7 “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. 6Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you. 7″Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12″In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. 13″Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. 14For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15″Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will know them by their fruits.”
Taking some or all of the separate teachings in this passage, what story from your own life might you tell to illustrate each? Recall one or more of the foundational principles that guide your life and actions. How might you briefly summarize the principle, and can you recall—and retell—the longer story of how you learned and appropriated the principle?
Jesus says in verse 1 and 2, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” When I read this, I think about all the times in my life I have been harsh to others, stingy with forgiveness, and ungraciously critical of the motives of others. When I honestly think about it, I am embarrassed by my lack of compassion for others and realize that is not how I want to be treated. I want people to give me the benefit of the doubt, to see that I am truly trying to do my best with what I have. In fact, I expect that people will treat me compassionately and I am indignant when they treat me as if I have ulterior motives.
In my best relationships, I trust that the other person sees my motives as caring. This trust allows me to be vulnerable and open. For example, I know that when my husband is hurt or angry with me, there is usually something that I need to look at within myself. He is not using anger or hurt to manipulate me. In my struggling relationships, I lack this trust, so I build up defences to protect myself. I wonder what it would be like if I acted like everyone was doing the best they could and no one was doing anything to me.
I think this is especially important now, while patience is thin, and we all are a little bit crabby. So basically, what I am saying is that because I want to be judged with kindness and mercy, I am to judge others with kindness and mercy. It is like forgiveness in the Lord’s prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Treat others how you want to be treated BECAUSE God will treat you as you treat others. Hmmmm…. By Rev. Mary
God, grant us the grace and patience to reflect upon our daily experiences that we might discern and distill the wisdom to be gleaned therein. Amen.
Crafton, Barbara Cawthorne. A Journey With Matthew: The 50 Day Bible Challenge . Forward Movement. Kindle Edition.