Jesus spoke these words to the Jewish religious leaders who disputed His claims that He was the Son of God.
What’s so startling about this statement is not so much that Jesus made a concise but powerful legal defense for His deity, but that this poignant pronouncement provided such amazing insight into human nature, God’s nature, and the big difference between the two.
Jesus said the Pharisees were judgmental about people according to human standards, but that He, as the Son of God, did not judge people in order to enter into a relationship with them.
It’s uncomfortably obvious that Jesus’ declaration to the Pharisees applies to me as well. It’s not just the Pharisees who are judgmental; we human beings are judgmental, it’s our human nature.
And, the fact that we are human makes our judgment judgmental! We make judgments based on human standards. In forming relationships with other people we make judgments about appearance, speech, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, and educational background–to name just a few judgmental judgments we make.
I don’t want my kids to play with that child or I don’t want to be friendly to that person because of any number of these judgmental judgments. Or maybe they just have a personality that conflicts with mine. I am judgmental in forming relationships with people.
And, because I’m judgmental, I assume God is judgmental, too. God surely doesn’t want to associate with that criminal, that homeless person, that arrogant person, that unfriendly person. If I don’t want like them, then surely God won’t like them either…
But, Jesus said He wants to be your friend no matter who you are, how you act, where you come from, or what you do!
Unfortunately, that’s not the way we always portray Jesus to people. We want people to quit sinning, clean up, get a job, come to our church, be someone who would be acceptable to us before they can be someone who would be acceptable to Jesus.
But, Jesus said that in forming relationships with people, He doesn’t make judgments about them!
He just wants you to follow Him and then He will show you what kind of person to become: “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (vs. 12).
Let’s not ever let passing judgment on people get in the way of extending God’s love and mercy to people.
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2, NASB)