Read: Luke 6:37-38

One of the reasons I started this website was to encourage people to “care for their souls.” And the way to do that with effectiveness is to think accurately about life. And in turn, to think accurately about life, we have to guard what we take into our hearts. The old adage from the early days of the computer age is still true—“Garbage in; Garbage out!”

Let’s add something else to my premise. Jesus is alive. The greatest event in His earthly ministry was His resurrection from the dead. Among other things, His resurrection validated His claims to be the promised Messiah/Redeemer. Or to put it another way, Jesus is the King of God’s Kingdom. And anyone who comes to Jesus is essentially forsaking the kingdom of darkness and entering into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13-14). This does not mean that the Kingdom of God can be seen in its full form at this point in time. That is why we eagerly await the return of the Savior (1 John 3:2). However, until Christ returns, Christians are Kingdom citizens called to live the way the King wants us to live. We are to THINK the way He wants us to THINK. 

Read those last two sentences one more time. Then take a few minutes to ponder how you think about other people. Start with the people closest to you. What about your spouse? Have you been irritated that he/she doesn’t do things the way you would do them? What about your children? Are you increasingly irritated that they don’t seem as interested in school activities as much as your sister’s children? What about your boss? Have you commented to some of your colleagues that he hasn’t complimented your work in months? And what about the church leaders? Have you mentioned to the people in your small group how disappointed you were that the elders didn’t invest more money in the children’s ministry? 

Ok, listen to the King. He said, 

"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." (Luke 6:37-38 ESV) 

Please notice how these two verses unfold. Jesus starts with a negative command (judge not) and moves to the positive (forgive…give). Then He gives a consequence related to the positive command. And finally He gives the cause for the initial command. 

When Jesus uses the word “judge,” He is talking about a judgmental or critical spirit. It is an attitude—not based on moral precepts but personal opinions—whereby we put other people down. We find fault with them! Even more alarming, Jesus is implying that for some of us being judgmental has become a way of life. When that happens, we can be assured that our critical spirit will become infectious and people in turn will start criticizing us. Ouch! 

So if you want to avoid being criticized, Jesus says, get rid of your critical spirit. 

So how do we do that? Let me suggest three things (and notice that I am including myself in this endeavor). First, we must start by affirming that this is what King Jesus wants, and as His subjects we are going to obey! Second, when we find ourselves falling into a critical spirit, confess it as sin. Don’t water it down as a “mistake” or a minor “flaw in your personality.” Confess it as sin! And then third, make it your ambition to praise people for the things they do well. We’re not talking about flattery or manipulation to get something in return. Our praises should be genuine. Everyone does something good every day. When you see it, praise them for it.

A word of caution is necessary at this point. I am not suggesting that you should tell your boss to cancel your performance review for this year. Such reviews are designed to improve your work and the productivity of your company. It is for your benefit! It is not intended for evil. At the same time, I am not saying that you will never be criticized or that you will not be the subject of gossip if you do what Jesus is saying in this passage. But what I am saying is that we can reduce the possibility of being judged by other people. How? If you want to avoid being judged, stop judging others! 

This is the way of joy! This is the will of King Jesus, and if you are a Christian, you have come under His rule and reign in every aspect of your life.

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