“Judge not, that you be not judged” (Jesus in Matthew 7:1).

Culturally this may be the most popular verse of the day. It is also undoubtedly the most abused passage of our day. The words of the Lord do not end with that one sentence. Those in a court of law would say Jesus’ words are being taken out of context. He continues: “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (vs. 2).

Most who read these devotionals are aware of that reality. The danger we face is not understanding the abuse of the passage but creating our own abuse of it in reaction to the popular abuse of the present. In our rush to explain that Jesus is not condemning judging but warning us that we will be judged how we judge, we might forget that, well, that we will be judged by how we judge. So, how will you do in the judging field today? We best not judge harshly, with cruelty, solely on appearance, the motives of others, without grace –– or we will be judged in the same way and to the same degree by one much greater than we are.

It can become very easy to fall into a pattern of judging, and the next slip is to begin to judge who is worthy of the Kingdom. Ultimately we don’t get to judge those outside the kingdom of God (He will handle that––i.e., 1 Corinthians 5:13); our job is to reach them with the Good News that can change them. Remember that the next time you with condemnation judge another made by God who needs to return to God.

Today I will…actively try at some point to connect with at least one person who I am tempted to judge wrongly based on outward things. I will try to see deeper than the external and try to understand and befriend that individual.