Who Are You to Judge?

What Does The Bible Teach Us About Judging Others?

Dan Franklin
Jun 25, 2023    42m
Join us as we explore the question, "What does the Bible teach us about judging others?". Jesus does not teach us that judgement is bad; He calls us to judge how we want to be judged. The same judgment that we use toward others will be used toward us, so we need to learn to judge with mercy Video recorded at Upland, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Life Bible - Who Are You To Judge
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Jill: [00:00:20] Good morning, everybody, my name is Jill [inaudible], and I have the privilege of reading to you from God's Word today. I'm going to be reading Matthew 7 verses 1 through 6, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How 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? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." This is God's Word.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:17] Amen. You can grab a seat. So for years in our country, there's a certain Bible verse that I think could probably be universally thought of as the verse that everybody knew. Whether you are Christian, especially if you are a Christian, it was probably a verse that you memorized when you were young; and if you were not a Christian, it was a verse that just was widely known in our country, just about everybody could say this verse because it was the key Christian verse. It became such a well-known verse that people would travel around to football games, stand in the stadium part of the end zone, and hold up signs with this reference on it. And then players would put it on the eye black beneath their eyes and would write the reference for this passage. What verse am I talking about? Yeah, you know it, John 3:16. And let me just say this, if there's one verse in the Bible people widely are going to know, that's a pretty good verse for people to know, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." It's a pretty good verse for everybody to know. If you're like, I didn't know that verse, it's a pretty good verse for you to know. It sums up the idea that as believers in Jesus, our message is not go do something for God, but God came and did something for us.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:39] I don't have data on this, but I believe that John 3:16 has now been supplanted by another favorite verse in our country. There's another verse that's not only known by Bible-believing Christians who read the Bible or go to a Bible-believing church but seems to be known by just about every citizen of the United States. They might not know where to find it, and they might not know who said it, but they appear ready to bring it out on just about any occasion. The new John 3:16 of our culture does appear to be the verse that you just heard Jill read, Matthew chapter 7 verse 1, "Do not judge or you too will be judged." How many of you have ever heard an unexpected person quote this verse of the Bible around you? Many of us have, and we're like, I didn't know you knew the Bible. And they might not even know it's in the Bible, they just know that it's something that said, this has become the verse of our culture. And in some ways, you might look at it and say, well, I don't know that that's a bad thing, like, this is something that Jesus said. In fact, it's something that he said in the Sermon on the Mount because we're in the middle of Matthew, this was one of the important things that Jesus said when he was setting up life under the kingdom of God. If we're treating Jesus as king, this is something that's really important. So what's the problem with this being the verse that everyone knows? And the answer is, well, nothing's wrong with this being a verse that everybody knows, what's wrong is that we don't understand what this verse means.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:14] Now, some of you might be thinking, I do. Like Dan, you might not, but I know exactly what it means, it's not that complicated, it's right there, Jesus tells us not to judge one another. Like what's complicated about that? If you see somebody else, it's not your job, you're not supposed to judge them, it's just that simple. So if there's a friend of yours and they're not married, but they're sleeping with their boyfriend, do not judge. If there's a friend of yours, and they're going out and they're getting drunk on the weekends, and they're posting about it on social media, do not judge. If it's a couple and they're going in to have an abortion, do not judge. What is so complicated about this, just do not judge.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:57] But then there's a bunch of us that'd say, no, I don't think that's what Jesus is saying. There are some clues, some pretty clear clues that what Jesus is saying in this statement is not no judging of anyone, in any situation, at any time, it doesn't seem that that's what Jesus is saying in this statement. In fact, I'll tell you a couple of reasons why we know for sure that's not what Jesus means. Twice, by the end of today, when we get through just verses 1 through 6, in the context of this same statement, we're going to see at least two times that Jesus tells us to judge people. So even within this passage, he can't mean no judging any time in any situation.