Fasting Devotional Day Seventeen: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 Text: Matthew 7:1-6
By Jared Chen
In quite possibly one of the most controversial verses in the entire Bible, Jesus tells us to not judge others, and we will not be judged. This verse, taken at face value, is what many nonbelievers use as the sharpest arrow in their quiver when attacking the Christian faith. To them, the Bible says, “Do not judge one another” and “who are we to judge?.” As today’s society evolves, it is not hard to turn on the tv, talk to a neighbor, or drive by a billboard, and encounter this theme on a daily basis. We are constantly being bombarded by the idea that all actions and thoughts ought to be immune to any judgment or accountability. But as is the case with all scripture, when taken out of context and isolation, a few words can take on a whole new meaning. Understand that Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, people notorious for their hypocrisy and double standards. They were often rebuked for condemning others while they themselves did the exact same things. Jesus goes on to say that the standard we use to judge will be the standard by which we will be judged by God, and if we condemn others while we ourselves are mired in sin, what good would that do? In the end, the hypocrite will stand to greater judgment as he refuses to take the “log out of his own eye.” It is a classic case of the blind leading the blind. To be clear, Jesus is not saying that we have no right to make moral judgments about human behavior and certainly is not restricting us from watching out for our brothers and sisters by holding each other accountable for our sins and struggles. In fact, he calls us to carry each other’s burdens and restoring brothers who are caught in sin. He is simply addressing hypocrisy and sin in the church. Imagine if your small group leader advised you to not spend so much of your focus and energy working late nights to accumulate wealth but encouraged you to instead spend quality time with your spouse. But you later find out that he has been secretly losing every last bit of his child’s college fund gambling online every weekend. Or what if you were told by a fellow church member that you should be more loving and caring in your interactions with others only to find out they are simultaneously making hateful and offensive social media posts. Does this make you actually want to work on your own sins? Unfortunately, the church’s reputation is often defined and damaged by these hypocritical people.
· Strive to uphold the integrity of our faith - to restore a reputation that truly represents Christ’s namesake.
· Humbly correct one another in line with Jesus’ teachings and building each other up with accountability.
But in order to do so, we need to be qualified first, and that starts with our own hearts. By grieving about sin in our own lives, we can take the first step in truly waging war as one against sin!