No, the most known Bible verse is no longer John 3.16.
Nope…it’s Matthew 7.1, which reads:
“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.”
Now many (most?) who cite the verse don’t know the reference; and may well not even know it’s in the Bible.
But if you ever say anything remotely negative about anyone, the chances are 88.6 percent (yes, I made that up) that someone hearing it will scold you by ‘quoting the verse.’
If only these folks would understand the vitalness of context.
Here are a few sound bites, so to speak, from the rest of Matthew 7:
“Don’t give what is holy to DOGS or toss your pearls before PIGS…be on your guard against FALSE PROPHETS who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are RAVAGING WOLVES…”
So how in the world to you recognize someone is a dog, pig, false prophet, or ravaging wolf?
So what was Jesus doing in Matthew 7.1?
Getting the crowds attention. Stretching to make a point.
In fact, out of context Matthew 7.1 is a falsehood.
You WILL be judged, no matter what.
Die without Christ and you have a date with the Great White Throne of God where the issue is punishment.
Die as a Christian and you have a date at the Judgment Seat of Christ, where the issue is rewards.
Those are the only two choices.
Oh, yeah, and by the way…this same Jesus also said:
“Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment.” John 7.24
So how do you recognize if your judgment is “righteous” or unrighteous.
I don’t know how you do so, but here’s what works for me:
If it hurts me to judge, I think I’m okay.
If I find joy in judging, I know I am violating John 7.24.
I don’t always get it right…but I’m trying…
Because I know that’s what Jesus wants me to do –
Obey Matthew 7.1 in conjunction with John 7.24.