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:36] Beyond this, there are other passages, I'll put one up on the screen, there's other passages where Jesus says something a little bit different or nuanced than this. John chapter 7, verse 24, I put up the beginning of the verse first, because the verse I am getting at is about judging. Jesus is speaking to a group of people, and he says, "Stop judging." Which if that was the whole verse, we'd be like, same thing, do not judge. Let me put up the whole verse, "Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead, judge correctly." Did you catch what Jesus just did, he didn't simply say, it's okay, I'll permit it if you judge sometimes. Do you know what he did? He commanded us to judge, judge correctly. Jesus when he says, do not judge here, clearly whatever he's saying, what he is not saying is you are never to make any judgment about anything or any person at any time. To make a judgment is just to make an evaluation, just to look at a person or a behavior or a situation and sort of make a judgment about it. Jesus is not saying no judging of any person in any situation at any time. And I think some of us know that some of us know that that's not right, and so when people are telling me, you shall not judge, they're not understanding it, they're not right, and so we reject sort of that wrong take on it.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:02] But unfortunately for some of us, that's as far as any of us go, we know that people are wrong if they're saying you shall not judge, therefore you're not allowed to evaluate my behavior. But we don't take the next step to say, well, what is Jesus saying? Because he clearly wants us to stop judging in some way. There's a certain kind of judging that we're doing that Jesus wants us to stop doing. And much more important than us just saying, hey, we're not going to be held hostage by somebody's wrong interpretation, is for us to say, well, here's Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount, on the longest extended sermon that we have from him, and he's talking about life when he's the king. And in a way what you could call what Jesus talks about in this passage, you could call it kingdom judging. How does Jesus want us to judge in light of him being the king of our lives? This seems pretty important. And not only this, what we're going to see in this passage, it was written to first century Israel, it is going to feel like it could have been written to 21st century Upland, this is a trans-cultural idea that we are very judgy people and that we misuse judgment.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:18] In fact, one of the things that we're going to see unfold in this passage is we're not only going to see Jesus walk us through the wrong way to judge and expose a dysfunction that I'm going to say at least 99% of us have. He's going to expose the dysfunction, but he's also going to be pointing to a brokenness inside of us that leads us to judge in the way that we do, that leads us to judge people, whether it's based on their appearance, based on their behavior, based on their decisions, based on the way that they dress, based on the way that they look, based on the way that they exercise, based on the way that they vote, based on the way that they handle things, and most of all, based on the way that they drive, or maybe it's just me. We judge all the time and there's a brokenness inside of us that's exposed by that, and that's actually what we're going to talk about at the end of the message.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:08] But here's how this is going to unfold; we're going to go through Matthew chapter 7 verses 1 through 6. So if you have a Bible, you can get there, if you're using your phone or a Bible app on your phone, you can use that also. It's going to be real simple how this is going to unfold, in verses 1 and 2, Jesus is going to give a command; in verses 3 through 5. Jesus is going to give a parable to illustrate that command; and then verse 6, Jesus is going to throw in a warning so that we don't misunderstand what he's telling us to do. A command, a parable, and a warning.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:39] Now we start with the command, we've already kind of seen it, but we'll read the whole thing now, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Now, the open question that we still haven't really answered is what kind of judging is Jesus forbidding here? What kind of judging is Jesus saying, not when I'm your king? When I'm your king, don't judge like this. We know it can't be all sorts of judging because we evaluate things all the time. If you have ever chosen a school for yourself or for your children, you judged. If you have ever voted before, you judged. If you got married, you judged. We are constantly judging; we are constantly making evaluations all the time. But Jesus points us to, he hints at us, the idea of the kind of judging that is dysfunctional, the kind of judging that doesn't fit in with Jesus being your king. And he does it through what he says at the end of verse 1, and then through verse 2, he says, "Do not judge or you too will be judged." And then he expands upon that by saying, "In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you." So he's saying the same thing twice in verse 2, the measure, he may be talking about the marketplace saying, hey, don't have one weight that you use for somebody else's goods, that they come in and sell, and then another weight that you use for your own goods use the same measure for both. And in the same way, the same judgment that you use toward others will be used toward you.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:23] So it's a big picture if we're trying to lean in and say, what kind of judging is Jesus talking about here? We could, first of all, say this, Jesus is calling us to judge how we want to be judged. Judge other people, this is actually a preview of something next week with the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. He's basically saying, Judge unto others as you would have them judge unto you, judge others in the way that you would want to be judged, and he says because the way you judge others is the way that you'll be judged. And we'll talk in a minute that he's talking about God here, he's talking about the idea that God will judge us in part based on the way that we judge others, based on how much mercy or harshness we give to others, God will be evaluating us based on that. But even apart from God, if you read verse two, you would just know this is true, this is what we do as human beings. We judge other people based on the way that they judge us, we hold them to the standard that they hold us to.