“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. (Luke 6:37)
The reason we sometimes assume we have the right to condemn another is that it appeals to our sinful nature. If we’re honest, the minute we acquire any position of leadership or authority, big or small, it’s shocking how quickly we are faced with the temptation to condemn rather than to show mercy.
We must remember that we are not qualified to condemn. Why? Because we cannot read another person’s heart. We are unable to assess someone else’s motives accurately. God alone can say, “I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works” (Revelation 2:23). Since you and I are not God, we are not to condemn.
One of the ways we easily and often ignore Jesus’ command here is with our tongues; we pronounce condemnation by saying things that harm someone’s reputation. In Christian circles, we may even have clever ways to make our slander sound like a prayer request or a concern—but in truth, half the time we’re delighted to say it: “Did you hear about her? Do you know about him? Do you know why they did that?” The spirit of the Pharisee—of condemning others in order to show ourselves in a better light by comparison—is alive and well among believers.
Therefore, we must be exceptionally wary of how we use our words. Rather than using our mouths to condemn, we must ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to speak words of life. Before we open our mouths, we ought to heed the advice of the missionary Amy Carmichael and ask: Is what I’m about to say kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? Scripture is absolutely clear on this point. Indeed, the book of Proverbs teaches us that “a fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul,” but “he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered” (Proverbs 18:7; 11:13).
Devotional material is taken from Truth For Life Daily Devotional by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with written permission.