"Do not judge, and you will not be judged...." (Luke 6:37)

"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)

Why is Jesus saying this?

Jesus is speaking to "a large crowd of his disciples" according to Luke 6:17. This means not only that Jesus had far more than 12 disciples. He had many followers who had become disciples.

Now Jesus is providing key takeaway teachings that his students can apply to their lives immediately. This central teaching is not only applicable then to his disciples. It is applicable to practically everyone.

Ultimately, Jesus is discussing a common issue that most of us have: That we tend to easily judge others, and will often condemn others with our statements.

When we sit in judgment of others, we are considering ourselves above those we judge. What we do not realize is that our judging of others actually degrades us.

Judging others is not our natural position. Judgment only belongs to those who are full of knowledge - as God is. By judging others, we are mistakenly putting ourselves in the position of God: That of knowing everything.

Do we know everything?

No. Knowing everything is not our natural position. Our senses are limited. Our minds and brains are limited. We cannot claim to understand much at all, because we are limited by nature.

The Supreme Being, however, knows everything and controls everything. Therefore, only He can sit in judgment. Only He can truly understand everyone enough to judge us.

We may be children of God, but we are children of God. Consider, for example, a child who is born into a family. Can the newborn child start making decisions about what happens among the family members? No, because the child doesn't know anything. The child is a newcomer.

But the mother and father are aware of the family because they've been around. So they are able to make decisions about things should go, because they are aware. They are knowledgeable. The newborn baby is not. The newborn is a newcomer.

Isn't this our position?

Even if we have been living on this planet for a few decades, we are still newcomers compared to God. We are ignorant when we compare ourselves to the Supreme Being, who knows everything. When we are in the newcomer position we should reserve judgment. When we don't know what is what and who is who - we don't have any business judging others.

Our lack of awareness comes from the fact that we are separated from God. We are separated from the Source of knowledge.

When separated from God and acting on our own behalf we have no knowledge. We are separated from the Source of power and authority.

But when we assume our natural position as God's loving caregiver - serving God with love - we can become connected. Being connected allows us to have greater knowledge, and this creates compassion towards others - the opposite of judgment.

Connecting with God also fulfills our ultimate position of humility - not false humility, but the real humility of accepting our actual position as one of God's loving servants.

When we act on behalf of the Supreme Being we fulfill our needs to love and be loved. To care for and be cared for.

This is why becoming forgiving of others, as Jesus states, results in our being forgiven. When we are tolerant of others, understanding of others, caring for others, and forgiving of others when they may offend us, we become linked up with the Supreme Being because this is God's nature. God loves us unconditionally, and understands us, is tolerant of us, and is forgiving.

We become linked up with that forgiving nature when we forgive others, and thus we line ourselves up with receiving the forgiving nature of the Supreme Being.

Can we learn to forgive?

Learning to forgive others is part of the purpose of the suffering and strife of the physical world. We are spiritual beings - not these physical bodies. Our bodies are temporary vehicles meant to take us through consequences that provide lessons meant to show us love, forgiveness, humility, and kindness. The physical world is a rehabilitation center for those of us who became self-centered and forgot how to love.

When we receive the consequences of our prior activities we, in fact, get to see how it feels to subject someone else to our selfish acts. Then we get to compare these with acts of kindness. We get to play out our desires and compare the results with acts that help others. 

Eventually, we learn that helping others and caring for others provides us with more fulfillment than caring only for ourselves. This leads us towards understanding, and towards love, which gradually unveils the Source of love, the Supreme Being.

As we reach a point where we are able to truly forgive others, we also reach the point where the Supreme Being becomes increasingly visible in our lives. Should we be sincere, the Supreme Being will gradually guide us closer and closer to Him, even though we may have rejected Him in the past.

This is because He wants us to come home to Him. He wants us to be happy. This is love. This is forgiveness.