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Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #117 --- Judge Not, That Ye Be Not Judged

Updated on September 1, 2011

Quotations on Judging

Our Lord says: "Judge not, that you may not be judged." (Matthew 7:1.) These words are a benediction to those that leave judgment God, but they also imply a law of malediction to those that judge others. It is a law of retribution that men gradually fall to the level of the low estimate they make of others, even as men are disposed to rise of their high conceptions of the goodness of their fellows. The world is hard mostly to those whose judgment of others is hard, and it holds out a multitude of sweetness to the man who gives kind interpretation to his brother's action. They that are most at fault are quickest to judge. "Charity is kind; thinketh no evil." (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5.) "Who are thou," asks Saint James, "that judgeth thy neighbor?" (James 4:12.) And though it is a great evil to judge others, it is worse to give expression to our unfavorable estimates. We never have grounds for publishing the faults of others, for everyone has a right to his good name, unless he has publicly forfeited that right. We are, therefore, unjust if we assent to suspicions without solid grounds. We are unjust if we pronounce one guilty without hearing his defense. We are unjust when we attribute bad motives to our neighbor's actions. We are unjust when we infer that a person has a habit of sin because he was once guilty of it. Such action has broken friendships and destroyed loves that should never have been broken or destroyed, has blighted hopes and saddened lives and ruined prospects.

—William J. Marr, Austin Daily Statesman, Austin, Texas, March 25, 1912.

"Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote that is in thy brother's eye." (Luke 6:42.) The hypocrisy to which the Lord here refers, consists in the pretensions of one to being exceedingly particular about a speck of evil in the life of another, when his own life is infinitely more seriously spotted or interpenetrated with evil, of which he either is not conscious, or, being conscious of, he is attempting to hide.

—J.E. Nunn, Amarillo Daily News, Amarillo, Texas, Feb. 8, 1936.

Why do we nourish our soul with doubtful judgments? Why go forward with our steps constantly hampered by all that we have done that is incompetent or wrong or hypocritical in judging our fellowmen? We do not see clearly. Our judgments of all about us become a thick forest, which arrests our onward progress, which conceals the sun above our heads. In time, we bury ourselves beneath the false judgments passed upon our neighbor. As the spadefuls of earth fall upon the coffin, so does each false judgment which we hurl at the heads of our fellowmen recoil upon us and bury us.

Let us allow ourselves to be corrected by the one who has said: "Judge not." Let us learn from Him better justice, a more merciful justice. Not only is our justice coarse and liable to wound and kill, it is also impure and corrupted.

—Charles Wagner, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., April 2, 1905.

A man meets himself in the judgment of others. None of us can know the inner life, purpose or motive of others. We have only two ways of judging. First, our judgments are often reflections of personal prejudices. We see things in people's motives because we wish their motives to be bad and wish to believe so. The wish becomes a father to the judgment. Second, we judge our fellowmen by our inner attitude. We project our inner self and motives, and the way we would do under the circumstances into the heart and conscience of the other fellow; thus, instead of actually judging him, we pass sentence on him.

—W.R. White, Houston Post Dispatch, Houston, Texas, May 18, 1931.

I set for myself certain standards by which I would judge any man I might meet. They are these: (1) What are the best things I can say of him? (2) What circumstances have shaped his character and to what extent is he responsible for them? (3) How has he triumphed over depressing situations to become more than those situations ought to have made him? (4) Would I in a similar circumstance have done better?

These questions help me to judge more generously and more benevolently men whom I meet. They have helped me to look not for weakness but for strength. They urge me to consider every man as an individual who has a right to be known for what he is and not for what we think he ought to be. One of the most gracious thoughts which any of us could think in regard to another person is this: Let me put myself in his place. Let me see the world through his eyes. Let me, if for only a fleeting moment, feel the pulse beat of his heart. Let me declassify him as a political statistic or as a biological organism or as a sociological problem and let me think of him as a man who needs and deserves my love.

In other words, my thoughts toward him must be in terms of the Golden Rule. If we should do this we would find that particular angle of deep and beautiful color in every man.

—Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 7, 1954.

"With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged," said Jesus. (Matthew 7:2.) One of the most dependable laws of all is the "law of the tides." The tide goes out, the tide comes in. There is no power on earth great enough to stop the tides. Not only does the "law of the tides" operate in reference to the sea but also in reference to mankind. What does out also comes in. Send out love, love comes back; send out hate, hate comes back; send out mercy, mercy comes back. What we give, we get back. ...

Knowing that Jesus said, "Judge not that ye be not judged" (Matthew 7:1), why are we so quick to judge others? This is probably the most prevalent sin of all. It has been described as the "sin of the saints" because you see it so often among the best people.

Why do we judge others? I can think of several reasons:

(1) Being conscious of our own sins we take comfort in someone else's fall. There are two ways to boost ourselves. One way is to live up to the highest and best of which we are capable. The other way is to pull other people down to our low level. And the latter way is much the easier. That is the reason people like to repeat gossip. In comparison, they feel better.

(2) We judge others because in our hearts we would like to be committing some of the same sins we condemn so harshly. We suspect that other person is having more fun than we are. But we don't have the nerve or the opportunity or our own consciences won't let us do that.

