A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with the Lord about a specific situation I was dealing with, that dealt with other people's sins. Out of nowhere, this scripture was given to me. Of course, I am very familiar with it. I have read it more times than I can number, and even preached messages using it and directly dealing with it, but I was shown something I hadn't noticed before. Portions of the Sermon on the Mount are dealing with the eternal judgment, and some things are dealing with our relationship with others. An example of our relationship with others would be settling civil matters before they go to court. Another would be casting pearls before swine. I always associated this passage with the eternal judgment, but I don't believe that is what it is speaking of anymore.
JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
If you look at this as many view it, this is saying that in the same way I judge others, I will be judged of God in the next life. That means, if you take it to its logical conclusion, that if I judge no one for anything, I won't be judged. I see the guy next door beating his wife, and I pass no judgment on him. I see the homosexual activists marching in the street, and I make no judgment. I even see wicked men like Hitler, and make no judgment. Then I look at that passage, and I am home free in the next life. As I didn't judge others, I won't be judged, but does that really make sense? It doesn't to me, but I went along, still thinking this was speaking of the final judgment.
Now, lets look at this in a more practical light, our relationship with others. I see my neighbor next door that is living in fornication with his 4 kids, and his mistress on the side. I don't beat him up for his actions, but show love to him. I see the homosexual couple, and I don't constantly tell them they are going to hell and shun them. I show them love. How will they treat me if they see me do something wrong? They will likely remember that I didn't attack them, so they won't attack me. On the other hand, if I am judgmental towards them, if I do something wrong, they are waiting to pounce on me. The same judgment I used towards them comes back on me. This passage actually comes up just before we are warned not to "give that which is holy unto the dogs."
Now, don't get me wrong. I believe in telling people the truth. If someone asks if something is a sin, I will be honest. If I am preaching a message, I will pull no punches. That is my job. At the same time, there is a difference in being honest, and seeking to attack others, like the man who prayed that prayer telling God how he was thankful he wasn't like those other sinners. He saw himself as perfect, and everyone else as the worst kind of sinners. It is a heart attitude. Yes, we should stand up against sin, but we are warned that if we condemn others, we should be prepared to be judged in the same manner when we mess up.