Do not judge, or you will be judged. For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.Matthew 7:1-2
Don’t criticize others.
This teaching of Yeshua highlights that there is a balance, or a universal equity that God maintains. If an individual is overly critical of others, the same level of critical judgment will be applied to them. This is not always recognized by others because the timing of this judgment does not always immediately follow an infraction. However, the Bible promises that justice will be realized in the balance of God’s Creation, in his time.
This is expressed more fully in the parallel passage in the Gospel of Luke:
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.Luke 6:36-37
Forgiveness is a quality that sits outside of judgment. When judgment is the primary objective, the possibility of forgiveness becomes diminished. Both are necessary, but both serve different purposes.
Judgment provides a needed distinction between right and wrong. We rely on our judgment to ensure that fairness is being practiced or demonstrated. This is not a complex function. For example, even toddlers can recognize when playmates are being fair or unfair when it comes to sharing toys.
Forgiveness is a more complex quality that requires an increased level of maturity. There has to not only be a recognition of a wrong that has been committed, but another “something” beyond the understanding of that wrong that still reaches out to the other individual to maintain a positive relationship.
Through recognition of the reality of this universal balance that God maintains, on even the most basic of levels we should be challenged to grow in maturity in our relationships and our dealings with others. As we encourage the seeds of this nascent maturity to thrive, they are enabled to grow into acts of mercy, and ultimately to blossom into genuine love.