Radical Justice

Raise your hand if you’ve ever walked into a church or Christian group and felt judged. Unfortunately, I would guess that most my readers lifted their hands just now. It is unfortunate that this tends to be the case as we are about to read now how Jesus rebuked self righteous judgment.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way yo uh judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Matthew 7:1-2

How quickly we give ourselves room for error, yet how readily do we judge others! I know I’ve thought of others sinning, “they’re how old? They should know better! Did they even think?” Though when it comes to downfalls in my own life, I think, “well I just didn’t know,” or, “I just wasn’t thinking,” or, “I was just in a bad place.” Time and time again I give myself a pass while assuming others should be held to a higher standard.

But according to Jesus, that’s not how this works. If I were to think that someone must act a certain way by age or an accumulation of knowledge or by simply thinking, then I too must hold myself to the same measures of justice. The standard in which I use to judge others is the standards by which I will be judged. I know for myself, this drive me to repentance. I can’t live up to some of the standards I have put on others. Yet, the small, unimportant judgements I make here on earth in my mind or with my mouth are the justice markers in will be held to in eternity.

This is terrifying and humbling. I love to sit and think on how Jesus paid for my sins and how I am redeemed and free. But I ought to more often think on how he also did that for my husband, my parents, my friends, the random person on the street, and even that one person that simply drives me crazy. I am atoned by the blood of Jesus so I can stand pure in front of a just God and so is my fellow man should they choose to accept this gift.

I am merely his child, a disciple and witness of the most high God. If I were to “play God” by judging others, I tip the scales out of my favor. This beautiful gift that I relish in could all be swept away because I think in my self righteousness, not God’s righteousness, that I have a place on the judgment seat in other people’s lives. I do not. When I go there and hold people to an unobtainable standard, I, not they, will be judged by such unobtainable standard. I’m drinking poison and hoping others will feel the result.

Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:3-5

The funny thing about us judging others is often we’re passing judgment over a minute character flaw while we have a gaping sin in our life. We’re placing those around us under a microscope whereas we are looking at ourselves through rose colored glasses.

We think we’re being great Christians by “fixing” those around us, but how can we fix someone when we ourselves need fixing? God didn’t call us to do his job and change the hearts and lives if the people around us. He called us to be open vessel for him to work in about out of our lives, not play doctor to other people’s souls. We can’t change people, and we can’t even impact them if we aren’t intentionally dealing, with the help and grace of God, on the issues we have in our own lives. We will damage others more than help if we nit pick the the struggles they have while not addressing the battles we ourselves need to face.

I don’t think it’s wrong to help other through a struggle or encourage them to be all they’re meant to be. We even can judge our fellow Christians in a christlike manner. Jesus himself tells us to judge each other correctly in John 7:24. He is not contradicting himself. But the context of the judgement matters. We are to judge by God’s standards, not our own. And before we judge others, we ought to take a deep careful look at our own lives to be sure we ourselves are doing our best to maintain a clean conscious and live according to God’s word. When we judge our fellow man, it shouldn’t be to condemn, but rather to encourage them to be who Christ has called them to be.

In a world that if focused on what’s wrong with everyone else, let us instead turn our focus from outward to inward. Let us be so consumed with reaching for Christ and living blameless that we lose any extra time we hand to pass unnecessary judgments. If God does have us correct one of our brothers or sisters, let us do so with caution and humility. Let us rid ourselves of logs of character discrepancies and unachievable standards of judgment. Let us become radically more like Christ in his ways and his grace.

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