Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:1-5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
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.”
This teaching from Jesus comes from Matthew and the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus began by teaching his followers about being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. By living a life that follows the teachings of Jesus, your light will shine before men and that will bring praise and glory to the Father in heaven.
The seventh chapter of Matthew begins with the teaching about judging others. Jesus warns us that if we judge others, then we will be judged by the same measure. All of us, at one time or another, are quick to pass judgment upon others. Sometimes, we come to a conclusion about a stranger that we have never met. Other times, we make up our minds about a person that we have seen but have never spoken to. And often, we pass judgment on friends or family, those special people that we should love and care about.
Jesus gives us a stern warning about being quick to judge others. Jesus tells us that we must first look at our own lives, and get our own house in order, before trying to point out the shortcomings of others. The text from Matthew makes it clear to us that we must first address the sin in our own lives before we can begin to pass judgment upon one another. Jesus tells us that we are a hypocrite if we don’t examine our own sin first.
We criticize others because it takes the focus away from our own imperfect lives. It’s far easier to pass judgment upon others without looking in the mirror first. Make no mistake that each and every one of us are sinners and we all fall short of the glory of God on a daily basis. God knows that, because He created us, and He knows that we are a fallen people. It is only by the grace of God, and the sacrifice of Christ, that we can be forgiven of our sin and our failures.
Jesus further illustrates his teaching on passing judgment in the eighth chapter of John. Jesus was in the temple courts teaching the people, when the teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” John tells us that they were using this question as a trap in order to have a reason for accusing Jesus.
John tells us that Jesus said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” As Jesus said this, those who heard began to go away one at a time until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus said. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus calls us to a life in which we are commanded to love one another and encourage one another. If we call ourselves followers of Christ, then we must be about building each other up, not tearing each other down. The next time you are tempted to pass judgment on someone else, remember the advice of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount and “take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I pass judgment upon others and help me to learn to practice forgiveness. Teach me to show love and compassion for others, and help me to examine my own life, and realize the many weaknesses that I have. As you help me to see my own weaknesses, you will help me to see, that I am no different from any other person that you created. Forgive me Lord, for not being Christlike in my relationship with others.