“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” Matthew 7:1-2 (NLT)
Of all the women in the Bible, I best relate to the Samaritan woman at the well. The story can be found in John 4 (NLT) and speaks of Jesus’ encounter with this woman.
We are not told very much about her, however, we do know that she had five husbands and the man she currently lived with was not her husband.
The woman was an outcast in her community. Instead of going to the well to draw water with the other women from her neighborhood, she went at a time when she thought she would be the only one there. She clearly felt ashamed and condemned, and when she ran into Jesus, I imagine that any peace she felt was quickly replaced with anxiety.
Just as Jesus knows everything about us, He knew everything about this woman, including her marital history. I’m sure she expected to be judged by Jesus, as she was by others.
The reason that she had five husbands is never disclosed in Scripture. When first reading this Scripture, most people (including myself) probably assume that she is not a suitable wife or that she is the one who had caused the marriages to end. Maybe, just maybe, her having had five husbands was not about her after all?
Think about this. The Word does not say that she was divorced five times, but that she had five husbands. Her former spouses could have been killed in battle, overcome by disease, or maybe even ran off on her. The only thing we know for sure is that we don’t really know the reasons!
Yet, we judge her as the “immoral woman.” Yes, her living with a man who was not her husband is sinful, so we are automatically compelled to believe that her marital history must be her fault.
Being twice divorced myself, I feel her pain and I know the condemnation she felt. Often, among other married couples, I have felt “less of a person,” or, at times, felt that I did not belong in fellowship with other Christians.
The lesson in all of this is that Jesus did not condemn her; rather He showed her mercy and offered her the greatest gift of all in Himself.
(Romans 8:1 NLT) tells us that there is no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus. He does not condemn you or me, yet we allow the false judgments of those around us to influence our self-worth or our decisions.
(Matthew 7:2 NLT) tells us that the standard we use to judge others is the standard by which we will be judged. None of us personally knew the woman at the well, yet how many among us instinctively thought poorly of her when reading John 4? I know that I’m guilty as charged!
It is my prayer that we leave the judgment of others to God. He is the only one who truly knows a person’s heart and their life story. Instead, let us offer up love and compassion, because, more than likely, the person subject to our judgment is someone most in need of our mercy.