Your Judging Affects How You’re Judged
Another very interesting sentence in Matthew 7:1-6 is the following sentence: 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. This is a very important truth; though I admit I struggle a little bit in fully understanding this. Often in human relationships we might find ourselves saying something like this. If someone treats us poorly, we are going to treat them poorly back. That seems like what Jesus is saying; at least on the surface. Something like this: “If I choose to judge others in a bad, poor, or unloving way, I will be judged that way myself.” This is sort of a “tit for tat” approach. But that can’t be what God is saying because that’s not how God operates. God can’t be saying that if I judge someone else unfairly then I myself will be judged unfairly by God…God can’t be unfair.
Since I think that implicit in Jesus’ words here about judging are that some in his audience were judging unfairly; I think that these words are meant to communicate that the judgment that they were going to receive was going to be as painful as the pain of the judgment that they were giving. Anyone who judges someone in an inappropriate or unfair way causes suffering and pain. If that’s how we’re going to judge people, then we can expect to receive the same kind of consequence as we are judged. I wonder if this is what Jesus had in mind? This idea fits the “and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” phrase. It is not going to be good for me if I judge hypocritically; but God is not going to judge me unfairly. Rather, as I act as an unjust judge, I am sinning and there will be consequences for that sin.
Another idea is that Jesus is speaking of human judgment here instead of divine judgment. If I judge others poorly, I should expect them to judge me in the same way. That’s a possible interpretation but not one that I like very much. What do you think?