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:31] So a quick story, this happened back when I was in college, but it's etched into my memory because, to me, it's such an illustration of this idea. I was in college, there were a bunch of us friends that were gathered around, we were all talking, and there was this girl who was telling a story. And as she was one of my friends who was just like kind of class clown type guy, he kept interrupting her to try to make jokes. We all know that guy, some of you are that guy, but he just kept, and it was kind of funny, but he kept derailing her story, putting jokes in here and there, interrupting, interrupting, and interrupting. Finally, she got fed up, and so one of the times that he interrupted for like the eighth time, she just turned to him and loudly in front of the whole group, yelled at him, rude, and the whole place was just like, whoa. We all paused, but then sort of things went on. My friend, who had just been called rude, stopped talking, but that didn't mean that he wasn't paying attention. Do you know what he was doing? He was hunting, he was waiting for the moment that he could hold her to the same standard she had just held him. It was like one of those nature shows, he was like a lion hiding in the grass, just like waiting for the antelope to come, waiting for his moment, so he's there quietly, but he's waiting and waiting. And sure enough, at some point, maybe ten minutes later, somebody else was talking and that girl interrupted, and guess what he did? He pounced, ruuuuuuuuude, right at her. He pounced like a lion on the antelope, he'd won the day, he had proven the point, and he held her to the same standard that she held him. We all do this.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:24] We all do this, whether it's yelling at them, whether it's capturing their old tweets, whether it's pulling up an old video, we all do this, we love doing this, we love catching people in hypocrisy. Do you know who's the best at this? Kids, like they really are. If you're a kid, you are the best at this. You constantly are recognizing, like, oh, I thought we didn't yell in this household. Isn't that what you said? Hey, don't you think maybe you should put down your phone? Like kids notice this stuff, because we say stuff with kids, and we're like, hey, no, you shouldn't do this, and then they start to notice you do it also. They hold us to the same standard that we hold them to. We all do this. So Jesus is making a big-picture point here, he's saying you will, by other people, and then more significantly, by God, you will be judged based on the way that you judge others.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:20] So do you know what keywords should come to our mind in how we judge others? Mercy. Judge with mercy. Have you ever noticed that most of us are much more merciful to ourselves than to other people? Like you yell at someone and then you're like, well, I shouldn't have done that, but I was really tired, I'd had a hard week, that person knows how to push my buttons, I don't usually. We have all of these mitigating circumstances to show why we should receive mercy, and we might be right, we might be right that all of those things should be taken into account when somebody evaluates our behavior right then. Pretty infrequently we extend that same mercy to others when they yell. Very infrequently do, we say, they probably didn't get much sleep last night, probably that person knows how to push their buttons, especially if that person was us, and we're like I didn't do anything. We very frequently extend that kind of mercy to others.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:22] Jesus says, when you're judging, judge, by the standard that you want to be held to. Which in part, makes it clear that Jesus is saying, hey, you get out of the judge's chair. God is the one in the judge's chair, so if you're making any evaluation, it should not be based on your thoughts and opinions, it should be based on something that God has said. And if you are making that evaluation, make sure you are ready to be held to that same evaluation. If we only did this, it would shrink our judgment of others way down.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:34] But Jesus has something more that he wants to say to us, and that is through a parable, a quick parable that he gives. I love this parable in verses 3 through 5, because what Jesus does here is both ridiculous and totally accurate in what He describes here. He says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" So quick question, how many of you have ever had a speck of dust in your eye? Yeah, pretty miserable, right? Like, this is not nothing, when Jesus talks about somebody having a speck in their eye, that's not nothing, that's something that's really bothersome and you want to get it out as soon as possible. So he's not describing a situation where there's nothing wrong. He's just saying, isn't it ironic that you notice the speck in your brother's eye? And meanwhile, there's a giant beam of wood protruding out of your own eye, and that doesn't seem to bother you. How capable we all are of noticing the flaws in others before we notice our own.