Giving and Receiving, Part II

“Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judge; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, 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 brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6)

Yesterday, we began to look at some passages which deal with our tendency to exact judgment unrighteously upon others. We came to the conclusion that the statement, “Whoever has, to him shall more be given (etc.),” found in Mark 4:25, could be translated, “Whoever has mercy upon others, to him shall more mercy be given by God (etc.).”

Today, we are going to dig a little deeper, by examining a related passage, which can be found in Matthew 7:1-12 (we just briefly touched upon this yesterday). That passage starts off as follows: “Do not judge, lest you be judged.” (Matthew 7:1). Now the question is, who is the one doing the judging? Well, experience shows us that people, in general, will tend to judge us (rather harshly), if we are harsh with them. I think we all know that. But I want to ask you, although this is true, is this what the passage is really getting at? I think by the end of this study, you’ll agree that the answer is “no!” In fact, God is the One who will judge us if we tend to be “judgmental” towards others. But the good part is that, a little later on, this same passage also teaches us that God desires to give us “good gifts.” (Matthew 7:11). This should encourage us.

If you’ve ever read this passage over, you’ll agree that the first five verses fit together nicely. Verse one starts off with, “Do not judge, lest you be judged.” (Matthew 7:1). Verse five ends with, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5). These first five verses all fit together quite nicely; they are all about our tendency to judge others unfairly. But what about verse six? It says, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6). Did you ever wonder why God allowed that verse to be penned in just exactly where it is? I ask you, how does this verse apply to the context of what Jesus has just said about our overwhelming tendency to judge others unfairly? Let’s find out!

I think what Jesus is getting at is that, in His own sight, we ourselves (as Christians) can sometimes act like “dogs,” or “swine” (as per Matthew 7:6). Dogs were considered to be the unbelievers of the day and swine are animals that will trample you if you let them (not to mention that the Jews detested them)! So, too, do unforgiving people (or judgmental, harsh, critical, etc.) trample one another! This is a truth, and an unfortunately one, at that. Unfortunately, unforgiveness and bitterness in just one person can bring on a lot of defilement, damage, and corruption to the lives of others. In the Bible, it says, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15).

I think we need to understand this carefully placed verse (Matthew 7:6), then, in its proper context. Basically, Jesus is saying that the penalty for acting judgmentally towards others (Matthew 7:1-5) is that He will treat us as “dogs” and “swine,” and we will forsake being able to receive His “pearls” (Matthew 7:6). These “pearls” could include a number of things, including a good job, healing for sickness, healed relationships, money to live on, a fruitful ministry, fulfillment in live, … (you name it!). When adversity comes, let’s not be quick to jump to the conclusion that there is nothing in my life that needs correcting. The Bible is absolutely chock-stock full of passages that teach otherwise! This is just one of them!