Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:37-38)
The Lord’s warning about being judgmental doesn’t mean that we can’t lovingly help others overcome their sins. What Jesus is concerned about is that we avoid being quick to criticize and find fault with other people.
We all make judgments about how to apply the truths of God’s word. However, not everything about how we live is clearly defined in the Bible as right or wrong. There are things that we as Christians can differ over and that we shouldn’t judge each other about.
Condemning people is even worse than judging. To condemn means to conclude that because we think someone has sinned, they can’t possibly be true Christians and they deserve to be punished by God.
The Lord encourages us to take a very different approach to judging and condemning. As Christians, we should be forgiving. This opens the way for reconciliation. If we reach out in love, then even if someone has done something wrong, they won’t so easily hold onto their sinful attitudes.
In addition to being forgiving, the Lord also encourages us to be giving. We are to do good to everyone, even to our enemies. We are to give in love, helping people even when they themselves are far less than loving toward us.
The Lord warns us that if we maintain a judgmental and condemning attitude toward each other, then we ourselves won’t experience God’s love. However, the outcome is very different if we are both forgiving and giving. This is evidence of true faith and the presence of the Holy Spirit. A person who shows their faith by forgiving and giving will be forgiven and loved by God.
The Lord then illustrates the extent of God’s love and blessing toward those who are gracious in their judgments. He pictures God filling us with his love as someone would fill a container with grain. Once it’s full, God presses down the grain and shakes the container to make room for more. He wants it to be as full as possible. Then filling it to the point of overflowing, God pours his love out on us.
The Lord demonstrates his point by saying that “with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Will we use God’s measure of overflowing generosity or will we hold back on our love?
The Lord Jesus knew that, as sinful people, being judgmental is something that we all struggle with. We would do well to listen to him, accept his warning, repent of our sins and then let the Holy Spirit work a more loving and gracious attitude in our hearts.
The way to begin this change and to keep it going is to realize that we are no better than anyone else. We should keep in mind our own struggles to be loving people. At the same time, we should always remember the love that God has shown toward us personally, despite our sinfulness.