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The World’s Favorite Verse

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:37 – 38 HCSB)

When Jesus says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged,” Jesus is not saying that we must not judge people so that people do not judge us. Jesus is not teaching some sort of relativism that we just let people believe what they want to believe so that no one is judging each other. Jesus is talking about God judging others. Do not judge others and you will not be judged by God. Do not condemn others and you will not be condemned by God. Forgive others and you will be forgiven by God.

Previously, Jesus taught to do to others as you want them to do to you. Now Jesus teaches this principle: Do to others what you want God to do to you. Treat others, not only how you want them to treat you, but also how you want God to treat you. Jesus is not teaching that we can avoid the day of final judgment if we somehow be sure not to judge other people. No one can avoid the day of judgment. All must stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

The point is to be careful how you judge. Do not judge according to human standards. Perhaps more accurately and more contextually to the point of verse 36, do not judge mercilessly. Do you want God to judge you without mercy? Do you want God to judge you without compassion? God will apply the same standards of judgment to us that we apply to others. If we are quick to condemn others, then God will be quick to condemn us. If we are unwilling to forgive others offenses, then God will be unwilling to forgive our sins. If we are unwilling to give, then God will be unwilling to give to us. If we do not give generously, above and beyond, then God will not give generously, above and beyond, to us.

Verse 38 illustrates this point. Have you ever opened a bag of chips and thought you were getting ripped off? Or have you ever opened a box of food or candy and it was not full? You feel like you did not get all that you paid for. We want a full box. We do not want to purchase a bag of air. We want it full to the brim. This is the idea behind “a good measure.” A good measure was one where the grains were put in and pressed down and shaken so that there is no extra space. The measure was good and full. Then the grain would be poured into a cone above the measure, running over. The cup will simply not hold any more because it is full of grain. Now notice the teaching: “For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Give a good measure to others, and God will give a good measure to you. Treat others how you want God to treat you.