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Welcome to our Expedition exploring the Sermon on the Mount together. These weekly Expedition Notes are intended to enhance our experience together on this journey. So, grab a Bible, a journal or a notebook and let's dive into this amazing study about living life as God's people, part of His kingdom.
following Sunday, May 7, 2017 message: Worryblind
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Day 3: Picking Friends
So, what happens when we become blinded in our judgment of others? Matthew 7:1-7 seems to imply three things:
In the first part (Matthew 7:1-2), the command is not to avoid judging at all, but rather to avoid judging with a judgment that could be used to condemn you as well. This does not mean that we should become "good enough" or "spiritual enough" that we can judge others. Rather, it is encouraging grace over judgment, just like we need grace over judgment. This is seen in verse 2.
Verse 2 says literally,
“For in what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and in what measure you measure, it will be measured to you."
Now, we often talk about measuring out judgment, but this is not the only thing the second half of this verse is talking about. Look up Luke 6:38. Most often "measure" is used in a positive sense of measuring out some kind of goods. This verse is saying that when we measure out judgment, we can expect judgment; and when we generously measure grace and compassion, we can expect grace and compassion.
This first part is talking about those times we hand out judgment even to those whom God has given grace.
In the third part (Matthew 7:6-7), the command is not telling us to discern who the "pigs" and "dogs" are in the world in a derogatory way. This would be judging in the same sense as Matthew 7:1-2 was talking about. It is saying that grace is not found in giving people what they don't want. If we keep quoting Scripture at people who don't care about the Bible, it is like throwing pearls before pigs. What does a pig care about pearls? Grace is found in giving people what they need: clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, sheltering the widows and orphans. Spiritual wealth is only a grace when it is shared with those who seek it.
In the middle part (Matthew 7:3-5), Jesus says that when we are blinded by the way we misjudge others or try to force values upon them that they don't have, we cannot help those we hope to help. The "log in our eye" keeps us from seeing how to help them at all.
The theme of today is "picking friends" because this whole section is really about how we see others and cast some off in judgment while we pursue others with complete disregard of their true nature. We end up cutting ourselves off from those who could be our friends if we would approach them with grace rather than judgment. And we get torn up by those we try to win over with gifts and spiritual things that they don't care about.
So, what would ever make us cut ourselves off from those who might be our friends? Our judgment of others is typically not the same as the Pharisees who saw others as not righteous enough for them. The judgment we usually cast is that others are not "cool" enough, not rich enough, don't hang with the right people, don't have the right fashion sense. And sometimes in church settings, we try to put some spiritual reason behind it. But just like the Pharisees, as a result we cut ourselves off from those who could be great friends and allies if we would show grace rather than arrogant judgment.
Jesus also seems to be getting on the Pharisees and others for trying to gain the support of Romans and other Gentiles who did not share their values at all and who they would refer to in other contexts as "pigs" and "dogs." This again showed their hypocritical nature. But Jesus was also warning them of where such friendships lead. "Friends" like that will trample your treasures into the mud and tear you to pieces just because they feel like it.
Now, we don't have Romans, but we do often try to make friends with those who we think can get us ahead in this world or can accomplish something for us, even if they have no respect for anything we value or stand for. We don't take very seriously the consequences such a partnership could have.
Learn to default to grace and discernment of the true needs of others rather than judgment of others and trying to use them for your own advancement. James 2:13 says that mercy triumphs over judgment. This is something we need to be true in the way we treat others and for ourselves as well.