Sermon on the Mount: Don't Judge

To Remember: we should worry more about our actions than others'Vocabulary
  • Judge: deciding between right and wrong
  • Hypocrite: someone who preaches one thing and acts another
Lesson - Read Matthew 7:1-5, Luke 6: 37-42
Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured unto you. And why behold you the mote that is in your brother's eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me cast out the mote out of your eye; and lo, the beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother's eye.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that we shouldn't worry about what others do or don't do. Instead, we should make sure we are doing what is right. In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus shows that we often make a big deal about other peoples' faults. Meanwhile we often overlook our own faults. He says it's like trying to get a speck of dust out of our friend's eye, while we have a huge stick in our own eye. First we should take care of our own problems and faults, before we tell others how to fix theirs.

What kinds of things could he be talking about? We often can see faults in others and not see them in ourselves. It's easy to spot someone else when they are being selfish, proud, mean, unforgiving, or dishonest. It's harder to notice when we are acting that way.
James 1:22-25 But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: for he beholds himself, and goes away, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. But he that looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continues, being not a hearer that forgets but a doer that works, this man shall be blessed in his doing.
Life of Jesus Bingo How are we supposed to judge our own behavior when we rationalize, or excuse, what we do? Paul says that we have a mirror we can look into - the Bible. We can compare how Jesus acted, or how the Bible says to act, to our own behavior. What would Jesus do in this situation? What would He have said? What does the Bible say about ... ? Remember, each of us has to answer to God - not each other.

Does not judging mean we can't tell others if they are sinning? No. Jesus frequently taught people right from wrong, based on God's Word. But we should worry most about ourselves and help others overcome sin in their lives, rather than seeking to find faults in others' lives.

SING:  This Little Christian Light of Mine

True or False
  1. The Bible teaches us right from wrong.  T
  2. It's fine if I pick on others, because I'm perfect.  F
  3. We should worry more about our behavior than others'.  T
  4. Jesus always made the right decision. T
  5. I will always make the right decision. F
  • Craft
    • For Preschoolers: Make a mirror out of cardboard and foil. Glue a picture of a Bible on the foil to remind students that the Bible is their mirror.
    • For Older Kids: Fill a platter with objects, anything from around the house. Cover the whole platter with a cloth. Give the students 45 seconds to view the platter. Then cover it again. Ask them to write down as many objects as they remember. Discuss how much more they would have remembered if they'd had more time. Then compare the exercise to studying God's Word. The more time we spend studying it, the more we understand and remember when we need it.
  • Memory Work
    • John 7:24 "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
    • James 1:22 "But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves."
  • For readers: Sayings from the Sermon on the Mount worksheet. (matching phrases)
Review Questions

 linguistic questions
  1. Repeat the memory verse.
  2. Define what it means to judge someone.
  activity questions
  1. Demonstrate the actions of the man who picks specks out of a friends eye while a stick is in his own.
  2. Line up everyone in the room. Demonstrate that everyone is shorter than someone, and taller than someone else. Discuss the same concept to growing in Christ.
  emotion questions
  1. How would you respond if someone shorter than you called you "shorty"? (discuss)
  2. How can I avoid judging or criticizing others?
application questions
  1. Whose behavior should concern us most?
  2. How do I know whether I am pleasing to God?
  3. Name something about your behavior you'd like to improve.
fact questions
  1. Did Jesus ever tell people they were committing sin?
  2. Did Jesus list all the faults of everyone he met?
review questions
  1. Is it enough to know what's right? (or do we have to act upon that knowledge?)
  2. Name 2 other hypocritical actions.