Speak Life, Not Condemnation
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).
We have in Jesus a Savior whose blood cleanses us from the sin of every careless word and every condemning comment—a Savior who forgives us from the sinful tendency that rises in our hearts to try to play a role which is His alone. In light of that, we need to repent daily of the sins of our lips and ask the Spirit for a renewed desire to make both the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts acceptable in our Father’s sight (Psalm 19:14).
37“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38give, 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.”
39He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.
A Tree and Its Fruit
43“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Get the Program, Devotional, and Bible Reading Plan delivered daily right to your inbox.