(3) We judge others because we don't know all the facts and circumstances of that person's life. If we knew the other person, we would not be so quick to judge.

—Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., May 31, 1956.

The main reason we judge quickly and harshly is because we lack love in our own hearts. The person who loves can always find something good.

—Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 1, 1956.

The Bible reads, Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged." (Matthew 7:1 2.) And, "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law; but if thou judge the law, thou are not a doer of the law, but a judge." (James 4:11.)

At times in the Bible judging is encouraged. John 7:21, for example. At other times, like those mentioned above, judging is forbidden. Hence it is apparent that judging is used in more than one sense in the Bible. What is the judging Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7?

There are several types which are upheld in other parts of the Bible. Therefore, they could not be included in Jesus' condemnation. Among them are: judgments of the civil courts, the judgment of the church upon a disorderly member, the individual judgments we must make of wrongdoers and evil people, decisive preaching that draws between truth and error.

What is the kind Jesus forbids? "All judgment from surmise, or from insufficient premises or from ill will." (McGarvy) The type of judging forbidden by the Lord is harsh, hasty, unfounded, censorious, hypercritical, uncharitable, malicious, slanderous, ill natured judgment.

Several causes are suggested for judgment and mote hunting. Perhaps an effort to divert attention from one's own sins, or an effort to justify one's own sinful life and console a biting conscience. Perhaps there is an intent to build up oneself while tearing down another. Envy and hatred are also among the lists.

What are some cures for this critical attitude? Love. The faults of others will appear thick if our love for them is thin. Genuine brotherly love "is gentle, delicate and kind to faults."

Consider how despicable the critic is always actuated by improper motives. Practice the golden rule. Substituting "think and judge" for "do" in this passage makes it read, "Whatsoever ye would that men should think and judge of you, do ye even so to them."

Thirdly, look for the good in others. Be like the bee and concentrate on the sweet and beautiful, rather than like the buzzard who concentrates on the dead and the foul. Though the dog was ugly and mangy the little girl said, "He wags his tail." See the good.

Finally, consider what judging will do to you. It will blind you to your own faults. It will destroy your friends. It will put your eyes out to the beauty and virtues of others. It will rob you of happiness.

"The Christian must not be censoriously judicial, but he should be discriminately judicious." (McGarvy)

—David Holland, Beauregard Daily News, DeRidder, La., March 18, 1988.

"Judge not." (Matthew 7:1.) What does Jesus forbid? He forbids what we are accustomed to call faultfinding, the sin of looking for the worst. He forbids our forming harsh, unjust, unbrotherly judgments. Do not, He says, allow yourselves to become seekers after the worst, because it makes it impossible to rightly estimate our brother. This is true because those who seek for the worst find what they are looking for. And just in proportion as you magnify the faults of your brother do you minimize his virtues.

—A.D. Langston, The Concordia Sentinel, Ferriday, La., Jan. 26, 1928.

Look at the sin of censuriousness: one who constantly sits in judgment on the lives of others, looking in slanted ridicule at every act, slow to encourage, quick to censor. Telescoping his own faults, while microscoping the faults of his neighbor, the fault finder never sees life in its rightful perspective. Isn't it ironical that this kind of person who forever looks for the soft spots and thin places in another's character seldom feels his own is other than perfect!

—Roy O. McClain, The Beam, Fort Worth, Texas, April 1956.

Wouldn't it be an interesting pastime to wonder how much of the wickedness that we see in people is little more than a projection of the wickedness in ourselves? Are we able to recognize all these wrongs in other people's lives because we have known and seen them so long in our own lives? Few things are better indices of one's nature than those that he deems ridiculous in others. Let us beware of our preachments, our holy outlooks, lest we indict someone less innocent than we or worse still, parade our shortcomings on the public clothes line of hypercriticism.

—Roy O. McClain, The Beam, Fort Worth, Texas, December 1957.

Censure of others is often little more than indirect description of one's own faults. It is the distilled wisdom of the ages that nothing is so much an index of one's own nature as that which he deems ridiculous in others. Close your ears against the person who would open his mouth against other persons.

It is a hard and fast truth that no person can raise his posture by trying to reduce that of another person. Yet, every day finds numerous people in every type of business doing exactly this. Whisper campaigns, intimations, subscriptions to old proverbs about "where there's smoke, there's fire," and the itching ear to hear some new yarn about a close acquaintance keep the rumor mills grinding.

To the mind of Jesus Christ this was a type of assassination. One could be guilty of murdering the reputation of another by deceitful slander.

—Roy O. McClain, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 6, 1965.

"Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matthew 7:1.) A common mistake is our misjudging and misrepresenting others. How often we blame others and thus injure them! How unkind our criticisms without knowing the facts. It has been remarked that everyone carries a glass, with the magnify he sees his own merits and other people's faults, while with the other end he sees his own faults and the merits of other people. ...

A man's character may be inferred from the words he uses in speaking of others. Judgment of others reveals the judge's self. Somebody has said, "One judges a man more surely by what he says of others than by what others say of him." A man's criticisms are windows through which we can look into his own soul. When a man steps upon the judge's bench and criticizes his brother, it is not so much the prisoner at the bar who is turned inside out as the judge himself.

