Sermon on the Mount: Don't Judge

Sermon on the Mount:
Don't Judge
Stephen "Red" Shumate
Oct 29th, 2017
Image courtesy of Paul Gooddy at

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Sermon on the Mount: Don't Judge

Matthew 7:1-6
“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use. 3 Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a beam of wood in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye. 6 Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.

1. Pearls of Wisdom 
When I first read this passage of scripture, I’m always thrown by the last verse.  “Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.”

Here Jesus has been talking about judgement, but then all of a sudden throws in a comment about pearls and pigs.  These things don’t seem to be related at first.  But when we look a little more carefully, we can find the connection. 

In verses 3,4,&5 we notice that Jesus is talking about judgement in terms of our “brother” in Christ.  Meaning that when we are talking about judgement today, we are talking about it in terms of judging our brother’s and sisters in Christ or fellow Christians.

Whereas at the end of this passage, Jesus says “don’t toss your pearls before pigs” meaning that we don’t share the “pearls” of wisdom that God has given us with those who have rejected Jesus.  In other words, we aren’t to preach judgement to them.  We do share the gospel… but there is a clear difference. The pearls of wisdom is how we should live, and how we shouldn’t live.

One of the running themes throughout the sermon is having a spiritual point of view vs. a physical point of view.  And as Christians, we understand these pearls of wisdom from a spiritual point of view and we really do understand how they are pearls of wisdom.  However, those who have rejected Jesus, see these pearls from a physical point of view, which means they don’t understand them and insulted by them.  And as a result, they reject them and they “trample them [pearls] under their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.”

How many times have we seen this play out in today’s society?  Think about it.  Anytime a Christian value is brought into the lime light by the media or someone trying to stand up for their rights as a Christian, the world tries to tear that down and destroy it…and then they tear to pieces the person who is preaching their values to a sinful world. 

So, there is clear distinction here, that when Jesus does talk about judging one another, He separates judging Brothers in Christ, from preaching to those who have rejected Jesus.

2. Speck vs Beam
For our next point, I want to look at another scripture that at first glance might seem to contradict what Jesus says here in the Sermon on the Mount. 

Galatians 6:1
Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted.

Okay, so do we or don’t we?  Okay, let’s see if we can find some clarity…

Notice in our Galatian’s scripture it says, If someone is “OVERTAKEN in any wrong doing…”  This is in stark contrast to how Jesus describes the sin in the Sermon on the mount, where He describes the sin as a “speck” or  a “splinter.”

The point is that a “speck” or a “splinter” is not a sin that is overtaking you… Not that any sin is minor…But the difference here is between looking for every little thing someone is doing wrong, versus a very apparent sin that is getting ready to ruin someone’s life. Jesus tells us not to nitpick other’s, especially when we have bigger sins in our own lives.

Secondly…Galatians says
Only those who are “Spiritual” should confront them, and confront them in gentleness.  What does it mean here to be spiritual? 

In terms of our scripture today, this would be people who have examined themselves and have done well in removing the beams in their own eyes (and are left with specs).  In other words, if there is someone with a sin that is getting ready to overtake their lives, like alcoholism or infidelity, then we shouldn’t approach them if our lives are also a mess. 

If we find ourselves in this situation, then we should first deal with our own mess before we are in a position to address someone else.  Of course if the sin is truly about to overtake someone, then be sure to speak to your pastor and perhaps they can address the brother or sister.

3. Sin Vs Sin Against
Matthew 18:15
“If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private.”

This is another verse that clearly tells us that we should rebuke a brother… So, what is the distinction here?

The distinction here is that Matthew is specifically talking about when someone sins against you.  He isn’t talking about examining someone’s life looking for their mistakes. 

And in a case where someone sins against you, then, yes, you should approach the brother or sister… but not before, you fulfill the rest of our scripture today.  And that is to say, first we need to make sure we aren’t being hypocritical.  The sermon on the mount says that we should First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.

In other words, before we address our brothers and sisters sin against us, we need to examine ourselves, make sure we aren’t doing the same thing to them.  Many times, if we think a brother or sister is sinning against us, if we take the time to examine our own part of the relationship, we will find that we have been doing to them, exactly what they are doing to us…and sometimes we are doing it worse.  So, again, in this case, we need to first take care of our sin.  As God’s forgiveness and ask their forgiveness.  Only when we have reconciled our own sin, should we go to our brother and address their sin against us. 

4. Don’t judge
At the end of the day, Jesus tells us not to Judge others because we will be judged in the same way with the same measuring stick.  And even though we, as Christians, know this command, we sometimes do it inadvertently.  When we see someone do something we wouldn’t do, instantly, judgement enters our hearts. 

The problem is, when we do this, we are often judging without compassion and understanding.  We are making a snap judgement based on just a glimpse into that person’s life.  And often we do not know the whole story. 

I know we don’t want to be judged in this way, so we must be careful not to judge others in this way.  And the best way to avoid this is just not to judge in the first place.  Remember, Judge not lest ye be judged.

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