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:04] So Jesus goes on in this parable and he says, "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?" And then he says in verse 5, "You hypocrite." Why a hypocrite? Because you seem to think that it's more important to hold the speck person to this standard, and you're not interested in holding yourself to that standard when you've got the plank. "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." In other words, Jesus is telling a story, and in the story two people have problems. There are two problems, the sawdust in the eye, is a real legit problem; the plank in the eye is a much bigger problem. And Jesus is saying it's not that you're wrong in seeing that both are a problem, but you’re disordered in your priorities. You're noticing the flaw in the other person, and you are blind to the much bigger problem that you have.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:09] Right out of college, I was a youth pastor and we had something pretty dramatic happen that related to the youth group and related to the church. So I was a young man, 22, 23 when this happened, and there was a family that came around our church and started to get involved and everything seemed fine. It was like mom, stepdad, a couple of kids, then some odd things started to happen that made us think there's something not quite right about this, and what became increasingly evident is that the father/stepdad was abusive. It started to become clear, like, something's not right here, and then it became clear, and was confirmed, he was being physically abusive. So we confronted him on it, and we looked to deal with it as a church. We got the family out of there because he was not a safe person. In fact, part of the family came to live with me and Karina for a little while, while we were sorting it out. When this happened, the stepdad lashed out, it could have been much worse, thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt when he did this. But he lashed out, got arrested, and then later on went to prison. So that was kind of how that situation went.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:14] A couple of years later, I was no longer at that same church, I was with another church, and I went on a men's retreat. And it was one of those where you go somewhere, so I was with the group of guys from our church, but there were other churches that were there also at the same time. And lo and behold, I look over at one of the men's groups from the other church, and guess who's there? It's this guy. I was sort of like, I wanted to say the word awkward, but that doesn't quite capture it. It's like, awkward is like when you say goodbye to a friend, and then you keep walking together to your cars and you're like, oh, shoot, like we already said goodbye. That's awkward, this is beyond awkward, it's like this guy went to prison related to things going on, so I didn't know how it was all going to go. But at one point later on in the weekend, he sort of tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could talk with me. He wasn't being aggressive at all, so I wasn't concerned he was going to do something, and so I was like, sure. And so we went off to talk and I just remember going through my mind, I was like, well, what's going to happen here? Like is God doing something? Is there going to be a chance for reconciliation because this is a pretty dramatic situation? Like what's going to happen here? And he got me alone and he said, you know, I've just been thinking back to how everything went down a few years ago. And he said, I really feel like you didn't handle things very well. Yeah, that's what was going through my mind. I was sort of like, and here's the thing, to be fair, I was like 23, no doubt he was right. Like no doubt, if I were to go back and look at myself now, you know, I would probably say that was dumb, I shouldn't have said that. Like, I'm sure all of that was right. Between the two of us, my shortcomings in handling it were not the biggest problem going on in the situation. So my mind was sort of racing as he said, I think you didn't handle this well. And I just said, so you went to prison, right? And he sort of confirmed it. I'm just like, is my memory wrong on this? Like, you were evaluated by the police and by a judge and you went to prison. And he was like, yeah. And I said, but do you think that the problem that needs to be addressed is me? And he said, yes. I don't remember what all I said, but I just kind of made it clear like, I'm not going to be apologizing to you on this.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:41] Now, here's why I tell this story, here's the danger of telling this story. Right now, do you know what you're all doing? Yeah, you're all judging him. Just admit it, every one of us is doing it, we all are. Of course we are, of course, we're judging this guy. The point of me telling that story is not so that we can all look back and you can all think of somebody that we've never met before and judge him. The point of this is to show that this guy was not a different species than you and I are. And this only illustrates how absolutely self-deceived and blind we can be to our own sins and to our own flaws. And we can see him in other people a mile off, but with ourselves, we can be so absolutely blind.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:24] So Jesus gives us this parable, and this parable all points us toward this reality, he said, first of all, judge, how you want to be judged. And now with this parable, Jesus is saying, judge yourself before you judge others. Take the plank out of your eye before you're judging others. Deal with your own dysfunction and blind spot before you try to help someone else out. But here's the difficult thing about this, when we think about blind spots, you know, you know the difficulty about blind spots? You're blind to them. So we can look at this and be like, all right, good, good application. I will deal with my blind spots. You're like, how? Like, maybe I have a blind spot about my parenting, maybe I'm constantly judging others, and I have some dysfunctions. Maybe I have a blind spot about my anger. Maybe I have a blind spot about drinking. Like, I don't know, it could be any number of things, but I don't know because it's a blind spot.