Read Matthew 7:1-5
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce, you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Was Jesus condemning all forms of judgement? Is it ever ok to judge another person?
We have all met a person who likes to “police’ other people. It almost seems like they are sitting around waiting for other people to slip up so that they can be the first to call them on it. But that level of criticism is not simply annoying. It’s hypocritical.
It’s important to note here that Jesus was not telling us that we can never judge people. In Matthew 7:6, the very next verse, He tells us not to give to dogs what is sacred or throw our pearls before swine. That implies that we have to be able to judge who is a dog or a pig. We have to be able to judge a true teacher from a false teacher and right doctrine from wrong.
We need to be able to discern the actions and attitudes of other people. There are also numerous examples in Scripture where we see people being called out and held accountable for their sin.
So what was Jesus really saying here? He was condemning self-righteous, hypocritical criticism. The kind of judgement the “policers” like to engage in. The kind the scribes and Pharisees excelled at. This type of criticism is condemned because it’s motive is not to help other people as an accountability partner or to encourage them to repent. The motive is to make themselves look good by negatively criticizing others.
Instead, Jesus said that the first person we should judge is ourselves. We are all facing divine judgement. We should humbly examine our own hearts for sin so that we are prepared. Also, Jesus reminds us that we are held to the same standard that we hold others to. Whenever we criticize other people, we invite others to criticize us.
Believe me, they will be watching to see if we can stand up to our own expectations. And if we can’t, they will rightly call us hypocrites for calling out the “specks” in the eyes of others while ignoring the “logs” in our own eyes.
Most importantly, if we leave the “log in our eyes” and fail to deal with our sins, we will not be able to see clearly to help our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we want to be truly helpful accountability partners, we need to examine our own eyes before we go offering spiritual eye examinations to others.
Father, help me to see my own heart clearly so I can address my own sins before I go critiquing others for theirs. Forgive me, Lord, for the times when I have been more hypocritical than helpful to a brother or sister in Christ. Amen.