Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:24)
Funny that I would choose this verse to write about out of all of the wonderful things that were mentioned in John 7. However, I believe it sheds more light on one of the most often misrepresented verses in the bible, Matthew 7:1, in which Jesus says "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
How many times have you heard a version of the "Judge not, lest ye be judged" from one of your non-christian friends or by anyone else for that matter? I've heard it a lot over the years (I wonder what that is saying about me?) and no, not always in reference to comments I've made. Jesus is not saying that we are not to judge, but that we should make righteous judgement. He explicitly states it in John 7:24 above. After all, if we were to never to judge, who would put criminals in jail? If we were not to judge, who would be the defenders of the weak?
Please don't get me wrong here. I'm not advocating that the above verse gives us license to walk around with a self-righteous-I-am-perfect-and-everyone-else-is-just-a-sinner attitude. I'm merely trying to point out that scripture does not say that we aren't to judge. We need to be very careful at how we interpret scripture. Here is the whole truth of what Jesus had to say:
Matthew 7:1-3 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
We do need to be careful about judging other people. If we see that something is amiss, we need to take our concerns to God in prayer while at the same time examining ourselves for what we can do to change. Until next time...