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:17] But God has given us two gifts to help a lot with our blind spots. One of the gifts is his word. I mean, in James chapter 1, there's an illustration that James gives that compares God's word to a mirror. Has anybody ever been reading the Bible, just on your own you're reading the Bible and suddenly you realize you're reading about yourself. Like, this happens, you're just like, oh, wow, this is me. One of the reasons I'm so convinced that this is a divinely given book is because it reads us. We read it, but it reads us. So if you want to see your blind spots, if you want to see yourself more clearly, bring yourself to the mirror of God's Word and allow God's word to expose these things. God has a way of doing it.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:06] But sometimes even that is not quite enough. Because we can be self-deceived even reading God's word, and we're like, yeah, anybody doing what he's talking about here should change, but we don't see that it's us. So sometimes we need the second gift, not just God's word, but God's people. God has put people in our lives in order to help us see what we can't see. And again, this was years ago, back in college. I told this story to some guys earlier this week, and I think their only takeaway was that my college experience was very weird because of this story. I went to a Christian college and literally one of the assignments for one of my classes was to go to three people, to go to a roommate, a friend, and a family member and ask each of them what areas in my life they saw that they thought that I needed to grow. And the guys were like, that was a literal assignment? Yes, this was an actual assignment. I did it, I don't know what I was expecting to have happen but let me just say they had some ideas. I did not get blank pages back where they were like, no, Dan, you're good, they were like, we have some thoughts. And there were trends, the same thoughts kept coming up in all three of them. And I was like, they're probably right if all three were talking about it. And just so you know, the things that they were coming back with, it was not just like, oh, you dress sloppy, like, it was not something like that, it was character issues. It had to do, well, I'll tell you, it had to do, most of it had to do with me being very impatient, and in particular, impatient towards women. And I was just like, whoa, it was unpleasant to read. It was not the picture of myself that I liked to have, it was wounding. But Proverbs 27:6 says, "Wounds from a friend can be trusted." When your friend comes to you and says something unpleasant about you, you can trust that, and God has put people in our lives to help us see things more clearly, especially when you see trends happening.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:12] Man, if you have a good friend and they are brave enough to tell you something unpleasant about yourself, they might be wrong, but you should assume that they're right. I've said this before, especially with alcohol, because, hey, alcohol is a gift from God, it's not wrong to drink alcohol. But if there is anybody in your life, especially a spouse, if there is anybody in your life that thinks that you have a drinking problem, assume that you do, assume that they're right. In the same way, if anybody in your life thinks that you have an anger problem, assume that you do. If anybody in your life thinks that you have a jealousy problem, assume that you do, assume that they're right on it. If you later on figure out they're actually wrong, I don't have that problem, bonus, that's great, but they're probably right.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:54] And I think Jesus is leading us not only to say I'm willing to receive it if somebody comes to me but that we would actually so much want to get the planks out of our eyes that we would go and ask people. This could be one of the really powerful application points of this sermon is for you to go to someone or a few people, and maybe there's a specific thing you want to ask about, or maybe it's more general, maybe it just is that question, what areas in my life do you see that you think I need to grow? I mean, here's the only thing I need to tell you, don't do this unless you're ready to hear it. I'm being dead serious. If you're like Dan told me to do this, I'll go do it. Don't do it unless you really actually want to hear, because you're probably going to hear some things that you're not going to like. And if you tell your friends, tell me what's lacking in me, and then they come and they tell you and you go off on them, they're probably not going to do it again, you're going to teach them not to do that. So if even right now, you're like, I think I want to do this, honestly, I don't think I'm mature right now in this moment to do this, then wait till you're ready.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:58] But if you do this, you are inviting a mirror to come and show you the plank that is keeping you not only from living joyfully before God but is keeping you from being able to help others. Because did you see how verse 5 ended? Verse 5 ended with Jesus saying, wouldn't it be great if you could help that brother with the speck? That'd be wonderful. You're not going to be able to as long as the plank is there. So judge yourself before judging others.