The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 7: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/7?lang=eng
Righteous Judgment is an Opportunity for Growth
Jesus’s apostles were set apart to be judges in Israel, but Jesus does not want any of us to be quick to judge; and, He expects righteous judgment from those He’s called, when judgment is necessary. We, as imperfect people, often lack the understanding that we need, so we just unrighteously. If we judge quickly and harshly, we should expect to receive the same. Remember Jesus saying to the woman taken in adultery, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). We should take Him as our example.
Even with the apostles, and other church leaders, emphasis should be on helping individuals repent, progress, and obtain forgiveness. Righteous judgment should not be condemning, but should offer an opportunity for growth.
We are quick to see each other’s weaknesses, but often have difficulty looking inward and facing our own foibles. But we cannot help someone else overcome their minor offenses when we are guilty of greater sins. We should become more concerned with our personal standing before the Lord. After we do that, we will have increased love because of His goodness and mercy towards us; and that is what we will want to extend to others.
We must also use proper judgment when it comes to sharing holy things. Those things which we hold dear, which are treasures to us, could certainly become the subject of ridicule and mocking by others. There are times when the Lord gives us inspiration and wisdom to comfort us or aid us in our personal growth and light our path. Often we can demonstrate to the Lord how much we value these gifts by keeping them privately in our hearts, showing great thanksgiving to God for the special trust. We don’t want sacred things to be trampled and mocked.
The Lord delights to bless us. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matt 7:7-8). Some spiritual knowledge cannot be shared person to person, but only Spirit to spirit.
Jesus goes on to explain that parents love to give their children good gifts, but the children need to have a desire for the gift and be ready to receive it. God is our perfect, loving Heavenly Father, and He wants to give us all His riches, but we need to want them and demonstrate that we are ready to receive them through faith, obedience, and prayer.
If we want kindness from others, we should extend kindness first. Whatever it is that we seek from others, we should also willing give to others.
The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock
Jesus is the Way back to our Heavenly Father. We cannot enter God’s presence without Jesus and without living His gospel. The way is strait, meaning that the path is narrow. Jesus defined the path, and we cannot broaden and redefine it. Even though it is straightforward and simple, many think that we can change His requirements and even speak for Him, redefining “what He really meant” to say. We will not find the Gate without following Him who is the keeper of the Gate; and, He employs no servant there.
False prophets, or unauthorized teachers, who change His words and His requirements for Eternal Life, may appear to be loving and kind, but they are keeping many people back from seeking and finding Jesus Christ and the path back to our Heavenly Father. He provided the Way in His Son, and we cannot revise God’s plan. “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matt 7:16).
Whether we believe we follow Jesus or not, He knows if we do, or if we’ve altered His teachings or professed to be something we are not. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt 7:21). He will only accept those who’ve truly accepted Him.
If we listen to Him and do what He asks of us, we are building on a firm foundation and we cannot fall or fail. “Therefore whosoever hearth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matt 7:24-27).
I live in California, and I know many beachfront homes are lost in stormy weather, because they are built upon sandy foundations. What a great loss of million dollar homes.
But our loss is even greater if we refuse to build upon the surest foundation, even the Rock of our Redeemer Jesus Christ and the glad tidings He’s given us in His commandments. If we live the gospel, we will be protected from the storms of life that are continually sweeping across the globe, and He will be our Guide to spiritual safety and to eternal life.
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).
The people were astonished at Christ’s doctrine and His manner of teaching, and by the authority with which He spoke.
Further thought: Today people are still astonished and filled with wonder, either because they have felt His goodness and mercy, or because what He teaches counters how they want to live and destroys their craft.
Also, it appears that those who have purposefully led people away from Christ’s teachings, such as the false prophets He referred to, may be accountable for homes being built upon sandy foundations and washed away in the storms of their making.