Before we are quick to judge others, we as Christians are commanded to first look for and address our own faults. Before we are able to criticize other people, we are commanded to first concentrate on living holy lives ourselves. Once we walk holy, as He is holy, we are then able to accurately and effectively judge others without hypocrisy.
The Lord Christ’s parable of a person with a log in his eye trying to see to remove a speck from another’s eye reminds us that we may initially have bigger faults within ourselves than the faults we make haste to criticize in others:
“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
The Lord Christ condemns all forms of hypocritical judgement. This does not mean, however, that sin should be ignored…
“He who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.” (1 Corinthians 2:15)
“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.” (Proverbs 27:5)
- Christians should help each other recognize and overcome sinful actions and attitudes, but it must be done in a sincere spirit of Love and not with the intention to punish, embarrass or disparage (Matthew 18:15, Luke 17:3-4, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, James 5:19-20, 1 Timothy 5:1-2, 2 Timothy 4:2).
- Governments have the right to act for the common good and take action against offenders who threaten law and order (Luke 20:20-25, Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13-14).
- Churches have the right to excommunicate members who are disruptive to their mission (Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Corinthians 5:9-12, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).
“So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:12-13)
Humility of Sin
An attitude of humility is the key to dealing with other people in a Biblical way. Humility or humbleness is a quality of being courteously respectful of others. It is the opposite of aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness and exaggerated pride.
“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)
Humility is the quality that lets us go the full way to meet the needs of others. Why do qualities such as courtesy, patience and deference have such a prominent place in the Bible? It is because a demeanor of humility is exactly what is needed to live in peace and harmony with all persons, and the Lord Christ Himself. Acting with humility does not in any way deny our own self worth but rather it affirms the inherent and intrinsic value of all persons.
“The more lowly your service to others, the greater you are. To be the greatest, be a servant. But those who think themselves great shall be disappointed and humbled; and those who humble themselves shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)
Related verses: Proverbs 11:2-3, Proverbs 12:16, Proverbs 19:11, Proverbs 22:4, Proverbs 27:1-2, Matthew 5:5-9, Matthew 18:2-4, Matthew 20:25-28, Luke 14:8-11, Luke 22:25-27, Romans 12:3, Galatians 5:26, Philippians 2:3-8, James 3:13-18, 1 Peter 5:5-6.
The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule, spoken by Jesus, is possibly the best-known quote from the Bible and is the standard Christ set for dealing with other people.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)
If we wish to be Loved, we must give Love. If we wish to be respected, we must respect all persons, even those we dislike. If we wish to be forgiven, we must also forgive. If we wish others to speak kindly of us, we must speak kindly of them and avoid gossip. If we want happy marriages, we must be faithful, forgiving and kind to our spouses. If we wish to be fulfilled in our lives, we must share generously with others.
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Anger, Retaliation, Revenge
Anger is our own emotional response to some action or event. More often than not, our angry feelings are based on a misinterpretation of what someone said or did or on our own exaggerated sense of pride. Angry words and actions escalate hostilities and block communication rather than solve problems. Whether between parent and child, spouses, siblings, friends, or nations, expressions of anger divide us and drive us toward open hostility.
“Under the laws of Moses the rule was, ‘If you murder, you must die.’ But I have added to that rule and tell you that if you are only angry, even in your own home, you are in danger of judgment! If you call your friend an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse him, you are in danger of the fires of hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
It is all too easy to react to life’s annoyances and disappointments with anger. It is far more challenging, but much better, to react with understanding and empathy. In this way, we can quickly settle disputes and avoid turning minor incidents into major battles:
“You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.” (James 1:19-20)
Holding a grudge can consume us with hatred, blocking out all enjoyment of life. A grudge clouds our judgment and may lead us to an act of revenge that can never be undone. The Old Testament law specified equal punishment for equal wrongdoing: “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:23-25, Leviticus 24:19-20). Jesus said the right thing to do is to take no revenge at all:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.” (Matthew 5:38-42)
Related verses: Leviticus 19:18, Psalms 37:7-13, Proverbs 14:29, Proverbs 17:13-14, Proverbs 17:27, Proverbs 20:3, Proverbs 20:22, Proverbs 29:11, Proverbs 29:22, Matthew 5:43-48, Romans 12:14-21, Ephesians 4:31-32, Colossians 3:8, 1 Peter 3:8-11.
Forgiveness of Sin
We should always be willing to forgive others and not hold any ill will against them.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
Holding a grudge and seeking revenge have no place in the lives of those who truly Love their neighbors. Just as He Loves all His people and is willing to forgive their sins, we should be willing to forgive others also.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:7-10)
Gossip, Lies, Deception
The words we say or write have tremendous power for Good or evil. Words can promote Love and understanding or inflame prejudice and hatred.
“A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart. And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak. The words you say now reflect your fate then; either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:35-37)
It is words that make or break marriages and other relationships. Words can make peace or make war. Our words should always show a spirit of Christian Love.
A lie is any false statement made with the intent to deceive someone. We must always be honest in our dealings with other people. The Bible strongly condemns any attempt to deceive with the intent to hurt someone or gain unfair advantage. (Exodus 20:16, 1 Peter 3:10)
Gossip or slander is an act of hostility intended to harm someone’s reputation. We must avoid the temptation to misrepresent someone’s character or actions:
“An evil man sows strife; gossip separates the best of friends.” (Proverbs 16:28)
Related verses: Exodus 20:16, Leviticus 19:11-12, Leviticus 19:35-36, Proverbs 6:16-19, Proverbs 11:12, Proverbs 12:22, Proverbs 15:1-2, Proverbs 15:4, Proverbs 15:28, Proverbs 20:19, Isaiah 33:15-16, Luke 16:10-12, John 8:44, Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 3:8-10, Revelation 21:22-28.