God finds an abomination must be done to keep ourselves from blundering into the same perverse way of thinking and living. It is true, “We can’t not judge matters. But we can learn to judge them as disciples of Jesus with righteous judgment.”

For reflection
1. Why do we say that “we can’t not judge matters”?

2. Why is it important that we keep short accounts with God when it comes to sin?

3. How can you know when you’re judging “with righteous judgment”?

Whoever therefore is guided by good sense, does not look at the sins of others, does not busy himself about the faults of his neighbor, but closely reviews his own misdoings. Such was the blessed psalmist, falling down before God and saying on account of his own offenses, “If you, Lord, closely regard iniquities, who can endure?”
Cyril of Alexandria (375-444), Commentary on Luke, Homily 29

Pray Psalm 33.18-22.
Thank the Lord that He sees your heart and watches over you all day long. Call on Him to keep you from all sin, including the sin of judging others unfairly. Commit your day to the Lord and ask Him for mercy and grace for all your times of need.

Sing Psalm 33.18-22.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
God watches those who fear His Name,
who hope upon His grace and love:
He keeps their souls from death and shame
who trust in Him Who reigns above.

God is our Helper and our Shield;
upon us let Your grace descend!
We hope in You; to You we yield;
we trust in Jesus to the end.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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