In this part of the Sermon, Jesus delivers some of his most well-known words: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” While many people are familiar with this teaching of Jesus, fewer truly understand what he means. Jesus isn’t forbidding making any kind of judgments altogether, rather he’s forbidding his disciples to make ultimate judgements about people’s eternal destiny. He is forbidding us from putting ourselves in God’s place. This is the first extreme we are to avoid in relating to others in the Body of Christ. The second extreme is to exercise no discernment whatsoever; there are times when we must make difficult determinations about people and their intentions.
Our key takeaways from this passage are that Kingdom people know their rightful place, welcome self-examination, live in the midst of God’s redemptive work, depend on God for discernment, and embody the Golden Rule.