Forgiveness and Judgment

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Luke 6:37-38“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” 

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.  Mother Theresa

I’m not much of a carpenter. In fact, I have a saying, “if it can’t be built with duct tape, it probably isn’t worth it.” Ok, I’m not quite that bad, but you get the idea. One of the reasons I’m a nightmare with a hammer in my hand is that I use the “good enough” principle of building stuff. The principle simply stated in a question is, “Why use a level or a tape measure when I can use my eyeball?” I’m sure you can guess the final result using that standard. Crooked pictures, rickety tables, in a word, “Disaster!

Jesus’ words in Luke’s gospel clearly reveal the relational measuring stick that God uses in our lives. It’s simple. The way you treat others is the way is the way you’ll be treated. This is hard to swallow but not hard to understand. In Matthew 18, Jesus tells the story about a servant who owed the king millions of dollars. He had compassion on the servant and forgave a huge debt. Later, when the king learned the servant would not forgive the small debt of a fellow servant, the king responded and threw the servant in prison. Then Jesus says something that is incredibly weighty. He says, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”  I want God to deal with me better than I deal with others.

There is a “reciprocal” principle that most know intuitively. “What goes around, comes around.” Don’t judge and you won’t be judged. Give and you’ll be given. Forgive and you’ll be forgiven. Monitor your thinking. What’s your thought life like? I often go along thinking things about other people, judging them, and I don’t even realize it.  Look for the positive. Avoid stereotyping. Remember how it feels when you’ve been judged, marginalized, or condemned. That’s a strong motivator, isn’t it?



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