—Herbert D. Ardrey, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, April 20, 1914.

There is nothing so despicable as the way we are prone to sit in judgment on the characters of our neighbors in the light of fragility of our own. We shall attain more ethical illumination if we are kinder, and no culture can survive unless based on this fundamental consideration. ut all the important issues are dual issues, and it takes courage to choose the path we know to be the best.

—Albert Parker Fitch, New York Times, New York, N.Y., April 12, 1926.

If we let that feeling of faultfinding, of misjudgment, creep into our hearts, the spirit of peace, the spirit of love is driven out; the spirit of faultfinding and the spirit of love cannot dwell at the same time in the same tabernacle. The Savior says: "Judge not that ye be not judged, for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother's eye, and considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye. Thou hypocrite! First cast out the beam out of thine own eye, then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Matthew 7:1-5.) I take it that the Savior does not mean in this admonition to deny us the privilege or the right of judging in the sense of seeing noble attributes in others. He does not deprive us of forming an estimate of a man's high character and using that as an inspiration to better living. It is not that kind of judging which he tells us to refrain from, but it is the kind that is usually prevalent, and that seems so natural to us to judge, to pick out the weakness and the imperfection of our brother, to magnify it and to use it to the detriment of the brother or to our self glorification. We use that little fault to magnify what we think is some good quality in ourselves. It is looking for the mote that is in our brother's eye, overlooking the beam that is in our own. It is this judging of our brother's faults, picking out his weaknesses, that Jesus tells us to avoid. It seems natural for us to do this.

"Judge not that ye be not judged." Why? Because it is not given to us to see the motives of the brother's act. Christ could see the motive; but even when He did, He was the most merciful of judges, judging that motive in kindness, and leading to higher ones. I say it is not given to us always to see the motive behind the act.

—David O. McKay, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 30, 1907.

It is easy to see the mote in thy brother's eye, but not consider the beam in thine own. The habit of hunting motes is poor sportsmanship, but the continual missing of the beams is poor marksmanship. The custom is common and hard on all concerned.

—J.F. Ross, Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, Ark., Oct. 4, 1936.

"Judge not, that ye be not judged," said the Master, and in the same chapter, "Ye shall know them by their fruits." (Matthew 7: 1, 20.) How shall we know people by their fruits if we do not judge them? ...

There are many situations in which intelligent people must judge others. No man can conduct business successfully without ability to judge character. Executives, employment officials, and overseers of labor must form opinions concerning the ability of those who work under them, and also concerning spiritual qualities. Dependability, honesty, and cooperativeness may be more important than mere skill. Church leadership requires ability to judge people.

All of us must be selective in the choice of friends, mates, and business associates. To carry on an interesting conversation one must judge the particular interests of those with whom he talks. It is well also to know who will take a joke in good humor, and who will be sensitive.

What, then, is Jesus warning against? It is setting ourselves up as judge and jury to pass on the moral worth of our brother. It is pointing out the motes in his eye, the faults in his character.

As sinners, we have warped judgment. Frequently we denounce bitterly in others the faults our consciences condemn in ourselves. A beam in our eye makes us hypocritical of even a splinter in a brother's eye. On the other hand, we may tend to excuse in others the sins we like to commit.

Our information is insufficient for judgment.

The effect of a critical spirit is most harmful to the critic. He thinks to hide his own defects behind criticism of others. He who is too busy discovering weeds in his neighbor's garden is likely to let grass take possession of his own.

—Walter L. Moore, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 19, 1948.

The golden rule is a safeguard against censorious judgment. ...

Censorious judgment [is being] inclined to pick out the faults of others, criticize them, inspect them, talk about them and magnify them, and thereby inflict constant pain. Censoriousness is the outgrowth of a cruel and selfish spirit that ignores his own great faults, which are beams, but loves to point out the motes in the lives of others. The evil heart not only loves to make them, but the evil heart loves to hear them. They are the spice of many newspapers and the charm of most of gossip. It gives pain and trouble it produces heart burnings and alienations.

But the golden rule when carried out in our conduct toward each other is a safeguard against censorious judgment as we would not have our brother to inflict pain on us by harsh and merciless criticism, so we will not pain and mortify him.

—F.R. Boston, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., May 30, 1895 .

Some men use the beam in their eye to pick out the mote in their brother's.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., Aug. 22, 1909.

Careful assortment and selection of the motes and beams would make life's relations a bit more smooth.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., March 6, 1927.

Isn't it strange how a mote in a man's eye makes the entire world look wrong?

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, March 2, 1921.

When we attribute wrong motives to a brother, we are judging him by what we would do if we were in his place.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., Jan. 26, 1927.

It’s well to have something good in mind when judging others by ourselves.

—Jack Warwick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa., Dec. 15, 1936.

It is always easy to condemn the man who faces temptations concerning which we know nothing.

—Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., May 29, 1941.

A label is the thing we paste in other people when we are not quite able to answer their arguments.

—Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., Oct. 16, 1941.


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