Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:37-38)
This is often a phrase used by non-believers whenever Christians state something the Bible says that exposes sin. But it is important to understand what Jesus is really saying here to be effective in our witness for Christ. There is a judgement that is related to discernment and there is judgement that is related to condemnation - this is key!
The word for judge and judged in this verse is speaking of a judicial sense, to condemn and punish, and condemn meaning to pronounce guilt. We, as followers of Jesus, aren’t to go around condemning others for their sin because only one without sin can judge, and there is only One able – Jesus. However, we can and should discern things, not unto condemnation but in order that we would work out our salvation with fear and trembling and be stirred to compassion for others needing Jesus.
Paul mentioned to the church in Corinth when correcting their behavior in how they were receiving communion, that “if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged” (1 Corinthians 11:31). Those two words for judged are different. This means that if we discerned ourselves truly, we would not be condemned and pronounced guilty. This ties into this verse in Luke because if we are discerning ourselves truly, we will not be so prideful as to condemn anyone else who is a fellow sinner like ourselves.
This word for forgive and forgiven literally means to release, set at liberty, to let go. It is such a beautiful word because in the same sense that we would release and let go of the trespasses committed against us, we also are released and set at liberty in Christ. Holding on to grudges and past pains not only hurts you, but also hurts the heart of God who desires to set you free.
Forgiveness is a painful and yet beautiful journey that God desires us to take when we’ve been hurt. If you carry your sorrows to the cross, He can heal your loss.
So, as you walk down the path of forgiveness, focus on the One who has forgiven you before you focus on the one you need to forgive – He gives beauty for ashes.
Give With Good Measure
This next section creates an awesome word picture. Imagine taking a cup and putting pudding in it. There are natural air pockets that are created, but if you push it down to fill them, shake the cup to settle it, and then keep filling to overflowing – this is what this verse is stating but in the context of good measure. It is not only an admonishment to use good measure when relating to others, but it is an encouragement that it will be measured back to you.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)
Apply It Today
If you tend to have a critical and condemning spirit towards others, have a hard time forgiving wrongs done to you, or tend to skimp on blessing others, this is a call repent and turn it around. To be honest, in our frail human nature, don’t we all struggle with any of these at seasons in life? So, if this is you right now and you feel it, the Spirit isn’t condemning you He’s convicting you unto repentance so He can work that change within you and make you more like Jesus.
Jesus is coming soon, my friend, and we want to be found having discerned ourselves truly and not judging others, forgiving, and giving with good measure upon His return.