What exactly did Jesus mean, when He said: “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven… For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:37-38)?
Bill McCaughan, in the April, May, June, 2019 issue of Power For Today answers the question this way: “For me, this is one of the most disturbing statements Jesus ever made. Why? Because it says to me that if I do judge, I will be judged – by my own set of rules. If I do condemn, I will be condemned – by my own set of criteria. If I hold a grudge and fail to forgive – I won’t be forgiven, because I said – by my own actions – that I didn’t want forgiveness.” He is absolutely correct!
Every time we fail to give someone the benefit of the doubt; each time we hang onto all the hurtful little comments someone might’ve made – whether they intended them to be hurtful or not; every time we fail to let go of a wrong suffered – whether real or imagined, actual or only personally perceived in our own minds – we are giving God the exact standard by which we are telling Him we want to be judged. In other words, we are demanding of Him that on Judgment Day, He not give us any benefit of the doubt for anything. We are demanding that God hang onto and judge us for every hurtful little comment we may have ever made to anyone over the course of our life on earth – even if it was purely innocent and unintentional on our part! We are leaving God with no option whatsoever but to judge us just as harshly for every time we ever wronged anyone – or even if anyone ever perceived in their own hearts that we had somehow wronged them – even when we hadn’t! What a terribly scary thought to add to an already terrifying day! And yet, it is true (Matt. 6:12-15, 18:21-35; Lk. 6:37-38).
What is the answer then? As brother McCaughan concludes: “Love each other! Love covers a multitude of sins, of hurts, of perceived wrongs (1 Cor. 13 [See also 1 Ptr. 4:8]). It covers them up – pulls the tarp right over them so they can’t see the light of day; so they can’t remind us to be upset or resentful… If a Jewish zealot (Simon) could love a Roman tax collector (Matthew), I, too, can love that person who bruised my ego. I can because Jesus and His love can fill me.”
What measure do you want God to use on you? You tell Him every day by the measure you use on others (See Ro. 2:17-24). This is why we must learn to forgive the offender, let go of the hurt we’ve been holding onto, and just live a life of love like we are commanded and empowered by God to do (Eph. 4:31-5:2; Col. 3:8-15), letting Him take care of everything else.