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1 Corinthians 6:1-11
1 Corinthians 2:6-16
Family relationships are some of the most important relationships invented by the Lord. Because it is so important Satan is constantly attacking the family and especially the marriage. It seems that one of the biggest issues and problems within families and marriages is an issue of judgment. The same is true with friendships as well. Whenever there is a family dispute or a dispute between friends there is almost always an issue with one family member feeling misjudged by another family member. The result is tension and strife within the relationship. From this we have famously coined the phrase from scripture “do not judge lest ye be judged.” This comes out of Luke 6:37 and it is also in Matthew 7 during the sermon on the mount. From this phrase Christians developed this theology that true Christians should not and cannot judge other people for their sins as we are all sinners. While this may be true that we are all sinners this theology of not being allowed to judge people, I believe is actually a false theology in at least with the context that this theology is being understood through these two places of scripture. If we read further in the scripture, I believe we get a better understanding of the context of this phrase.
When we read Luke 6:37-38 I think we tend to read it as a commandment from Jesus. We read that we are being told not to judge other people. If Jesus stopped at verse 38 then I could understand how one might think that. However, Jesus does not stop there and he goes on to talk about trying to talk to your friend or family member about the speck of dust in their eye while we have a plank in our own eye and how we should remove the plank from our own eye before trying the remove the speck of dust from our family member of friend’s eye. When putting it in context of verses 39-42 it appears to me that 37-38 and the beginning verses of Matthew 7 are more of a warning than a command. It is more or less warning us that that if we are going to judge someone else then we need to keep in mind that we are going to be judged back with the same amount of mindfulness as we are judging that person. In other words, it is warning us to judge fairly when we do judge.
My wife and I have disagreements from time to time and whenever there is an argument or disagreement with me and my wife it is obviously the case that in every argument if she would just see my point of view and admit that she is wrong then all our arguments would be solved. And you know what? It is obvious to her that if I would just admit that I am wrong and just see her side and admit she is right then all our problems would be solved. Generally, when we have a disagreement one of us feels like we are being judged by the other. However, if we would live in our relationship as is written in Matthew 7 and Luke 6 then all our arguments would be resolved much quicker. When we are in disagreement with each other it is because Eimy is often trying the take a speck of dust out of my eye when it is clear to me that there is a plank in her eye. And often it seems that I am trying to get a speck of dust out of Eimy’s eye when there is this huge plank in my own eye. What Jesus is actually telling us about judging each other is not that we are not allowed to or cannot judge the other side. What he is saying is to take responsibility for your own fault and your own part to the situation first before you start to address that other person’s faults to the situation. This means that we need to be willing to accept that just maybe it is not the other person who is the problem but is might be ourselves that carries the majority of the blame. Therefore, we should address ourselves first and then we can address the other person afterwards.
Wouldn’t difficult situations be completely different if we would just accept our own responsibility first. If I would just admit and accept responsibility for my own actions that are causing the dispute between me and my wife then I would be first off free from guilt and more than likely the whole situation would be diffused and she very well might humble herself too and accept her own faults to the problem as well. However, whoever is willing to yield and take responsibility first is going to be the one that will have the most peace in the relationship. Christian Comedian Jeff Allen has famously coined the phrase “Happy wife happy life.” He talks about how early on in his marriage he was talking to his dad and his dad gave him this great advice. He asked him this one question. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy because you cannot have both? So, Jeff says then that he is a happy, happy man as he hasn’t been right in 30 years now. This sounds funny but there is some truth to this. One of the biggest problems in relationships is an issue with people not being willing to humble themselves enough to accept responsibility for their part of the problem. Because both sides refuse to yield then the results are hatred and broken friendships and in marriages often divorce. All because we do not follow this warning from Jesus and put it into practice. The truth is that we are both wrong but the first one to take responsibility is going to be the bigger person.
1 Corinthians 6:1-11 talks about the various disputes that Christians have with other Christians. Paul says that if we are taking our fellow brother or sister in Christ to court to let a secular world judge solve our dispute for us then we are not living as followers of Christ. It is because we are not following the Luke 6 and Matthew 7 warning from Jesus. We are judging before accepting our own responsibility for the dispute. The result is a broken relationship.
1 Corinthians 2 explains to us how it is that Christians should judge others. It is not through the judgment of how the world understands judgment but it is through the Holy Spirit that we judge. When we allow ourselves to be taught by the Spirit then we judge through the wisdom of the Spirit. Through the spirit we acknowledge our own faults and weaknesses but also understand that others have faults and weaknesses as well. However, when we first acknowledge our own faults then the warning that Christ gives us about judging others becomes void because we can now judge and discern through the Spirit. This is because we think in terms of the mind of God and not our own mind.
Too often the scripture in Matthew 7 and Luke 6 is misused by non-believers that Christians are just hypocrites who judge others. They use this scripture then to excuse themselves from their own sins. Just because Christians are imperfect humans does not mean then that it is ok for sinners to keep on sinning. The reality is that sin has a consequence and the consequence is an eternal prison called Hell that all of us rightfully deserve. However, those who acknowledge their sinfulness, repent, and accept the sacrifice of Christ and allow him to sanctify their lives then these sinners saved by grace may enter eternity with the Lord though they do not deserve this reward.
If we are to save the marriages and friendships that God holds so dear then we need to start by understanding proper family judgment. Judgment first starts with yourself and only once you have dealt with yourself and you part that then you can deal with the other person’s issues. If we first judge ourself then we can only in return be judged in the same manner in which that we judged that other person. The other person has no choice but to acknowledge their own faults and ask for forgiveness as well. Therefore, acknowledge your own need for forgiveness first and then offer up forgiveness to your friend or spouse. When we do this there will be peace in the family because Family judgment will have properly taken place.