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Do Not Judge

Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

John 7:53-8:11

This is a familiar and famous story from the Bible, and the meaning seems obvious, except for one thing. What was Jesus writing on the ground? I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Well, I think He wrote all the sins of the scribes and Pharisees.”

I don’t think so. I really don’t. I don’t think He wrote all the sins of every guy there that day. What if He was writing the Ten Commandments? That could easily be what happened, because the Ten Commandments are unachievable. You can’t do everything right.

Can you see it? Jesus started writing the Ten Commandments on the ground, and He was looking down at them while He spoke. He said, “He who is without sin cast the first stone, because every one of you guys has broken these rules, I can tell you that right now. You’re coming at her with her adultery? Well, I’m coming at you because you didn’t honor your parents. Say, how many of you have served other things?”

Can you see that going on? And the scribes and Pharisees had to say, “You’re right! We’re out judging this woman right here, but I fall short in keeping the commandments. I may not be bad about honoring my parents, but just the other day I coveted something that isn’t mine.”

We all sin. We’re all the same. That’s why you can’t judge at all. That’s why Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” He knew no one there had a shot!

That’s why you rarely saw Jesus get upset with people. He looked at the adulteress, and He said, “Where are your accusers?” And she said, “They’re gone.” He didn’t yell at her or condemn her. He simply said, “Well, I don’t accuse you either.”

When He looked at her, He understood. Jesus knows that in our weakness, in our flesh, we are going to sin. So He just released her. But not before telling her, “Go, and sin no more.” And I think she understood what He meant. This was God looking at her and saying, “You have the ability, in me, to sin no more.”

And I think that’s where Jesus was just so good! He understood that people are not good. We aren’t. Because of Him, I understand that I am not good, and I understand that people are not good. In our flesh, we are not good.

We all have to understand that. We have to come to grips with that. If we can come to grips with that, I think we will judge a whole lot less.

4 thoughts on “Do Not Judge

  1. Jeremy are you saying that we are not to give an opinion to whether something is right or wrong, even in light of what God’s Word says? This whole topic of judging can cause great confusion. Even though Jesus said “Judge not lest you be judged” if you continue to read that in context He also goes on to say “Hypocrite! FIRST remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Matt 7:45 and Luke 6:42)
    John 5:22-23 “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” (Read John 5:24-30)

    The Scriptures show that Jesus did get upset with people – the religious folks of that day! He even called them names (brood of vipers, white-washed tombs, to name a couple)! They judged according to the flesh, ready to condemn. They were supposed to be a holy people, a treasure above all the people of the earth, however carnality and the ways of the world became their god. Does that sound like the church, today? It’s a troubling thought…
    Jesus came to save, not condemn and did what the Father told Him to do. He was perfect in all His ways. He expects us to follow His example when we judge a brother or sister in Christ. Yes, I said the awful “j” word! 1 Cor 2:14-16 says “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” Paul wrote a lot about judging in 1 Corinthians (Chpts.5 & 6)
    “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17
    (Read James 2:8-13)

    Believe me when I say I’ve wrestled with this topic. I think you have too considering how much time you’ve devoted to writing about it. It is so easy to have a critical spirit and find fault, isn’t it, and if we aren’t careful we will judge with severity and often too readily. We must take great care in examining ourselves to make sure we are motivated by love, not a critical/condemning spirit. We are accountable to God, His Word is our plumb-line of truth and we must take care to rightly divide it. We must take even greater care that we don’t overthrow the faith of those struggling with sin and love them (sometimes that means correcting them – just like our children) so that they may repent and be restored to our God and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Grace and peace!

    • Natalie, correcting in love and correcting in judgmental accusations are two different things. One makes that person feel like you see the path they are on and want to warn them of the danger ahead. The other makes people feel like they are a lesser human being than you and you are better because you are on cleaner path. I will look into it but my bet is we use one word for “judge” and in the Greek there are more uses for our word. Just like “love” has more than one based on the context which you use it.

      • Jeremy, I agree with you and the example you gave with the woman caught in the act of adultery was perfect for this. Jesus said, “neither do I condemn you” (that should be our attitude) but He also said, “go and sin no more” so He recognized that she had sinned (formed an opinion and made a judgment in Truth/Word). That is grace and mercy! If it was a judgment under the law, she would have been stoned. Thanks be to Christ we are no longer under the bondage of the law!! That should make us shout for joy!!
        We shouldn’t take for granted or abuse the grace that has been extended to us.
        I believe we are on the same page don’t you? But I do encourage you to check out all the definitions in the Greek, that’s always a good thing. I just want to walk in love, reflect Jesus and have the mind of Christ. God bless!

  2. I have a question. So I know we as humans are not good. We can only do good in Christ. What about those who aren’t saved? When they do good what does that mean? They don’t have Christ in them…just a thought.

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