Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. — Luke 6: 37–38
Those who are humble and merciful, and who are glad to give, will be richly blessed by God.
The remarks of Jesus contain advice that is worthwhile to heed in order to be blessed.
- “Judge not.” Those who are humble will not elevate themselves as an example for others. They will not judge their neighbour for being different or for having a differing opinion. As an example, David did not judge Shimei (2 Samuel 16). We have no right to judge our neighbour; after all, only God knows his heart.
- “Condemn not.” Even Jesus, who was without sin, did not condemn the adulteress (John 8: 11). We certainly do not have the right to condemn others—because we are sinners, just like them.
- “Forgive.” Those who are compassionate—and who recognize that they themselves are sinners—will also be prepared to forgive. Thereby the law of Christ is fulfilled, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6: 2). Let us not act like the wicked servant in Jesus’ parable, who did not forgive the debt of his fellow servant, even after his own much greater debt had been forgiven (Matthew 18: 28).
- “Give.” Those who are humble and merciful know how important the grace of God is. Let us put the gifts we have been given into the service of our neighbour! It is important to learn to give like Jesus: out of love, without reward, and without calculation (John 4: 10; 6: 35).
In order to grow into the nature of Jesus, let us act mercifully and compassionately as our Bible text describes: let us not judge, let us not condemn, but rather let us forgive and give. Such an attitude can be blessed by God.
And what does this blessing look like? Jesus used the image of a measuring cup to illustrate this. In order to get as much flour into the cup as possible, it must be tapped gently to remove excess air. God too gives us a full measure— indeed an abundance— of blessing.
When God grants us such blessing, we experience fellowship already today, namely
- In the divine services, where we can experience His help and nearness at all times, and where the gospel is brought to us.
- In His gracious care, which is expressed in the forgiveness of sins.
- In Holy Communion, when we receive the body and blood of Jesus.
Beyond that we will also experience this blessing in our future fellowship with the triune God. Then the words will be fulfilled, “… for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
This blessing is granted us in abundance.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the divine service held on Sunday, 16 August 2015 at Midrand Congregation.