Few texts are more misunderstood in our day than Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” It often comes up in conversations when one dares to make a moral assessment of another person that rubs the hearer the wrong way. “Who are you to judge?” comes the retort.
What kind of “judging” is Jesus talking about? As in all cases, the context is a great help in understanding what Jesus is getting at. This text is in the Sermon on the Mount, which demonstrates the nature of true righteousness versus superficial religion. In this text, Jesus is concerned about the hypocrisy of the double standard. The proof of His point is in the illustration that follows in verses 3–5.