“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)
Yesterday, we began looking at how we are supposed to approach judgment according to Scripture. First, we are to judge honestly, but there are two other ways we need to go about judgment, so let’s look at those right now.
First, we are to judge humbly. Now, Jesus had a great sense of humor. The picture He paints is hilarious. Here is a man focusing like a laser beam on a speck of sawdust in one man’s eye while he has a two-by-four sticking in his own. The word for “speck” literally means “splinter.” Do you know what a splinter is? It is just a piece of a plank. What Jesus said really is, often we criticize faults in others that we have in our own lives. Finding someone else’s fault is just a chip off of your block.
The point that Jesus is making is very simple. Before we are so quick to judge others, let’s start with ourselves. I’ve got a feeling if we judge ourselves more, we might judge others less.
What Jesus is saying is when you start to look out the window, look in the mirror instead. The next time you spot a splinter in someone else’s life, look for the log that is in your own. Again, it is not that we are not to judge wrongdoing, but we must do it with all humility. Confession of our faults must always come before criticism of other’s faults.
Finally, we are to judge helpfully. It is not wrong to confront a person if there is sin in that person’s life. In fact, it is wrong not to do it. Parents need to be doing this with their kids from the time they are young. When you see someone walking down a deadly dark destructive path you owe it to them to judge what they are doing honestly, humbly, but primarily helpfully. Jesus is not telling us not to judge. He is actually commanding us to take the speck out of our brother’s eye which involves making a judgment. But He tells us to look at ourselves first so that we will judge helpfully and not hypocritically.
Dear Lord, please grant me an attitude of humility and helpfulness when I go to confront my brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t want to be a stumbling block, but rather an encouraging, helpful friend who leads people closer to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.