by Jeff Curtis
In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus condemned hypocritical judging where one might condemn another while engaging in some similar or more serious sin. Mounce explains it this way: “Human nature encourages us to pay far more attention to the shortcomings of others that to our own faults. We tend to evaluate others on the basis of a lofty standard of righteousness that somehow is not applicable to our own performance.” In order to be fair in our assessments of others, we should follow several guidelines.
We should evaluate our own lives. We must ask ourselves if we are doing the very things that we find offensive in others. A person should change himself before he attempts to change the world.
We should listen when others criticize us. They may be some truth to what they are saying that could help us become better people. Iron has the potential of sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17).
We should not jump to conclusions. We must try to gather all the facts and make sure our conclusions about others are not based on hearsay.
We should not stereotype people. It is unfair to judge a person based on his or her race, gender, social, or economic status.
We should consider other people’s situations before being overly critical. It could be that the person is dealing with some difficult issues in his or her life. We might behave in a similar way if we were walking in their shoes.
When we confront others, we need to evaluate our motives. Are we concerned about the other people’s spiritual situations (Galatians 6:1-4), or are we simply trying to make ourselves look better than them?
Conclusion. Jesus’ illustration of the hypocrite trying to judge another needs to serve as a warning to us.
Security of the Sheep
by Joe R. Price
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one. (John 10:27-30)
This passage is easily understood and gives great assurance to the followers of Jesus. People have distorted this teaching of Christ to assure souls that they can never so sin as to be lost once saved from sin. This passage does not teach this error. A brief review of the text shows Jesus comforts the faithful but does not secure sinners. First, see what Christ’s sheep do: They hear His voice and follow Him. Next, see what Jesus does: He knows them and gives them eternal life. Now, who “shall never perish” and not be snatched from Christ’s hand or the Father’s hand? It is the sheep who hear and follow Jesus (v. 27). What if the sheep stops following the shepherd? Christ’s sheep are exposed to life-threatening dangers when they leave the sheepfold of safety, wander on the hillside of sin, and forage in the thicket of evil. When Christians stop listening to Jesus and refuse to follow Him, their souls are in jeopardy! Christians who return to sin bring on their eternal demise, not an eternal reward (2 Pet. 2:20-22). This truth does not diminish the power of the Father and Son to save. It acknowledges what Scripture confirms: Christians can fall away (Gal. 5:4; Luke 8:13). God protects sheep who hear Him and follow Him. So, hear the word of Jesus and follow Him every day