Put First Things First :: Judge (self)

Christians are often branded as people who “judge” by the secular world and rightfully so, they must be. To judge someone does not mean that we are condemning someone as most mistakenly understand it to be but instead it is to form an opinion after careful evaluation of the evidence and testing of premises.

Unfortunately, for the most part, many Christians are raised with the idea that they must not judge others. This mistaken understanding stems from taking the words of Jesus partially as opposed to the totality of what Jesus expressed. Jesus said, “Judge not so that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1), but he continued that counsel by saying that “By whatever judgment you judge, that same measure will be used in your judgment.” (Matthew 7:2) and then proceeded to establish a very crucial aspect of judging, which is “First, judge yourself before judging others.” Not doing so will make us a hypocrite according to Jesus (Matthew 7:3-5).

Say someone is playing with fire. If we lack judgment, we would have no qualms of joining together with them and playing with fire ourselves, which could lead to us being burned along with them. If we exercise judgment and go and tell them that they should not be playing with fire, while holding a lighted torch in our own hands, then that advice will fall on deaf ears as they would turn back and point their fingers at us, expecting the same from us. But if we exercise judgment first on ourselves and put away the torch that can burn us and others, and then tell others that they must not play with fire, then we cannot be judged for that same reason.

Christians must judge i.e., form an opinion after careful evaluation of the evidence and testing of premises, between what is Godly and that which is not, for unholiness has no part with God. We must judge so we can discern between what is of God and what is evil and we must shun evil and not be partakers of it. But when we judge, let us first remember to judge ourselves so that the sin that we warn others about is not the same sin that we are captive to. For if we judge ourselves, then we should not be judged (1 Corinthians 11:31), but if we judge others without judging ourselves first, then by that same measure will we be judged. When we are judged by God, it is not for condemnation but for chastening (1 Corinthians 11:32). We must introspect and repent first and sin no more (as Jesus asked the adulterous woman) so that the beam of sin is removed from our own lives first, before preaching the good news of the Salvation in Jesus Christ and trying to remove the mote of that same sin in someone else.

Putting First Things First, we must first introspect and judge ourselves so that there is no sin within us that displeases God. Only then can we preach Christ. Remember, David’s words when he committed the sins of adultery and murder that displeased God. Before he could say, “I will teach transgressors (sinners) your ways to convert them”, he had to pray “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” In other words, he judged himself and was found wanting of a clean heart and a renewed spirit and asked God to judge (chasten) him. Only then could he judge others and find them wanting of Salvation. (Psalm 51:10-13)

Points to ponder:
People are playing with hell fire and before we take to them the message of Salvation found solely in Jesus Christ, let us make sure that we are ourselves not playing with sin that will put us in hell fire, but let us first introspect and put away every sin that can so easily can beset us by repenting before preaching. Let us judge (ourselves)  first before judging others.

Judge others first and you will be judged (by that same measure)
Judge yourself first and you will not be judged.

Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)
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?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32 (KJV)
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Psalm 51:10-13 (KJV)
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.