Bible Book: Matthew / Matteus
Verse (to): 6
Text: Matthew 7:1-6 (12)
It is important to remember that this teaching of Jesus comes directly after 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” Jesus says.
What does it mean to focus your heart, thoughts, talents, time, money, etc. on the Kingdom of God? There are many answers to this, but a first answer we find in what Matthew explains in 7:1 and further: Jesus continues by telling us how we need to behave towards our neighbours.
The first example Jesus uses, is our tendency to judge – to look at the “speck of sawdust” in the other’s eye (7:1, 3). How Jesus feels about this, is clearly and emphatically summarised in three words so that even a child can understand: “Do not judge”. In 7:12 Jesus returns to our behaviour towards our neighbours with the well-known “golden rule”: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
If Christians had put into practice Jesus’ summons not to judge and to treat others as they wanted to be treated, the history of the first two decades of the AIDS pandemic would have looked completely different. In many cases Christians (church leaders as well) did precisely what Jesus is condemning here. Stories of judgement and rejection are numerous.
The situation that needs to be addressed now – that HIV infection and AIDS are stigmatised – is primarily because of people’s hasty judgements and unloving rejection. The effect that this has on the infected and the affected, is a tragic tale from one person to the next.
Whenever I had the opportunity to listen to one of these numerous narratives of woe, I had the urge to ask those Christians who judged and rejected so readily: which of the three words “Do not judge” don’t you understand?
Jesus says that we will be judged in the same way we judge others. So there is the possibility of a second judgement – a judgement that is “reversed”.
The question “How do Christians (the church) judge the AIDS pandemic?” is countered by the question “How does the AIDS pandemic judge Christians (the church)?”
Author: N du Toit (Ds)