Judge not, that ye be not judged - These exhortations are pointed against rash, harsh, and uncharitable judgments, the thinking evil, where no evil seems, and speaking of it accordingly. The Jews were highly criminal here, and yet had very excellent maxims against it, as may be seen in Schoettgen. This is one of the most important exhortations in the whole of this excellent sermon. By a secret and criminal disposition of nature, man endeavors to elevate himself above others, and, to do it more effectually, depresses them. His jealous and envious heart wishes that there may be no good quality found but in himself, that he alone may be esteemed. Such is the state of every unconverted man; and it is from this criminal disposition, that evil surmises, rash judgments, precipitate decisions, and all other unjust procedures against our neighbor, flow.
Judge not - This command refers to rash, censorious, and unjust judgment. See Romans 2:1. Luke Luke 6:37 explains it in the sense of “condemning.” Christ does not condemn judging as a magistrate, for that, when according to justice, is lawful and necessary. Nor does he condemn our “forming an opinion” of the conduct of others, for it is impossible “not” to form an opinion of conduct that we know to be evil. But what he refers to is a habit of forming a judgment hastily, harshly, and without an allowance for every palliating circumstance, and a habit of “expressing” such an opinion harshly and unnecessarily when formed. It rather refers to private judgment than “judicial,” and perhaps primarily to the customs of the scribes and Pharisees.
There are those who are premature in their desire to reform things that to them appear faulty. They think that they should be chosen to take the place of those who have made mistakes. They undervalue what these workers have done while others were looking on and criticizing. By their actions they say: “I can do great things. I can carry the work forward successfully.” To those who think they know so well how to avoid mistakes, I am instructed to say: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Matthew 7:1. You might avoid mistakes on some points, but on other things you are liable to make grave blunders, which would be very difficult to remedy and which would bring confusion into the work. These mistakes might do more harm than those your brethren have made. 7T 279.1
The instruction given me is that the men who lay the foundation of a work, and who, in the face of prejudice, fight their way forward, are not to be placed in an unfavorable light in order that others may take their places. There are earnest workers who, in spite of the criticisms of some of their brethren, have moved forward in the work that God said should be done. Should they now be removed from their position of responsibility, an impression would be made that would be unjust to them and unfavorable to the work, because the changes made would be looked upon as a justification of the unjust criticisms made and the prejudice existing. The Lord desires that no move shall be made which would do injustice to those who have labored long and earnestly to build up the work given them. 7T 279.2Read in context »
Christ calls for service of a higher order than that which has been given Him. Men in positions of responsibility should, through receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, reveal the Redeemer much more clearly than they have revealed Him. The infinite God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son as a sacrifice for us, in order that we, by receiving Him in faith and practicing His virtues, might not perish, but have everlasting life. My brethren, how do you suppose He regards that great lack of spiritual enthusiasm manifested over the record of the infinite sacrificial offering made for our salvation? 8T 234.1
All human ambition, all boasting, is to be laid in the dust. Self, sinful self, is to be abased, not exalted. By holiness in the daily life we are to reveal Christ to those around us. Corrupt human nature is to be subdued, not exalted. Thus only can we become pure and undefiled. We are to be humble, faithful men and women. Never are we to sit upon the judgment seat. God demands that His representatives shall be pure and holy, revealing the beauty of sanctification. The channel is always to remain unobstructed, that the Holy Spirit may have free course; otherwise some will gloss over the work that must be done in the natural heart in order to perfect Christian character; and they will present their own imperfections in such a way as to make of no effect God's truth, which is as steadfast as the eternal throne. And while God calls upon His watchmen to lift the danger signal, at the same time He presents before them the life of the Saviour as an example of what they must be and do in order to be saved. 8T 234.2Read in context »
God does not want us to place ourselves upon the judgment seat and judge each other.... When we see errors in others, let us remember that we have faults graver, perhaps, in the sight of God than the fault we condemn in our brother. Instead of publishing his defects, ask God to bless him and to help him to overcome his error. Christ will approve of this spirit and action, and will open the way for you to speak a word of wisdom that will impart strength and help to him who is weak in the faith. TMK 187.2Read in context »
Those who stand upon the rock of eternal truth will sometimes meet such opposition as will call for very decided action. At such times let every word be carefully weighed, lest you injure the souls of those you desire to help. Keep your tongue as with a bridle. Remember that God has not given to you the work of judging your brethren.... TDG 265.3Read in context »