Series: Sermon on the Mount
Worry and Judgment
Matthew 6:25-34; 7:1-6
Rev. Sandy Johnson
Prayer: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.
“Worry, that sense of insecurity, unease, and fear over negative events that may or may not happen. Worry, is one of the most unpleasant emotions that we experience as human beings. It is also one of the most common. While everyone has worried at some point, many people suffer from chronic worrying in the form of anxiety.
“If you worry often, you’re far from alone. In fact, it may comfort you to know that many of us tend to worry about the same issues. All of those anxieties and stressors that may plague your life also affect a huge chunk of the rest of the world as well.”
Things like how am I going to pay the bills? What will my future hold? Is my job secure and my relationships strong? What about my health? The older I get the more health rises to the top of the list. Worry changes as we grow older. When we’re younger we worry about things like will I earn good grades, will I get into a good college, will I be able to land the perfect job? Will I find the right person for me? What is my purpose in life?
“We worry because our ego wants and tries to control everything.” Worrying doesn’t have any affect in the outcome of our circumstances and most often is a waste of time and energy. Worrying can lead to missed opportunities to enjoy life and to do our very best. Worry separates us from God.
I can safely say that we all worry from time to time. I find it interesting that Jesus would include worry in his sermon. Perhaps we aren’t the only ones who spend time worrying over things we have no control over. I remember hearing, many years ago, the saying that if you’re going to worry don’t bother praying and if you’re going to pray, don’t bother worrying. I said that one time to a pastor friend and he chided me that I shouldn’t tell people not to pray.
I’d never tell folks not to pray, but I will repeat Jesus words and say, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.” Jesus wants us to fully rely on God and not worry about things. Worry takes our eyes off of God and suggests that perhaps God doesn’t have our best interest at heart. Perhaps God didn’t mean it when he said he would take care of us.
But here’s the caveat. It’s not that we are to stop worrying, that’s hard to do and many of us fail to manage very long without worrying. Verse 33 says, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
What does it mean to strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness?
“We are to seek the things of God as a priority over the things of the world. Primarily, it means we are to seek salvation that is inherent in the kingdom of God because it is of greater value than all the world’s riches. Does this mean that we should neglect the reasonable and daily duties that help sustain our lives? Certainly not. But for us Christians, there should be a difference in attitude toward them.
“If we are taking care of God’s business as a priority—seeking salvation, living in obedience to Him, and sharing the good news of the kingdom with others—then God will take care of our business, just as He promised—and if that’s the arrangement, where is worrying?”
If we strive first for God, and that becomes our focus, then we have no time to worry. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
When Calvin and Claire were young we attended church in Las Vegas. Calvin is on the autism spectrum and he could be difficult when he was young. I was always nervous during church because I was afraid he would get loud and disrupt people near us. I could hardly pay attention to worship, always trying to stay ahead of him and his needs. Calvin owned a game boy and I would allow him to play games in church because it held his attention and kept him quiet. I will tell you that his Asperger brain listened and heard everything that was being said and was thankful that finally we had a system that worked.
Little did I know that I was being judged by other mothers in church. One Sunday one of the mothers led the children’s time and spoke to the children about proper behaviour in worship. She specifically told the children that they weren’t allowed to play games in the pews during church. When Calvin returned to the pew he was so upset and crying. I calmed him down and after church spoke to the other mother.
When I explained Calvin’s disability she replied that she had no idea. Exactly! Most often when we judge others we have no idea what they have gone through or are going through and our assumptions are most often wrong.
“It is safe to say that we can never know a person’s full story until we step into their shoes, so why does it seem to be extra prevalent nowadays? Every TV show, magazine, viral article seems to highlight some perceived flaw of someone or offers some kind of judgement.
Even walking down the street or sitting in a busy cafe, it is almost expected to hear some kind of remark made about someone as they pass by, minding their own business. Highlighting someone’s perceived flaws doesn’t actually illustrate anything about them, but it speaks volumes about the gossips character.
“A 24-year-old man was looking out of a train’s window and shouting loudly…
“Dad look the trees, they are passing by so quickly!”
His father smiled and noticed a young couple sitting nearby, who were observing the 24-year old’s childish behavior with pity.
Suddenly the young man again exclaimed…
“Dad look the clouds are running with us!”
The couple couldn’t resist and said to the old man:
“Why don’t you take your son to a good doctor,” thinking that he must be mentally challenged.
“The old man smiled and said… “I did, and we are just coming from the hospital, my son was blind from birth, he just got his eyes today.”
“Do not judge.” Jesus tells us that when we judge others, that’s the measure that we will be judged. That means that the more we judge, the more we will be judge. Does that frighten any of you? Perhaps that is what we will worry about now?!
It is vital that we get control of our judging, I’m sure none of us want to be judged at the amount we judge others. So how do we do that? First, we must become aware that we are judging others. We all have hidden prejudices that are just under the surface. We must pay attention to the thoughts in our head. Keep track when you slip into judgement. The first step to changing a behavior is to be aware of the behavior, so keep track.
Next imagine a new scenario. If someone has been unkind, instead of assuming that they were intentionally rude to you, rethink the situation. Is it possible that they received horrible news about a loved one? Their emotions are raw, and they lashed out from a place of hurt and anguish. After my father died, I was in the drive-through at the credit union in Las Vegas. I was upset and emotional. When the teller wouldn’t deposit my check without a deposit slip I about lost it. It was a new policy. I had been a member for more than 20 years and I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just take my check and deposit it. The more he insisted that he had to have this piece of paper, the more upset I became. Instead of doing what he asked I tried to put the tube back in the holder and when it fell on the ground I drove off. I am sure he judged me to be a very nasty customer. He had no idea how out of my mind with grief I truly was. I will tell you I parked and went into the branch and apologized and made my deposit.
It is up to us to find positives in others and not presume the worst. Often the best way to remove judgement is to get to know people better. Instead of presuming they would be someone you wouldn’t want to know or understand, ask questions, presume the best and you will be pleasantly surprised.
I want to close with this poem entitled “Judging Others” by B.G Wetherby
Sadly, we are always critiqued,
By the people that we know.
By title or occupation,
And by the possession that we show.
We judge by skin color,
Or by awards received.
By church denomination
And by what we believe.
We’re judged by what we spend,
Or by what we give.
We’re judged by age and gender,
And by where we live.
We’re judged by our past,
And by our education,
By the language that we speak,
Or by our nation.
We evaluate cosmetically.
We judge both fat and small.
We judge by one’s appearance.
Fact is, we judge it all!
Some judge because they’re paid to.
Some judge intentionally.
Some judge to build self-worth,
Some judge unwillingly.
BEWARE, for there is only One,
Who evaluates every stain and smudge.
Good luck amateur critics of humanity,
When you face that Judge!
Let us pray:
Gracious Lord, thank you for the reminder today not to worry nor judge others. Keep us focused on you and your glory, leaving behind the pettiness of the world. We want so much to do your will. Guide us in your ways, we will follow! Amen
 Matthew 6:25
 Matthew 6:34