It is so easy to judge others for their shortcomings. To rail on them for their character or their deeds. It’s especially easy to do so when they’ve hurt us.
I think it’s very interesting that in the Lucan account, Jesus puts this teaching right after talking about loving your enemies and showing mercy to those who curse you or mistreat you. He says concerning them,
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)
Right after that, he talks about judging others, saying,
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)
In other words, when people hurt you, don’t condemn them. It’s quite frankly, not your place. That’s God’s place. Instead, God says to forgive them.
Forgiveness, in a lot of ways, is more for you than it is for another person. Because as I think I’ve mentioned before, when you hold on to unforgiveness in your life, it chains you to your past. It keeps you from moving into the future God desires for you. So God says to let go of your hurt, and forgive. That the other person would actually change because of your forgiveness would be a bonus, but is not guaranteed. (The Pharisees and Saduccees certainly didn’t change despite Jesus’ prayer for their forgiveness.)
And of course, this comes back to the Lord’s prayer where we say, “Forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us.” Jesus then tells us exactly what will happen if we don’t. If instead we pour out judgment and condemnation on others for what they’ve done to us.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)
A lot of people take this verse and use it in reference to giving offerings. But this is not what Jesus is talking about at all. The whole context of this passage is judging others and showing mercy.
The picture here is of a farmer pouring out grain into a bag to sell it. It’s a little hard to picture for us nowadays, but think about trash bags. How do we fill them? Well, first we put some trash in. When it starts getting full, what do we do? We shake it a bit to let the trash settle to the bottom, and then put in more trash. When shaking no longer works, we push down the trash so that we can get more of it in. Of course the point comes where we can’t put in any more trash and it starts to overflow.
So what Jesus is saying is that if you pour out judgment and condemnation on others, it will be poured out on you. It will be pressed down and shaken so that more judgment and condemnation can be poured out in your life to the point of overflow.
If, on the other hand, you pour out mercy and forgiveness on others, mercy and forgiveness will be pressed down, shaken, and overflow in your life.
What do you want poured into your life?