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:29] Now we're going to do verse 6 quickly. Verse 6, people debate, like, does this even have anything to do with the previous verses, or is this just a standalone piece of wisdom that Jesus has? I think it ties in, and I'll show you how. Jesus gives the same illustration twice in this verse, he says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs." Now, in the first century, I know we love dogs, we're like, dogs are great. Dogs were not domesticated in the first century, they were wild, feral, dangerous animals. So dogs and pigs are both dangerous, unclean animals. And he talks about giving what's sacred to the dogs and throwing your pearls to swine. That's where that phrase comes from, pearls before swine. So the idea here is he's saying, all right, don't take something of great value and waste it on something that's not going to value it. And he gives a further warning, he says if you do, they, and the they for the first one is probably the pigs, they may trample them, the pearls, under their feet and turn, and this is probably the dogs here, they may turn and tear you to pieces, they may turn and attack you. You may end up wasting, and even being hurt by taking this valuable thing and giving it to somebody who's not going to value it.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:41] And here's why I think this ties in, I think Jesus is giving just a brief warning. He's like, all right, I just told you, here's what would be great. What would be great is if you were so clear on the different things that you need to deal with that you can see clearly and help your brothers and sisters with the specks in their own eyes. That would be wonderful if you could help them with that, because who wants a speck in their eye? But he says, don't go around and be the professional speck inspector. Some people are going to be ready to hear it, some people God is going to call you to go and do this even if they're not ready to hear it. But I think what Jesus is saying here is don't think that it is always your obligation to tell everyone every flaw that they have. Not only will it not be good for your relationship with them if you're doing it all the time, but sometimes there's going to be clear indications they are not going to receive it, and you don't need to incur a whole bunch of pain to yourself, simply out of obligation of feeling like, I've got to go get that speck out of their eyes. Sometimes they're showing clearly, they're not ready for it, they're not going to receive it, they're not mature enough to handle it, or you're not very connected to them and you've got to pray that somebody else does it. You don't have to do this with everyone, he gives us a warning.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:59] Now here's what we need to do, and this is really important. I want us to back up because there's a bigger question that we need to ask. Jesus exposes a universal human dysfunction here with the judging that we don't hold people to the same standards that we hold ourselves to, that we don't judge ourselves first, that we're very judgy people, and we got to back up and just ask the question why do we do this? Why is it such an impulse? Why for some of us, does this even feel like an addiction that we're doing this without even thinking about it? We're doing it all the time; you've already done it 12 times and the day has barely got started. I do this all the time, I'm constantly judging people, Why do we do this? And I think there actually is an answer to this question. I think the reason why we do this is because as human beings, we are so deeply insecure about our place in the world that the only way to make sure that we're okay is to bring down other people. We all know we're going to be judged, I don't care if you're an atheist in here, you know you're going to be judged. You'll even hear very secular people talk about, like, how will history remember us? Which I always laugh because I'm like, history is not going to remember you. But even that's an indication that we kind of know, we all know we're going to be judged. Whether you think you're going to be judged by God or by other people or by some impersonal force called history, we all know we're going to be judged. And what we really want is we want to still be standing at the end of the judgment. We want to come through the judgment and be declared that we are justified in how we lived our lives. And most of us are deeply afraid that we won't be, but we think, you know what? I might be justified as a parent if I point out all the ways that these other parents are even worse than me. I might be justified as a person who struggles with anger if I point out all the ways that these other people blow up more than I do. I might be justified despite my greed and possessions, if I show that there are a lot of people who are more greedy than I am. We're insecure about where we fit in, and judging people is a great way to try to feel taller by bringing people lower. We know we're going to be judged, and we want to make sure that we're justified.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:22] And this is where I want you to see something, I think when the Bible talks about justification, it's not just some far-off imaginary theological idea, it's dealing with our lives right now, we know we need to be justified when we're going to be judged. Here's what the Apostle Paul says about this in Galatians chapter 2, verse 16. He says, "So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in d Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified." Paul makes it clear, yeah, if you want to come through the judgment, you are going to be judged, if you want to come through the judgment and be justified, you better not be banking on your good behavior because you won't be justified by it. I don't care if you're not as bad as some other people, I don't care if you've exposed their hypocrisy, you will not make it through the judgment on your own two feet. You'll make it through the judgment only if you put your faith in the one who did make it through the judgment. Only if you put your faith in the one who lived a perfect sinless life, offered that to you as a gift, and then died to pay for all of your sins. We want to be justified, and there's a way to be justified, but it's not through judging others and bringing them down, it's through coming with desperate faith to Jesus and then resting in the Gospel.