Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
1. Here we have two negative and two positive commands told by Jesus to His disciples. The scribes and Pharisees boasted about their righteousness and deemed all others as sinners, judging them and condemning them.
2. Jesus does not want His followers to emulate these religious leaders. He Himself spent time with sinners, and was even accused of being a glutton and a drunkard.
3. To judge meant to not only condemn but to disregard; Jesus wants His followers to learn to forgive others, not meaning to ignore sin, which is a destroyer, but to invite sinners to forgiveness and cleansing.
4. Jesus wants His disciples to be like Himself, who did not excuse sin but invited sinners to repent. Then with humbleness, this disciple who recognizes his or her own sinfulness, can reach out to those who are suffering under a load of sin.
5. A mature disciple is an encourager and a forgiver, again not overlooking actual sin, but dealing with it with tenderness and understanding. Indeed, it is important to be discriminating and critical when necessary, but not to be rejecting and condemning.
6. We are not called to be self-righteous fault finders; we are called to be forgiving of not only ourselves but others.