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Jesus' Teaching: Judging Others

What did Jesus teach about judging other people?

woman in black tank top wearing black sunglassesIt can be very easy to pick fault with a person or judge them for something they have done or said. There was a time when the Jewish leaders brought a woman to Jesus. The woman (we don’t know her name) had been caught committing adultery. By law, she could have been stoned to death. The authorities wanted to test Jesus to see what he would do – whether he would judge her or not.

Jesus very quietly sat and drew in the sand. But the authorities kept on at him and so eventually Jesus said,

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

And then he stooped down and wrote on the ground once again. The Bible says that at this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman.

Jesus turned to her and asked, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:2-11)

Jesus had every right to judge the lady, however, he chose instead to show love and mercy. He did not claim that what she was doing was right because he told her to sin no more but neither was he going to stand in judgement on her.

On another occasion, Jesus criticised the actions of those people who are quick to judge others. He said:

"You can see the speck in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the log in your own eye. How can you say, “My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you don’t see the log in your own eye? You’re nothing but show-offs! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend’s eye." (Matthew 7:1-5)

What Jesus was saying was too often we are quick to point out other people’s faults without sorting out our own issues first. Jesus was perfect; if anyone could judge he could but even he said that it is only God the Father’s place to judge.

Reflect: A well-known proverb teaches not to judge others until you have walked a mile in their shoes. In other words, don't be quick to judge people, but spend time getting to know them and their circumstances. You never know, you may even become friends. - Are you quick to judge others by what they wear, what they look like, or where they live? - What would happen if we were all more like Jesus; slow to judge but quick to listen and understand?