An International Center for Fellowship and Learning

The Sermon on the Mount Pt. 2 – Lesson 9: Judging

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” —Micah 6:8

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:1-6; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Introduction:

For many of us, judging, not in the sense of discernment but in the sense of condemnation, is as natural as breathing. Seeing others’ faults, sins, and hypocrisy isn’t a spiritual gift from God. With as many of us as good at it as we are, some might think judging to be their “spiritual gift.” We are called beyond this carnality, though—called to see our brothers and sisters with the gracious eyes of God.

What’s interesting about the issue of judging is that we’re sensitive to those things we ourselves do (Romans 2:1-5). It’s easy to see anger in another person because we ourselves are angry; it’s easy to spot bitterness in another’s words because our words are bitter. What’s even more amazing about judging is that we usually don’t see that we’re guilty of the same sins we judge.

Matthew 7:1-6 refers to a beam and a speck—similar to a granule of salt next to a tree trunk. As we judge, the beam in our own eye is beating the person we’re trying to “correct.” Not only do they leave bloodied by our beam, we’re no closer to dealing with our own sin.

The remedy to this is self-confrontation. God’s call to every Christian is to restore their brothers and sisters when they have confronted themselves. We can’t accurately instruct and disciple someone if we’re not able to conquer the sin in our life. How can I give meat to someone else when I’m still drinking milk (Hebrews 5:13-14)?

We are called to judge one another with righteous judgment (John 7:24). Yes, we are to discern between good and evil, between false prophets and true prophets (1 John 4:1-2). Our judgment shouldn’t be condemnation—it should be discernment.

Lesson Questions:

  1. Who is the only just and true judge? James 4:12; Psalm 96:13; Ecclesiastes 3:17; Romans 2:16; 2 Timothy 4:1.
  2. What does the Word say about condemning others? Romans 14:4, 13; Matthew 7:1-5; James 4:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5.
  3. What consequence is promised if we judge others for the same sin we’re committing? Matthew 7:2; Romans 2:1-5; James 2:13. Why is this consequence promised?
  4. Does the Christian have a responsibility to judge himself? Matthew 7:5; 1 Corinthians 11:28-31; Lamentations 3:40; 2 Corinthians 13:5.
  5. What responsibility does scripture place on mature believers to lovingly exhort a brother or sister who is struggling with sin? Galatians 6:1-5; Romans 15:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15.
  6. Are there situations and people we’re called to judge? 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; John 7:21-24; Titus 3:10-11; Matthew 18:15-20.
  7. Instead of critical judgement, what attitude does the Lord require of us when we’re viewing others’ sin? Proverbs 3:3; 11:17; Micah 6:8; Matthew 5:7.
  8. How does the warning of Matthew 7:6 offer a balance in confronting others? Proverbs 9:7-8; 23:9.

Life Application:

People need encouragement and support, not condemnation. This week, go on a “judging” fast. Instead of making quick judgments or decisions about another person, observe their situation and ask God what you can do to encourage them. Then, judgment won’t be so easy.

If judging has been a problem for you, seek the forgiveness of those you’ve judged.