Judging — Being Perfect, Part 5

Judge hammer
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Jesus taught his disciples not to judge, but not many outsiders would describe the church as a judgment-free zone. Shouldn’t the church stand out in this area? Jesus teaches his disciples why judging is a bad idea. Pastor Luke looks at Matthew 7:1–6 in “Judging,” the concluding message in his series “Being Perfect.”

Talk It Over

OPEN. 1. Where, on a scale from 1 (suspicious) to 10 (gullible), would you locate yourself today? Where were you 10 years ago?

UNPACK. Read Matthew 7: 1–6.

2. Compare vv. 1–2 with Luke 6: 37–38. How are they similar? How are they different? How does Jesus expand on his “measuring” analogy?

3. Read Exodus 18: 13–18. When (if ever) is judging necessary? How should the judge be related to the one(s) being judged? What is the judge’s interest in the matter? What is the downside for the judge?

4. Compare Jethro’s advice in Exodus with Jesus’ teaching about church discipline in Matthew 18: 15–17. How are they similar and different? Does Jesus make it harder to do or easier?

5. Read 1 Corinthians 5: 9–13. What exception does Paul give in the area of judging people? How does it align with Jesus’ teaching above?

6. What is the difference (if any) between judgement and discernment? Between judgment and condemnation?

7. What is the difference between criticism and coaching?

APPLY. 8. Reflecting on the “be perfect” passages we’ve read this month (Matthew 5: 38–7: 6) how would you rate your own level of perfection?

9. Is it easier for you to think of people who seem to be further along the path to perfection than you are, or those who aren’t as far along as you?

10. In light of your previous two answers, what is the meaning of Matthew 5: 3? What is the meaning of Matthew 5: 7? What hope do you receive from those beatitudes?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again , because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds …”—Theodore Roosevelt

11. How well does the above quote align with Christian teaching?

12. Think of an area of your life where you fall short of perfection. Is there any critic who matters, other than Jesus? What would he say about your progress? What is one specific thing can you ask his help with?