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:55] And for some of you, maybe this is a message where you need to do this for the first time, you're a very judgy person, you're constantly trying to figure out how you're going to make it through, and you have not put your faith in Jesus. The solution to your problem is not for you to try to get just a little bit better, the solution to your problem is to put your faith in Jesus, because that's the only way you're ever going to be justified. And for us as believers, this means we get to take this reality and we get to rest in the Gospel of Jesus, we get to rest. It's not just that Jesus is telling us, don't judge, it's that Jesus is also telling us, you don't have to, you don't have to desperately, feverishly try to make yourself taller by making other people shorter. You get to rest in the Gospel of Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:43] Do you know what happens if you rest in the Gospel of Jesus? First of all, it's much easier to take constructive criticism. I'm not saying it's ever super easy, but it's much easier to take constructive criticism because if somebody is right and you have some flaws, that's not the end of all things. Jesus died for that also, that means you can take it in. You can say, well, gosh, what if they're right? What if I need to deal with this? Well, if I need to deal with this, I'm going to add it to the list of the many things that are wrong with me, thank God I have a Savior, and thank God I'm not standing on my own two feet. We suddenly get way less defensive because when somebody sees something wrong with us, they are not undoing us, they're simply pointing out a reality.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:32] And do you know what else happens if we rest in the Gospel of Jesus, we become way more merciful to other people because we're living in the constant reality of how much mercy we've received. And you can't spend time thinking about how much mercy you've received without giving more mercy to other people who desperately need it.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:32] So here's what I'm going to do. In a moment, I'm going to pray for us on this, but just even as I'm talking right now, if you're a pastor, elder, or a prayer team member, I'm going to invite you right now to start coming to the front where we always welcome people who want to pray afterward. Because there are a few different reasons why you might feel called to come up afterward for prayer.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:43] One is if you simply realize that you have been living in the terror of being exposed and being judged by others. Maybe for some of you, something even happened later that did feel like an exposure where you're just like, gosh, this ugly part of myself is now known to other people and what will I do? I'm crushed. You will be crushed by that unless you go by faith to the one who was crushed in your place. We bring ourselves to Jesus, we recognize that his judgment of us is right, and we rest in his care.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:20] And secondly, some of you might need to come forward because you've realized you are very judgy. You are constantly judging, and there needs to be some repentance because your judgment is not helping anyone. You're not going around assisting people, you're simply making yourself feel a little less dirty because you're focusing on the dirt on other people, and you need to repent and be set free. Friends, God doesn't want us to be stuck in this. And when Jesus says do not judge in a way it's a command, and in a way, it's an invitation to treat him as the king and to be liberated from the desperate need to try to build ourselves up through tearing others down.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:02] So I want to invite you to join me in prayer right now. Father, I pray that you liberate us from the tyranny of being the judge. We are not the judge, you are the judge, and we thank you that you are. But Father, so frequently we put ourselves in your place and we sit in judgment of others. Father, allow us to be able to rightly evaluate what we're seeing, to be thoughtful, and at the same time to pour out mercy to others while judging ourselves first. Father, if you've exposed some things in us, please lead us to see that as an opportunity to freedom. And Father, if you've exposed in us a spirit of judgment toward others, we repent, and we pray that you lead us into so much rest in Jesus, so much rest in your love, that we simply don't need to do this anymore. I pray that you move in us and among us. And I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:41:09] I'm just going to invite you to stand, and I'm just going to read a short passage as a benediction for us. I hope you see how this ties in, how we respond to God's love. This is a passage from First John chapter 4, verses 10, 11, and 12, it says, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." Amen? Amen. Let's respond to that. God bless you today, I hope to see you at the picnic afterward. Come forward for prayer if you need it. God bless you today.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848