Luke 6:38 - “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
How many times have we heard this verse quoted just before the offering plate was passed around or how many feel good sermons have we heard preached about how we can't out give God because He will surely abundantly bless a cheerful giver? I would be a very rich woman if I could collect from the times I have experienced this in life. In fact, I loved to quote this verse myself.
What Yeshua didn't say!! The truth of the matter is that this is not what Yeshua (Jesus) meant at all. This verse has nothing to do with giving money or a prosperity gospel of any kind where God will miraculously give monetary things back to us if we are cheerful givers.
Instead, this verse is about judging others and the mercy and forgiveness that we show to others in our judgment.
Let's examine the verse closer.
First, let's look at the preceding verses and what Yeshua was teaching. Luke 6:27-36:
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Bold emphasis added)
Clearly the context of these scriptures is being merciful to others. Let's now continue:
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Bold emphasis added)
The teaching from the Master should be becoming a little clearer at this point. He is admonishing us to show mercy and forgiveness in our dealings with mankind. He is NOT telling us here that we cannot judge people, no, He is telling us that in our judgment and critiquing of people that we are to show mercy, kindness and forgiveness. He explains that we will receive the same measure of critique/judgment, forgiveness and mercy that we show to others. This mercy shown to us by God will be dosed out to us in the following manner: “pressed down, shaken together and running over”. In other words, we will receive a measured dose from God equivalent to what we dished out to others.
Then Yeshua continues with this same thought by telling a parable to explain what He was saying:
“And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
Again, Yeshua is talking about judgment and mercy. Many people pick and choose some of these passages to teach that we shouldn't judge people at all, that only God is the judge. This is so far from the truth of God's Word! Yeshua makes it plain that when you decide to judge someone for their actions that you need to make sure that YOUR LIFE measures up. Do you judge someone for a sin that you yourself are committing? Do you judge someone for a sin when your sins are much, much greater than their sin? This is a hypocrite.
If one still doesn't see the picture clear enough then just keep reading:
Luke 6:43-45 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”.
Here, Yeshua uses the analogy of a tree to impart the lesson that an individual can be seen for what he/she is by the fruit they bear. A person who sins will sooner or later be shown to bring forth bad fruit. We should be just in our judgment based on the fruit that a person brings forth. The standard for this judgment is the Word of God.
Furthermore, the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 5:9-13 explicitly tells us that immorality must be judged!
“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” (bold emphasis added)
So, here we see that believers are to judge those who “are inside” and not those who are “outside”. What does this mean? It means that within the church, or more properly translated the congregation or assembly, we are to judge those who have sinned and have gone astray in hopes that we can make them see the error of their way and bring them back to repentance. If not, we are instructed to “put them away” or not to fellowship with them. However, this judgment must be done in love and with mercy and it must NOT be done by others who are committing like sins themselves. We are not to judge and condemn or stay away from sinners outside the congregation. God will judge them. It is our job to guide and lead a sinner to Messiah and His salvation, not to condemn them and tell them they are doomed for hellfire and brimstone. There are better ways to reach the lost - like love, the way the Master did.
In I Corinthians 5:1-8 the Apostle Paul is addressing the Corinthian assembly over a man who had committed adultery with his step mother. This is forbidden in the Torah. (Leviticus 18:8) The Assembly is authorized by Paul to judge this person and to put him out of the assembly. Where does this idea come from? The Torah of course and the verse was already quoted by Paul in verse 13, 'put away from yourselves the evil person.' This quote comes from many places in the Torah:
Deuteronomy 17:7, 19:19, 22:21, 24, 24:7.
Where does the concept of mercy come from? Is mercy just a New Testament concept? Most certainly not! This Jewish Messiah and Apostle were drawing from their belief in the TanaKh (Old Testament) which was the 'scriptures' they held in their hand. The New Testament letters had not yet been canonized.
Consider these verses if interested: (and these are just a very few)
Exodus 34:6-7 – These are called by Jews the 13 Attributes of God's Mercy
Exodus 34:9 - Establishes the God of Israel as a forgiving, compassionate, and merciful God, as well as a God of Justice. (read scriptures preceding this verse for full meaning)
Leviticus 19:18 Do not bear grudges, love thy neighbor as thyself. Matthew 7:12 is a paraphrase of this verse. This scripture is the basis for “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
While many modern Christians believe that it is harsh and wrong to judge someone within the congregation (church) and to discipline them for their wrongdoing, we actually do them an injustice when we allow them to sin and believe a lie that they are on their way to eternal life. In fact, the entire congregation is in danger when this sin is not dealt with. The Apostle Paul in the above verses in
I Corinthians 5:6-7 declares that sin in the assembly, left intact, will cause the whole church to go astray because it will be like a cancer within.
“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump....”
The key in all of this is: MERCY
All scripture is from the NKJV